Two 1977 O-Pee-Chee Cards Without Peer

I’ve been featuring 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards for a while, and usually when I write one of these posts I’ll feature the OPC card and the corresponding Topps card.  This time around, however, I won’t be featuring the Topps card… because there isn’t one.  Not a direct corollary, anyway.

We’ll start off with the Blue Jays Coaches card.  These guys did share a Topps card with Blue Jays manager Roy Hartsfield, but they get more “real estate” in O-Pee-Chee.

1977-o-pee-chee-blue-jays-coaches
First Base coach Don Leppert was a catcher who broke into the Majors with the 1961 Pirates as a 29-year-old rookie. Two years later, he’d be an All-Star with the “New” Senators, aided by a relatively hot first half.

Pitching coach Bob Miller is “Righty Bob Miller” who pitched for 10 different teams from 1957 to 1974… including with the 1962 Mets where he was a teammate of “Lefty Bob Miller” (as I talked about here a couple of weeks ago).

Third base coach Jackie Moore played just 21 games in 1965 with the Tigers, but he was a long-time coach with the Brewers, Rangers, Jays, A’s, Expos, Reds and Rockies.  He also managed the A’s in the mid-1980’s

Bullpen coach Harry Warner was a long-term minor leaguer who never made it to the Majors.

This leaves out the hitting coach, who is probably the most accomplished and well-known of the bunch.

Bobby Doerr, who would later be inducted into the Hall of Fame and have his #1 retired by the Red Sox, was the hitting coach for the Blue Jays for their first couple of seasons, and yet he wasn’t included on this card.  I have a theory – or a guess, depending on how you want to look at it – as to why this was… but first I have a couple of more scans to show you.

First off, here is the back of this card.  “Instructeur” sounds a lot more impressive than “Coach”, but I guess that’s the case with a lot of job titles when translated into French.

1977-o-pee-chee-blue-jays-coaches-back

Here’s the Topps card which shows the Jays’ field staff:  Manager Roy Hartsfield and the same four coaches.
1977 Topps Hartsfield and Coaches

OK, now it’s time for my theory:  In 1977, Doerr had been out of baseball for a number of years, so it’s not unreasonable to think that Topps didn’t include him on their card because they didn’t have any photos to use.  As a result, the bullpen coach who would be largely unknown to most fans gets priority over someone who, as a player, had started for thirteen years and been an All-Star for nine.  Later, when O-Pee-Chee made their version of the set and presumably had photos of all of the Jays’ coaches, they followed Topps’ lead, used these four coaches and left out Doerr.  Again, this is only a theory.

Because we’re talking field staff and I haven’t shown this card in 3 years, here’s the O-Pee-Chee card that features just manager Roy Hartsfield and his non-airbrushed uniform:

1977 OPC Roy Hartsfield

Moving on to the other “card without peer”… This is Doug Howard’s only mainstream baseball card, made even more interesting by the fact that he never played for the Blue Jays in a regular season game.
1977-o-pee-chee-doug-howard
Howard played a few handfuls of games for the Angels, Cardinal and Indians, and was one of the first players obtained by the Jays when he was acquired with Alan Ashby in a 11/5/1976 trade with the Indians. Howard, however, got cut just before the Blue Jays broke camp, and he never made it back to the majors.

Here’s the back of his card.
1977-o-pee-chee-doug-howard-back

After being cut by the Blue Jays, Howard’s career was over even though he was just 29 years old.

Update:  Apparently today is Bobby Doerr Day, because by sheer coincidence, When Topps Had (Base) Balls is featuring a 1979 Topps custom of Bobby Doerr with the Blue Jays.  I swear we did not coordinate on this one!

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6 thoughts on “Two 1977 O-Pee-Chee Cards Without Peer

  1. OPC continues to be more intriguing than Topps – however, it’s truly a shame that neither gave us a proper Bobby Doerr Blue Jay card. Man, that’s an odd sight. I wonder what my job title translates to in French…to Google!

  2. I have discovered a new found love for the 1977 OPC and Topps sets. That coaches card is fantastic. I remember the Jackie Moore days in Oakland. Haven’t really thought about him in thirty years. Thanks for the memories.

  3. Great post Joe. But despite your primer I’ll never keep all the Bob Millers straight.

    And I suspect your theory is right on. It explains why we were not ‘shown the Doerr’.

  4. I need to get the 1977 OPC Jays.. lol

    That would be confusing. Having two players of the same name on the same team? Odd that it’s the Mets, considering that in 2000 they had the same thing with two Bobby Jones..

  5. ACTUALLY, BOBBY DOERR WAS PHOTOGRAPHED BUT THE THREE PHOTOS WERE JUDGED NOT SUITABLE DUE TO POOR SUN AT THAT MOMENT … ONE OF THESE CAN BE FOUND ON THE WEB ON CERTAIN PAGES …

    ON THE ROY HARTSFIELD O-PEE-CHEE CARD, I AM IN THE BACKGROUND IN BLUE HAT / WHITE SHIRT / LIGHT BLUE PANTS TAKING OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS …

    MAN IMMEDIATELY BEHIND ROY IN LIGHT YELLOW HAT AND JACKET WITH BROWN PANTS IS HARVEY TRIVETT, KNOWN IN TORONTO FOR DECADES AS ” MR. BASEBALL “. AS HE WAS AT ALMOST ALL TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS AAA GAMES FOR YEARS AND WAS THE MAN WE NAMED PRESIDENT OF THE ORIGINAL BLUE JAYS FAN CLUB GROUP, THE JAYS BOOSTER CLUB …

    TOPPS USED SOME POOR PHOTOGRAPHERS AT TIMES, AS WE ALL ARE WELL AWARE, SO IT IS NOT HARD TO SEE WHY A NUMBER OF THESE MANY BAD IMAGES WHICH MADE IT TO CARDS WERE SO ‘ MEDIOCRE ‘.

    • Thank you for the feedback on the Bobby Doerr photo! I expected to hear from you about this post… but I honestly didn’t expect you to be on one of the cards! And yet somehow, I’m not surprised. Thanks again, I always enjoy your comments.

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