Oddball Odyssey: 1978 & 1981 TCMA “The 1960’s”

I spent part of this weekend organizing some cards, and one of the more time-consuming sets I worked on was “The 1960’s”, a two-series set issued by TCMA in 1978 and 1981.

The reason it was time-consuming was partially because the first checklist I tried to use was problematic, but the other factor is that there are numbering issues with this set that make it a pain to organize in a checklist. A number of cards in the first series are mis-numbered, so you’ll have (for instance) two cards numbered 125 but no card numbered 43. There are also variations which involve whether the back is printed in black or green ink, which gets me muttering things like “Ask me if I care…” (FYI, I don’t)

At any rate, I’m not here to detail the subtleties of the checklist, I’m here to share a few cards I got from a dimebox a while ago. While the set does feature HOFers, it’s the less-famous players that I find more interesting.

Art Shamsky was a key member of the 1969 “Miracle Mets”, but before that he was a fourth outfielder for the Reds.

Joe Christopher was a regular with the Mets in the team’s early years, but he also spent several seasons with the Pirates and a short stint with the Red Sox.

Christopher appeared in the 1960 World Series with the Bucs, and his totals are eyebrow-raising when viewed as a whole… 3 games, 1 plate appearance, no at bats, 2 runs scored. What the WHAT? In the 9th inning of Game 2, with the Pirates down 16-1, Christopher pinch hit for the pitcher, got hit by a pitch, moved to 2nd on a single and scored on another single. Christopher’s second appearance came in the 9th inning of game 5, with the Pirates up 4-2. He pinch-ran for catcher Smoky Burgess (who’d singled and advanced to 2nd on an error), moved to 3rd on a wild pitch and scored on a Don Hoak single. In the famous game 7, Christopher pinch ran for Burgess again, but got caught up in an inning-ending double play.

Ted Uhlaender was the Twins starting center fielder for a number of years, and also was a regular with the Indians.

His daughter, Katie, competed in the skeleton event in three Winter Olympics.

This is my favorite card of the bunch… Sparky Anderson as a player (!) for the AAA Toronto Maple Leafs (!!)

Sparky’s playing career was interesting… He was the Phillies’ starting second baseman in 1959, but didn’t appear in any other Major League seasons. During spring training of 1960, his contract was sold to the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that seems to have been unaffiliated with any organization (which was, if I recall correctly, not that unusual at the time). He spent 4 years playing in Toronto before beginning his managerial career at the age of 30.

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2 thoughts on “Oddball Odyssey: 1978 & 1981 TCMA “The 1960’s”

  1. I love, love, love these TCMA oddballs. Gonna have to keep an eye out for that Sparky now. Never seen another card that documents his playing days other than the two Topps ones he had in 1959/60.

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