Last Friday, I showed off a couple of “variations-of-sorts” in 1977 O-Pee-Chee, cards which are significantly different than their 1977 Topps counterparts. Both of the OPC cards featured questionable airbrushing, but I don’t want to give everybody the idea that 1977 OPC is about airbrushing… There are a number of Expos and Blue Jays which feature fresh spring training photos, and I’ve got a couple of such Jays today.
Leon Hooten pitched 6 games in relief with the A’s in 1974. He was taken with the 59th pick in the expansion draft, and got airbrushed and minimized on a 1977 Topps Rookie Pitchers card.
O-Pee-Chee gave Hooten his own card.
Unfortunately for all involved, Hooten didn’t make the Blue Jays coming out of spring training and his professional career was over.
Maybe I shouldn’t have started out with that card…
Mike Willis has a happier story. He had been pitching for the Orioles’ AAA team in Rochester when he was drafted by the Blue Jays with the 55th pick.
Unlike Hooten, he made the team and would spend much of the next 4 years pitching in Toronto with stints with AAA Syracuse.
He finished his career in the Phillies system with a year at AAA Oklahoma City.
Neither of these guys would be considered a key card for this set, but I always enjoy cards of guys wearing brand-new expansion team uniforms! It’s a shame that the Mariners didn’t get the same treatment, but I guess that’s their fault for not being in Canada.
Back before the season, I featured this custom of Johnny Gomes with the Rakuten Golden Eagles…
…and several of you commented that you hadn’t been aware that he’d gone to Japan. Well, if you hadn’t been aware that he left, you may not have been aware that he’s back. After batting below the Mendoza Line in NPB, the rest of his contract was voided by “mutual consent”. Gomes is looking to return to MLB; time will tell how much his poor showing in Japan will hurt his attempt.
BTW, this post went out about 7 hours later than I normally like on a weekday… Apologies, we had technical difficulties in Shlabotnik World Headquarters.