Sunday, November 15, 2009

Who didn't get a card, but shoulda...

Here are some players who didn't have a card in 1966, though playing in the majors for some time:

Joe Adcock
Joe was a long-time first baseman for several American League teams in the 1950s and 1960s. His last player card was in 1963, although he continued to play regularly for 3 more full seasons with the Angels. After retiring following the 1966 season, he was immediately hired as the Indians manager, and has a 1967 manager card.

Dick Hall
Hall was a relief pitcher for the Pirates (1955-59), Athletics (1960), Orioles (1961-66, 69-71), and Phillies (1967-68). He had Topps cards in 1955-57, 1960-63, and 1967-71. The missing cards in 1958 and 1959 are to be expected, since he spent most of 1957 and 1959 in the minors, and was either out of baseball or injured during the 1958 season. However, there doesn't appear to be a baseball reason for the missing cards from 1964 to 1966, since he was a full-time major-league player with plenty of appearances from 1960 to 1971.

Maury Wills
Wills didn't have a Topps card until 1967. I read a note from Ted Taylor saying that Wills was under contract to Fleer (he had a Fleer card in 1963) and Fleer would not release him to Topps.

Chris Short
Like Wills, Short's 1st card was in 1967. He had been pitching regularly for the Phillies since 1960.

Tony Horton
Tony was a backup 1B-OF for the Red Sox between 1965 and early 1967. Although he only played 6 major-league games in 1966, in 1965 he appeared in 44 games for the Red Sox, playing 344 innings at 1st base. This should have warranted a card for 1966.

Doug Clemens (added 2/28/10)
Clemens was in the major leagues for parts of every season from 1960 to 1968, and continuously since opening day in 1964. He had 218 at-bats in 1964 and 340 at-bats in 1965, yet his only baseball card was in 1967.

I will continue to add to this list as others are discovered. Please email or comment if you have any others. (Players who were sent down during the previous season are likely to not have a card in the following season, especially if they are marginal players or aging veterans.)

11/30/09 edit:
Hey, I got a mention in Ted Taylor's column:

The Mail Bag…

Jim from Downingtown writes…

“My question relates to vintage Topps baseball cards. There are some veteran players that don't have cards for certain years. I can understand that when a player spends significant time in the minors one season, he may not have a baseball card for the next season, but here's a few that don't fit that mold.”

Question - Joe Adcock's last card was in 1963, although he played significantly for the Angels from 1964 to 1966.

Answer - Fleer owned his rights, wouldn’t release them. When they did, he was no longer playing. The Adcock card is a very tough one in the ’63 Fleer.

Question - Tony Horton - A part time player in Boston for 1965 and 1966, and a fulltime first baseman in Cleveland since mid-1967, yet he has no baseball card until 1970. In fact, no Cleveland Indian's first baseman card was printed in 1968 or 1969, so it's not as though Horton was passed over for another player.

Answer – Clay Luraschi at Topps says there is no one at the company that remembers why Horton was skipped. It assumes it was contractual, but I doubt the contract was with Fleer. Maybe he was holding out for more money from Topps. Luraschi adds that the exclusion could be as simple as the person putting the set together didn’t want that player in it. (That, unfortunately, often has to do with who gets included and who doesn’t. The old personal preference card.)

Question - Why No Chris Short card until 1967?

Answer – Not sure, but since his team (Phillies) and Fleer were both in Philadelphia we suspect it was that he was under contract to them.

Question - Why no Maury Wills card until 1967?

Answer – This one we know for sure. Maury Wills was under exclusive contract to Fleer and they maintained his rights, despite not producing baseball cards since 1963 until the contract expired. He was their highest profile player.

Thanks Ted!


Matt Runyon said...

Could it be possible that some of these guys didn't sign with Topps for those years (like Maury Wills) ?

Jim from Downingtown said...

Could be, but unlike Wills and Chris Short, Adcock and Hall had Topps cards at one time, then didn't have them, then had them again. (Thanks for reminding me about Wills!)

Jim from Downingtown said...

While re-organizing my 1966, 1970, and 1972 card binders the past few days, I discovered that Rusty Staub didn't have a baseball card in 1972 or 1973!

(Also, I mistakenly thought Tony Horton had a card in 1970.)