Why #339? Today is the 339th day of 2017.
Why 1974 to 1978? Those are the first five sets I collected, the first five I completed and among my all-time favorite sets.
Yeah, OK… but WHY? Because I need to devote time to organizing my collection, which means I wanted some ideas for posts I could do without much mental effort… and featuring five different cards with the same card number from those five sets seemed like a potentially fun idea. I guess we’re about to find out if this is the case…
#339 from 1974 – All-Star Pitchers (Jim Hunter and Rick Wise)
You’re probably not surprised at Catfish Hunter starting the 1973 All-Star Game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the most you know about Rick Wise is that he’s the guy the Cardinals got for Steve Carlton in 1972.
In the All-Star game, Rick Wise pitched 2 innings and got the win. Hunter got a no-decision. Rick Wise had also been traded after the 1973 season, so his regular 1974 card shows him airbrushed into a Red Sox cap.
#339 from 1975 – Jim Fregosi
Speaking of players who were traded for future HOF pitchers… Jim Fregosi was a 6-time All-Star, but those days were well behind him in 1975.
You know what struck me about this card when I was pulling it out of the binder? Yes, it’s miscut, but why is there a strip of yellow at the top? Every 1975 Topps uncut sheet I’ve seen is laid out so that the bottom color of one card is the top color of the card below it on the sheet… A miscut 1975 Fregosi like this should result in more red at the top, not a yellow strip. Anybody have any insight into this?
#339 from 1976 – John Denny
John Denny’s 2.52 ERA in 1976 was best in the N.L., and he was just 23 years old. He’d win the Cy Young in 1983 with the Phillies.
#339 from 1977 – Adrian Devine
Adrian Devine actually played for the Rangers in 1977, after a 12/9/76 trade. His 1978 card shows him with the Rangers… but Devine had been traded back to the Braves on 12/8/77. Just to screw with Topps one more time, Devine was traded back to the Rangers on 12/6/79, but he appeared with the Braves in the 1980 set.
#339 from 1978 – Mario Guerrero
Guerrero played his last game with the Angels in 1977. He signed with the Giants as a free agent in November 1977… and at the beginning of the 1978 season, he was sent to the A’s as the “Player To Be Named Later” in the trade which sent Vida Blue to the Giants.
Just to make it even more fun from a baseball card standpoint, Guerrero’s first game of 1978 was against the team he’s pictured with.