Not Flagship Topps, But An Incredible Simulation

Today’s cards are all recent acquisitions which look like Topps cards at first glance, but are actually something different.

We’ll start off with this 1977 O-Pee-Chee card of original Blue Jay Chuck Hartenstein, who had an interesting career path.

Although he’d been a reliever his entire career and made his pitching debut in 1966 with the Cubs, Hartenstein appeared in one game in 1965 as a pinch runner.  He’d pitch from 1966 to 1970 with four different teams, then was out of the majors for six years until the Blue Jays came along.  First year manager Roy Hartsfield had previously managed the Padres AAA team in Hawaii, and he encouraged the Jays to pick up a few players he’d managed there, including Hartenstein.  He logged 13 games worth of  unimpressive relief to cap off his playing career.

Here’s the corresponding 1977 Topps card, gloriously airbrushed.

I recently did a post about the 1990 Topps Major League Debut set which featured everybody who had, in 1989, appeared in a game for the first time.  That put me in mind to get some cards from the other two Major League Debut sets, so here (speaking of gloriously airbrushed) is the 1991 Topps Major League Debut card of outfielder Chuck Carr.

I’m thinking that this photo was taken in a minor league ballpark with Carr wearing a minor league uniform, because there’s no other reason for his cap logo to be airbrushed.  For what it’s worth, Carr appeared in the base sets for 1991 Upper Deck and Fleer, but this appears to be his only Topps card from that year.

Here’s the back.

Carr would become an original Florida Marlin in 1993 and would lead the National League with 58 stolen bases.

At my recent show I ran across a couple of semi-recent Topps retail team sets for $1 each, and for a price that low I was willing to take a gamble to see if there were any cards which were different from the same player’s “regular” Topps card. First up is the 2013 Topps Los Angeles Angels team set.

The final card in the set was one of the ballpark.  I’m honestly not sure how common that is in team sets, I generally only buy them if they’re really cheap.

The only other card which wasn’t a parallel-of-sorts was this Jason Vargas card.

The prior winter, Vargas had been traded from the Mariners to the Angels for Kendrys Morales.  Vargas’ base Topps card shows him with the Mariners, and while he does have a card in Update which shows him in an Angels uniform, it’s a different photo (and not photoshopped like this one is).  Vargas was an All-Star this year and is currently tied with Chris Sale for the most wins in the A.L., so I should be able to flip this card on eBay for BIG MONEY!  Yup.  Uh-huh, uh-huh… that’s just what I’m gonna do.

The 2014 Red Sox set turned out to be even less interesting…  The only card which wasn’t a renumbered, foil-free pseudo-parallel of the corresponding Topps card was Fenway Park.

Not that anybody from Topps is likely to listen to me, but I’d rather have cards like this than the random assortment of celebrating players that are currently the team cards used by Topps.

I was also amused by the inclusion of this nearly three-year old coupon which came with the set.

…So if you’d like to save fifty cents on the purchase of some 2014 Topps MLB Chipz, I’m your man.

This last card looks like a 1975 Topps card of Luke Walker, but it’s from the “Mini” set.

As much as I love 1975 Topps, I’ve never been much for parallels and/or mini versions… But I made an exception for my Luke Walker player collection.