For those who missed Part 1 and Part 2, this series looks into cards in 1976 SSPC which show players with a team that you didn’t see on a ‘solo’ Topps card (but may have on a multi-player rookie card).
An infielder, and later a manager of the Astros, A’s and Mets, Art Howe started out in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization but even though he appeared in 63 games for the Bucs in 1975, he didn’t appear on a Topps card until 1978. In the meantime, SSPC featured Howe in his one-and-only appearance in Pittsburgh black and gold. Howe was traded to the Astros as the player-to-be-named-later in a deal that sent Tommy Helms from Houston to Pittsburgh (and got Helms in the 1976 Topps Traded set).
The Yankees’ starting shortstop from 1969 to 1973, and later the team’s manager and general manager, Gene “Stick” Michael played the 1975 season with the Tigers and hooked up with the Red Sox for 1976, but got released in May without having appeared in a game. His final Topps card came in 1975 and showed him with the Yankees.
Terry Whitfield appeared on multi-player “Rookie Outfielder” Topps cards in 1975 and 1976, both times with the Yankees. In 1976 he played in just one Major League game, and during spring training in 1977 he was traded to the San Francisco Giants where he was able to play regularly. His first solo Topps (and Hostess) cards came in 1978. Whitfield went to Japan in 1981 to play for the Seibu Lions when he was still in his baseball prime, played 3 seasons and came back to the States to serve as a backup for the Dodgers.
Upshaw was a reliever with the Braves for 7 seasons, but then bounced around towards the end of his career. Like with Gene Michael his final Topps card in 1975 showed him with the Yankees, but he had been traded to the White Sox late in 1974. After a season with the Chisox in 1975, he was released in 1976 spring training, ending his career.
Brinkman, who spent parts of 10 seasons with the Senators and then 4 with the Tigers (where he got a Gold Glove and his only All-Star appearance), was trying to hang on to a Major League job in 1975. He played 28 games with the Cardinals, 1 with the Rangers, and finished the season with the Yankees. He was back with the Yankees for spring training in 1976, but got released at the end of March, ending his playing career. His last Topps card was his 1975 card which showed him with Detroit.
Siebert was an All-Star with the Indians and Red Sox and played for four teams over his final three seasons. He spent 1975 with the Padres and A’s and retired after the season. His last Topps card came in 1975 and showed him with the Cardinals, the team he’d pitched for in 1974.
Wilcox came up with the Reds, was traded the Indians where he spent a few seasons and then was traded to the Cubs early in 1975 – too late to be reflected on his 1975 Topps card, which showed him with Cleveland. Wilcox struggled in 1975, so while SSPC showed him with the Cubs, Topps left him out of their 1976 set. Wilcox was spent 1976 in AAA, was purchased by the Tigers partway through the season and re-established himself with Detroit in 1977. He’d be back on a Topps card in 1978 and through the rest his career, as well as on several “Senior League” cards… although his last stop with Seattle in 1986 never made it to cardboard.
20 year old Randolph played in 30 regular season games and 2 postseason games with the Pirates in 1975, and then was sent to the Yankees in a December, 1975 trade which sent him, Dock Ellis and Ken Brett to the Bronx for George “Doc” Medich, who had at least 14 wins in each of his first three seasons. The Yankees would give Willie the starting job at second base, and he stayed there for 13 years.
Randolph appeared with the Pirates in 1976 Topps as part of a “Rookie Infielders” card and was given a solo card in 1976 Topps Traded.
I was going to let this series end after three parts, but as I was wrapping this post up I realized there were a couple of players I could’ve featured… so be on the lookout for Part 4 next week, and THEN I’ll wrap it up.