An Unexpected Number Of 1968’s, Part Two

Here are some more of the 1968 cards I got recently without meaning to buy as many as I ended up buying (but it’s all good)…

Dave Leonhard played 6 years for the Orioles, first as a starter, then as a reliever. He’s the last Major Leaguer to come out of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
1968 Topps Orioles Rookies Leonhard May
Dave May played for the Orioles, Brewers and Rangers, and is famous for being the guy traded to the Braves for Hank Aaron in 1974.

A 1968 Game insert featuring Matty Alou wearing one of those weird Pirates hats with the logo apparently on a patch instead of being embroidered directly into the hat.
1968 Topps Game Matty Alou
Matty Alou lead the NL in batting in 1966, and was in the top 4 in batting from 1967 to 1969.

Tommie Agee is capless because he had been acquired from the White Sox in December, 1967.
1968 Topps Tommie Agee
Agee won a Gold Glove and Rookie Of The Year during his first full season, but he disappointed in his second season, so the White Sox shipped him off to the lowly Mets.

In 1967 with the Astros, Mike Cuellar was an All-Star and a 16-game winner.  In 1969 with the Orioles, Cuellar won the Cy Young award.  In 1968…. well……………….. not so much.
1968 Topps Mike Cuellar
I’m guessing that Cuellar’s airbrushed hat means that it’s really a Colt .45 hat.  The team was the Colts from 1962 to 1964.  That’s the Shea Stadium scoreboard in the background, and Shea opened in 1964.  I’ll let you do the logic to determine what year this photo must be from.

Update:  I’d assumed that the airbrushed cap on Mike Cuellar meant that it wasn’t an Astros logo, but in the comments for this post Tony L. pointed out that *every* Astro in 1968 Topps has the cap airbrushed (or no cap at all), most likely due to the same legal dispute between the Astros and Topps that resulted in the cards saying “HOUSTON” rather than “ASTROS”.  Thanks, Tony!

Manny Mota, on a card I just liked.
1968 Topps Manny Mota
I so thoroughly associate Manny Mota with the Dodgers that it’s strange to see him in a Pirates uniform, even though he played six years in Pittsburgh.  I won’t get into his short stints with the Expos and Giants.

Another Game insert, this one of Tommy Davis, who I believe is in a Dodger’s uniform even though he played for the Mets in 1967 and the White Sox in 1968, because he’d been traded by the Mets in the Agee deal.
1968 Topps Game Tommy Davis
I didn’t intentionally include both in the same post, but it worked out quite nicely.

Al Ferrara played piano at Carnegie Hall as a child, and guest starred on Gilligan’s Island and Batman (as I’ve mentioned a couple of times before… Sue me, I think it’s cool).
1968 Topps Al Ferrara
I found this clip of one of the episodes of Batman he was in, I believe he’s the taller of the two henchmen carrying the boxes containing giant spiders (It’s 1960’s Batman, just go with it).

“Black Widow” was played by Tallulah Bankhead, in what was her final role.

Breaking Down 1972 Topps By Team

Last week I wrote about the 47-card 1972 Topps Mets team set, the largest team set in 1972 Topps and quite possibly of any “flagship” set.

As I was writing that post, I got to wondering…  There can’t be this many cards for all the teams, not without the entire set going well over 1,000 cards.  So if that’s the case, who else is up near the top?  How quickly does it drop off?  And which teams have relatively small sets to keep the entirety of 1972 at 797 cards?

You see, after spending the work week doing research and analysis, I like to kick back by coming home and doing research and analysis.  I’m weird that way.

1972 Topps Tommy Davis IA

So I did a little poking around and got some numbers…

…And just to be clear about something:  Although these numbers are, to the best of my knowledge, correct, please do not take them as gospel.  I can’t swear that they are absolutely correct.

Let  me put it this way;  if  you’re trying to cross the Bridge Of Death and the bridgekeeper asks you “How many California Angels cards are there in the 1972 Topps set?”  my advice to you is this — RUN AWAY!  RUN AWAY!

The most well-represented teams in 1972 Topps are the Mets (47 cards), Pirates (46), A’s (41), Orioles (40) and Giants (37).

1972 Topps Bruce Kison

FYI, I counted all eight World Series cards for both the Orioles and Pirates, even though 5 cards have photos of just a Pirate and 2 have just an Oriole. I figured that a Pirates or Orioles collector is going to want to collect all of the World Series cards, regardless of who’s featured.

I had expected the least number of cards to come from one of the four teams that had been expansion teams 3 years prior – the Expos, Padres, Royals and Brewers.  That was surprisingly not the case.

The award for the fewest cards overall goes to the Cleveland Indians with 26.

1972 Topps Gaylord Perry

Just above them are the Angels, Rangers and Brewers with 28.
1972 Topps Rudy May

That’s a big disparity; going from 47 Mets to 26 Indians…but  the real story here is how the Mets came to have 21 cards more than the Indians.

If you count just the “regular” cards – team cards, managers, players and team-specific “Rookie Stars” cards – the disparity isn’t all that notable.  When you take out the League Leaders, “In Action” and “Boyhood Photos”, the Mets have 29 “regular” cards.  The Royals surprisingly have the most “regular” cards with 32, and the Tigers, Twins and Padres have the fewest with 25.

1972 Topps Cesar Tovar

Obviously, what I getting at is that the big difference among teams comes from the subsets.  Nobody on the Indians, Astros, Rangers or Brewers was among the league leaders, was ever “in action” or even had a “boyhood”.

Where it really gets interesting is in the breakdown of the “In Action” cards.

1972 Topps Wilbur Wood IA

Since I started working on this set , I knew that there was a disparity in the way these cards were assigned — certain players get overlooked while less-deserving players get chosen, certain teams better represented than others – but I had no idea it was as “unfair” as it turned out to be.  Check out the way the “In Action” cards are broken down by team:
11: Mets
10: Giants
5: Pirates, A’s, Reds, Yankees, Padres
4: Red Sox, Cubs, Twins
2: White Sox, Braves, Tigers, Dodgers, Phillies, Royals
1: Expos, Angels
0: Orioles, Cardinals, Astros, Brewers, Rangers, Indians

The reason the Mets and Giants are so heavily represented is because many of the photos used were taken in Shea Stadium or Candlestick Park… even when the card didn’t feature a Met or Giant, like with the In Action cards of Hank Aaron, Maury Wills or Willie Stargell.  I can only guess that Topps’ best “Action” photographers mainly worked out of those two ballparks.

A little later in the week, I’ll feature some of these In Action cards which were photographed in Shea or Candlestick.


Just a reminder that today is Election Day in the United States. It’s the duty of all Americans to go to your local polling place and cast your ballot for the candidate you think will do the least harm.

Everybody Loves The Pilots (Except The Brew Crew)

There’s never a shortage of Seattle Pilots collectibles at the National… Yearbooks, schedules, cards, pennants, jerseys… How affordable those collectibles are is another matter, but just because something costs 200 times as much money as I brought to the show doesn’t mean I can’t blog about it. I promise there’ll be affordable stuff mentioned down below as well.

First, we have a Dick Bates home jersey;  Bates entire Major League career consisted of pitching in one game on April 27th, 1969, hurling 1.2 innings in relief.

I had to play some games to get the above image to appear correctly;  for some reason I’d have an image that looked OK on my computer but got rotated 90 degrees when I uploaded it to WordPress.  I could not for the life of me figure out why this was happening, and I ended up getting around it by rotating the image the other direction on my computer and then uploading that image.  If anybody has any clue what the heck is going on with that, please leave a comment.

Getting back to the uniform, here’s an interesting detail you never see in baseball cards;  I never realized until this past weekend that flannels – or at least 1960’s flannels – had eyelets sewn into the armpits.

Looking for something more affordable?  How about this Seattle Pilots pennant for $90?  No?  OK, fair enough.  For some reason, the pennant company took the lower case “p” and “o” in the wordmark and made them larger, presumably to make it fit better on the pennant.  Looks a bit goofy, though.  I’m sure they would’ve sorted that out in 1970, if only they’d had the chance.

Here’s a John Morris road uniform… Morris pitched in 6 games for the Pilots, and also pitched for the Orioles, Phillies, Brewers (naturally) and Giants.  I love the combination of blue and yellow used in the Pilots (and early Brewers) uniforms, and I think that the yellow lettering on a powder blue uniform works nicely.  Maybe someday the Brewers or Mariners can revive something like this.

Here’s something that’s affordable:  A $40 pocket schedule for 1970, the season that got played in Milwaukee.  One would expect a second-year schedule to be more visually appealing than this, but perhaps that was emblematic of the financial struggles of the team at that stage.

Allright, enough of the bank-breaking stuff.  What did I get for myself?  Well, I completed my 1970 Pilots team set (the team set I had thought was complete until recently) by getting this card of a hatless Rich Rollins in a Twins jersey.  Rollins was an All-Star in 1962 as a Twins rookie, and he was an All-Star in BOTH All-Star games that year… I’d forgotten they used to play two games.  Good thing that doesn’t happen anymore.  I can just imagine the “Both of these count!” hype that would surround them.

Going into the show, I saw that there was a Seattle Pilots card in the 1969 Deckle Edge insert set, so I added that to my wantlist.  My reaction to this card is best if, when you read it,  you mentally hear a disappointed Homer Simpson voice:  “Ohhhhhh…. I wanted a Pilot!”  This is a disappointing card, but I bought it anyway.  Technically, it’s a Seattle Pilots card, even though the words “Seattle” and “Pilots” are nowhere to be found on the card, the uniform looks like it might be an airbrushed Dodger uniform, and it’s all in black and white.  But it’s from 1969, Tommy Davis was on the  Pilots in 1969 and all of his cards from 1969 are considered Pilots cards, so….

Much more fun than that (both for me and the original owner) is this 1970 Topps Scratch Off Game featuring Pilots first baseman Mike Hegan on the front.

The Scratch Off “cards” are really little gatefold cards;  here’s what a scratched-off card looks like on the inside

And here’s the “back”, complete with the final score that came from all the scratching.

…And the Pilots scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat California 6-5!  Woo-hoo!  Thats worth the $1 I spent right there.