Topps was showing the effects of lack of competition in 1973. Once again, the year's rak paks featured the standard yellow header card and with the exception of the hockey cards, each major sport featured a design that was clean but a little bland.
Baseball leads the way:
This was the year all cards were available in one series, although not in all locales or configurations. From top to bottom those cards fronting each cell number: 430, 490 and 622 so this was a pack that spanned at least three series worth of cards. I consider 1973 a pivotal year for Topps design-wise as the gaudy creations of the early 1970's gave way to the stylized look above.
Football cards also had a streamlined design:
Clean lines there and they seem to my eye a logical extension of the baseball design.
It's the same with basketball:
A little more color for basketball; note how he neatline around the photo changes color from card to card.
Hockey would bring yet more color to the cards:
That is one colorful rak!
This would mark the end of the "yellow header" cards which tied together all of Topps highest priced packs from 1970-73 in unwavering fashion. When we look at 1974, differences will start to become apparent, which is good as this series of posts is a sort of field guide to each style.