One of the 73 different ways I collect – and I’m not being facetious, I made a list – is to obtain the later-series 1969 cards which feature players in their new expansion team uniforms.
I generally like to collect cards that show any team’s first year, it’s sort of my take on the rookie card… but I really enjoy the high-numbered 1969 expansion team cards. The way it took shape that year is sort of like The Wizard Of Oz… For the first four series that year, the expansion teams were represented by bareheaded guys, or guys with blacked-out caps… drab and mundane like Dorothy’s B&W life in Kansas..
…And then in the 5th series – BAM! – we’re in Oz with Technicolor blues and reds and yellows and browns.
Shall we wander down the Yellow Brick Road a bit?
John Boccabella was the 56th pick in the N.L. expansion draft, having been selected from the Cubs. I’ve always thought of him as a catcher, but it turns out that with the Cubs he was primarily an OF/1B with a handful of games behind the plate. After the Expos drafted him, he was made more of a full-time catcher.
Jose Arcia played in the farm systems for the Colt .45’s, Tigers, Indians and Cardinals before making his Major League debut in 1968 with the Cubs. He’d be the 9th pick in the N.L. expansion draft, and would play 2 years with the Padres. These days, Arcia would be called a “supersub” as he played short, second, third, left, center and first during his 293 game career.
Arcia appears in the 1973 Topps set as an airbrushed Royal, but he never played in a Major League game after 1970.
Tom Burgmeier was a reliever who was selected from the Angels with the 47th pick in the A.L. expansion draft (both leagues were separate entities then, and each league’s two expansion teams were stocked with players from the 10 established teams in that league).
Burgmeier is still pretty young here, but he would go on to pitch until he was 41, appearing in 745 games over 17 seasons. Of those 745 appearances, just three were starts.
It’s not clear to me when or how Gus Gil joined the Pilots, but it wasn’t through the expansion draft.
Even though the Pilots lasted just one year before moving, Gil played in Seattle for two straight years; he spent 1968 with the Seattle Angels, which was California’s AAA team.
From a Pilots fan’s point of view, the most unfortunate thing about 1969 is that it only shows the spring training uniforms, which didn’t have anywhere near the glitz that the regular season Pilots unis had… No Pilots logo on the uniform, no sleeve striping, no “scrambled eggs” on the bill of the cap… None of the awesome stuff that Don Mincher had going on in 1970…
…after the team had already skipped town for Milwaukee.