Iconic Brewers card: Bevacqua in '76

April 7th, 2021

As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we've asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we've broken them down by team. We'll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.

To begin the series, we'll be looking at one iconic card from each team.

Iconic Brewers card: Kurt Bevacqua, 1976 Topps

It's perfectly normal to see a guy blowing a bubble with his chewing gum while on the baseball field. It's perfectly normal for such an occurrence to be captured in photographic form for a trading card. What is extremely unusual is to see a guy blowing an 18 1/4-inch bubble that is larger than his head.

That's what Brewers infielder Kurt Bevacqua is seen doing on a 1976 Topps card depicting his victory in the '75 Joe Garagiola/Bazooka Big League Bubble Gum Blowing Championship on Aug. 4 of that year.

When asked how his life changed after clinching the title, Bevacqua said, "I feel like an old Western gunfighter now. Every 6-year-old kid in the United States is writing letters to challenge me."

The card became iconic, and it was submitted for our survey several times -- Jack G. of Wauwatosa, Wis.; Jeff C. of Lebanon, Ind.; Jon of Sherwood, Wis.; Fran of Boca Raton, Fla.; Mark C. of Encinitas, Calif.; and Ray C. of Merrick, N.Y., all expressed their fondness for the collectible.

"This inspired my Little League friends and me to have [bubble gum blowing] contests. I was 10 years old when this card came out," Ray wrote.

Jeff had some quality time bonding with his brother over this card.

"My brother and I have always found this card amusing because of both the player -- who would later become an infamous participant in the 1984 brawl between the Braves and Padres -- and the silly content displayed on the card," Jeff wrote. "There has never before or since been another card like this one!"

The silliness of the card was one of three elements Jon found fun when asking the all-important question: "A 'bubble gum' card featuring the bubble blowing champ...serendipity or amazing clarity?"

Jon also took note of the hazardous nature of the contest, particularly for Bevacqua.

"Not to mention the risk Kurt is taking with the mustache he sported," he added. "Plus, 'Bevacqua' is just a great name."

"The Brewers were not all that good and it was exciting as a young Brewers fan to see one of the role players on that team involved with the bubble gum contest," wrote Jack. "I was always excited to open a wax pack and see that card pop up!"

Bevacqua went on to play for the Rangers, Padres and Pirates after spending the 1975 and '76 seasons with Milwaukee. As a member of the Padres, he launched a memorable three-run homer in Game 2 of the 1984 World Series against the Tigers.

The homer only added to Bevacqua's fame -- he was, of course, already the Joe Garagiola/Bazooka Big League Bubble Gum Blowing champ.