1977 OPC Baseball: Some Jays Rookies Get Their Moment In Cardboard

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.
1977 Topps Rookie Pitchers Gideon et al

O-Pee-Chee gave Hooten his own card.
1977 OPC Leon Hooten

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.

1977 Topps Rookie Pitchers Krukow et al

Unlike Hooten, he made the team and would spend much of the next 4 years pitching in Toronto with stints with AAA Syracuse.

1977 OPC Mike Willis

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.


Shlabot-Notes:

Back before the season, I featured this custom of Johnny Gomes with the Rakuten Golden Eagles…
2016 TSRchives 91T-3b Jonny Gomes
…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.

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4 thoughts on “1977 OPC Baseball: Some Jays Rookies Get Their Moment In Cardboard

  1. Your custom card of Mr. Gomes turned out much nicer than his actual stint playing with Rakuten… much, much nicer!

    Also, I’d always rather a player have his own card than a multi-player. Always. So, thanks OPC!

  2. A SMALL ODDITY IS MARK LEMONGELLO IS SEEN WITH LEON HOOTEN AND LATER APPEARED BRIEFLY IN 1979 WITH THE BLUE JAYS …
    HE WAS A STRANGE ONE WHO LATER GOT INTO SOME MAJOR TROUBLE FOR KIDNAPPING AND ROBBERY BUT RECEIVED ONLY 7 YEARS PROBATION …
    HE WAS NOT AT ALL LIKED BY ANY PLAYERS ON EITHER THE ASTROS OR BLUE JAYS.

    • Wow, I’d forgotten all about that… He abducted and robbed his two cousins, one of whom was an entertainer who was semi-famous for selling his albums on late night TV. I didn’t know the part about not being liked, but I guess that follows for someone who abducts and robs his cousins…

  3. Some really crap airbrush jobs on 3 of 4 on both rookie cards. Wow. I like the 1977 OPC set since it offers so many players in their proper uniform. I’m it was a nightmare for Topps that year.

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