For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.
1982 Topps Frank Robinson
After the 1971 season, the stars aligned and the Dodgers general manager Al Campanis was able to trade for the player he had been coveting for years, Frank Robinson. The Dodgers traded four young players including pitcher Doyle Alexander to the Orioles for veteran reliever Pete Richerty. This trade came about in part due to the trade of Dick Allen to the White Sox. This allowed Steve Garvey to move from outfield to third base and gave the Dodgers another right hand power hitter in the outfield.
The 36 year old Robinson who was the reigning All Star Game MVP, assured the Dodgers that he still had three good years in the tank. He also promised not to campaign for a manager's position during those three years. However after only starting in 94 games in 1972 Robinson told Campanis to either play him more or let him play somewhere else. So for the second time in two years Robinson was involved in a multiplayer blockbuster trade. This time with the Angels. The Dodgers got Andy Messersmith and Ken McMullen, the Angels got Robinson, Bobby Valentine, Bill Singer and two others.
Robinson played 1973 and part of 1974 with the Angels before being dealt to the Indians in 1974. He would make history by being named player manager in 1975. He continued to play though the 1976 season and was inducted on his first ballot in 1982 with 89% of the vote.
1975 Topps Ralph Kiner
On Jun 4th Ralph Kiner was taking batting practice before a game against the Chicago Cubs at Forbes Field when a messenger gave him the notice that he was traded to the Cubs. Kiner walked to the Cubs clubhouse where he took off his familiar #4 Pirates uniform and was give a #22 Cubs uniform. Eventually, Hal Jeffcoat would switch to #3 and Kiner would wear his #4.
There were ten players involved in the trade and four of them played that game. Kiner started and went 1-4 with a double against his old teammates. Joe Garagiola and George Metkovich both pinch hit for the Cubs. For the Pirates, Preston Ward started at first base and went 1-4 with a stolen base.
After spending the 1954 season with the Cubs, Kiner was dealt to the Indians as the "player to be named" for pitcher "Toothpick" Sam Jones. Jones went on to lead the league with 20 losses for the Cubs in 1955.
Despite leading the league in homer for the first seven consecutive years of his MLB career it took the Baseball Writers until 1975 to induct Kiner into the Hall.