Today I’ve got one last batch of cards which meet these criteria… although all of these “features” apply to cards from many 1960’s sets.
A lot of team collectors and fans of Heritage wish that they’d go back to including manager cards. Sure, I’d like cards of Buck Showalter and new Mets manager Mickey Callaway, and I’d also like cards of HOFer Paul Molitor, Don Mattingly and guys like Joe Maddon.
I wonder if guys like Molitor and Mattingly are indirectly to blame for the lack of manager cards. Managers are not covered under the deal that Topps has with the MLBPA, so Topps probably has to negotiate with managers individually. It’s not a stretch to think that a HOFer like Paul Molitor would command a much higher fee than Brian Snitker and most of the other managers.
Another type of card we wont see – but which isn’t specific to 1969 – was the checklist card which featured a player’s head shot. I’m sure if Heritage included checklist cards then they’d include one (with Aaron Judge on every one, given Topps’ man crush on him)… but since they aren’t, I figured I’d whip one up.
In 1968 and 1969, Topps referred to the Astros as simply “HOUSTON”, most likely due to a trademarking issue. I don’t know if the specifics of this issue had ever been completely determined, but Topps either couldn’t or wouldn’t get in the middle of it and didn’t use the Astros names or logos for all of 1968 and part of 1969.
Whatever the issue, it must’ve shown signs of coming to an end sometime during 1969, because the later series cards still said “HOUSTON” and featured mainly road uniforms, but at least showed cap logos… something like this:
For 1970 Topps went back to using the Astros name, and finally allowed collectors to get more than a glimpse of the “Shooting Star” home uniforms of the day.
One of the first things I think of when I think of the quirks of 1960’s Topps cards are the clumsy methods they used to cover the fact that a photo was old or that a player had been traded to a new team. There’s always the capless photos (as I’d covered in Part 1 of this series).
One method which continued to get used into the 1970’s was having photos with the classic “guy looking up so you can’t see the cap logo” pose. Of course, since nobody is taking photos specifically for Topps anymore, players don’t actually pose this way… However there is a thing certain players do which is “close enough for government work”:
Sometimes when a player went from one team with a blue cap to another with a blue cap (i.e. Dodgers to Cubs), there would be a photo where you couldn’t see the front of the jersey and someone took a brush and just put a little blob of blue over the cap logo. I wanted to do something like this and was pondering who to use for this example… and then the Mets signed former Dodger Adrian Gonzalez. Perfect!
My first attempt at this was a little too good and looked more like a logo-free Panini card. I still don’t feel like I’ve properly replicated the “blue blob” technique, but it’s frankly not worth agonizing over.
Of course, what most of us think of with these “updated” photos are the ones where the crown of the player’s cap was completely blacked-out. In order to maximize the ridiculousness in my custom, I wanted to use a player who was traded to a team where the resulting combination of the original cap’s bill and a blacked-out crown would be something that wasn’t even remotely close to something his new team would wear… And so I set out to find a workable photo of Stephen Piscotty who was traded from the Cardinals to the Athletics. I wouldn’t normally consider photos that were more than a year old, but since older photos is completely in character for 1969 Topps, I found a lovely example from a team photo day from a few years ago.
If I really wanted to go nuts with the blacked-out caps, I would black out caps for many of the players in an Athletics uniform (since they’d moved from Kansas City to Oakland for the 1968 season) as well as the four expansion teams of the day — the Royals, Padres, Nationals (Expos) and Brewers (Pilots).
…but that, of course, will never happen in Heritage.
So that’s the last of my attempts to re-create questionable 1969 Topps techniques for 2018. I’ve enjoyed playing with this particular card design, so I will likely make more “1969 customs”, but it will likely be more along the lines of “Gosh, I wish this guy had been included in Heritage”.