Monday, April 10, 2017

Even More For 1963 Fleer

In my previous post I pointed out some other types of cards that might have been included in the 1963 Fleer set had it not been cut short due to Topps' lawsuit. In my last post I added manager, rookie and team cards. But what set would be complete without leader cards?

Again I made one example from the American League and one from the National. Not a bad selection of players either. Five out of six are in the Hall of Fame now.  I tried to remain true to the Fleer design, but when I was done it looks reminiscent of Topps 1964 Leader cards.

Also missing from the initial 66 cards were World Series cards. Not necessarily essential, but usually a source of action shots in the 1960's when most cards were posed. Again, one card example featuring the National League team, and one for the American League.

 I decided to go with black and white photos out of necessity. While I could find a few color photos of the 1962 Series. Topps colorized their WS cards in the early 60's but revered to black and white in the later part of the decade.

One of my favorite subsets, the All Star cards, were notably missing from the 1963 Topps set. When Topps did  include All Stars, they weren't often the starting All Stars from the previous season. Often they were labeled "Sporting News All Star" but often that wasn't the case either.

In my examples, both players were Sporting News All Stars in 1963.  Luis Aparicio played starting shortstop in the 1962 All Star Games while a member of the White Sox. In 1963 he was the backup to Zoilo VersallesJohnny Edwards was the Sporting News All Star in 1963 but was a backup to Ed Bailey of the Giants in the 1963 All Star game. Edwards took over for Bailey as the Reds catcher in 1961 when Bailey was traded to the Giants. Edwards, a three time All Star and two time Gold Glove catcher was succeeded by Johnny Bench in 1968.

In the Original 66 cards was the rookie card of Maury Wills. On that card, instead of the usual player drawing, Fleer put "N.L. Most Valuable Player '62". They replicated that for their 1998 Mickey Mantle insert card. I made a Rookie of the Year card for Ken Hubbs using the same design.

While most sets of this era didn't have "Award" cards, it seem like a logical extension. So here is the other R.O.Y. from 1962, Tom Tresh and the 1962 Cy Young Award winner, Don Drysdale.




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

1963 Fleer Extended Set

In my last post, I wrote about the 1963 Fleer set. Specifically, how it was just 66 base cards and not a complete baseball card set as we know it. So today I am speculating about what some of the other non- base cards would look.

One of the first omissions from the set is the manager card. Johnny Pesky guided the Red Sox in 1963 and 1964. Hand picked by Tom Yawkey, Pesky was a fan favorite. But the Sox finished in 7th in 1963 and 8th in 1964.

Harry Craft was the first skipper of the expansion Colt .45s in 1962. He coached there until his eventual dismissal late in the 1964 season. The Colts weren't the first team he'd managed. He was the K.C. Athletics manager from 1957-59 and was part of the Cubs "College of Coaches" experiment in 1961. In his 7 years managing 3 different clubs, he never finished above 7th place.

Since there wasn't a player pose for manager, I had to create one. With the help of photoshop, I lifted the outline of Casey Stengel striking a classic pose.

You know what else is missing? Good old-fashioned team cards. They are missing from current sets as well. I guess they just don't take those type of pictures anymore. Too bad, I miss them.

I picked a team from each league. The Angels in just their 3rd year and the Pirates, who had been around since the late 1800s. I was surprised to learn that the Pirates logo from this era was this cartoonish buccaneer. Topps continued to use their older "classic" logo.

Last but not least are the rookie cards. Topps used the phrase "Rookie Stars" on their cards. Fleer sets of the 80s used the term "Prospect" which seem more appropriate given some of the "stars" that appeared on Topps rookie cards.

I used the eventual 1963 Rookies of the Year as the subjects of these cards. In all they are all very good but only one was an eventual Hall of Famer. Dave DeBusschere is in the Basketball  Hall of Fame.

Friday, March 31, 2017

1963 Fleer

The 1963 Fleer set was cut short at just 66 cards. Topps won a court battle allowing it to have a near monopoly on baseball cards until 1981. Fleer had to cease printing cards after just one series. 

The '63 Fleer set has had loads of Cards That Never Were posted by multiple sources on the interwebs. I made nine different cards myself, which I posted on this blog and on my other blog, Rating The Rookies.  

Here are my 1963 Fleer cards of Ernie Banks, Ken Hubbs, Fritz Ackley, Curt Flood, Joe Shipley, Al Moran, Lee Stange, Don Zimmer and even Kris Kringle. 




Fleer themselves have made versions of these cards, too. They included this Mickey Mantle MVP card as an insert in its 1998 Tradition set.


Then again for its 40th anniversary in 2003 it included several very nice looking cards. Like these of Luis Aparicio, Lou Brock and Duke Snider::


Although the 2003 set included several players from 1963 it was annoyingly flawed. First, they changed the design slightly by shrinking the player sketch and coloring it white. Second was the inevitable Fleer Tradition logo on the top. But the biggest flaws were the players either in the wrong era uniforms, like Red Schoendienst and Willie Stargell,


 Or simply in black and white like Eddie Mathews and Frank Malzone:


***********************************************

Ok, all that was a long-winded prelude to tease my next few posts. I am not going to try to complete the 1963 set. That would be insane (although possibly fun).  

 We've seen plenty of base/player cards that never were based on the 1963 Fleer set. But if it had expanded beyond the first 66 base cards into an entire set, what would the other elements of a complete set look like?

Friday, March 17, 2017

1974 Topps John McNamara


After winning only 60 games in 1973 the Padres fired Manager Don Zimmer. Meanwhile the Padres franchise was in flux. They had been tentatively sold to Joseph Danzansky who planned to move the team to Washington. Danzansky had also made an unsuccessful bid for the Senators in an attempt to keep them from moving to Texas. The city of San Diego threatened legal action for breaking the lease at San Diego Stadium (later known as Jack Murphy then Qualcomm)

Ultimately the club was sold to Ray Kroc and stayed in San Diego. John McNamara took over as manager. With all the off season commotion, the Padres remained the same on the field. Finishing in last place with only 60 wins again.  Because the fate of the Padres was still in flux when the 1974 set went to print, Topps made a few runs designating the team as Washington. But they never made an manager/coaches card. So here is both the 1974 Padres and the 1974 Washington "Nat'l Lea." Manager Cards That Never Were because why not?



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

1974 Topps Bill Virdon


After winning the World Series, A's manager Dick Williams had enough of Charlie Finley's interference and quit. Meanwhile in New York Ralph Houk also quit after the 1973 season. He was tiring of the Bronx Fans' constant booing a Yankees team that was no longer a perennial contender. Yankees' new owner, George Steinbrenner jumped at the chance to hire Williams. 

But Finley had the last laugh. Williams was still under contract for another year and Finley would not let him go.  This left both the Yankees and the A's manager situation in limbo when Topps went to print the 1974 set.

The Yankees eventually opted for Bill Virdon. Virdon had managed the Pirates to the division championship in 1972. But in September of 1973 with the Pirates 3 games back and 2 games under .500, Danny Murtaugh replaced Virdon at the helm. The 1974 Yankees finished in 2nd place with 89 wins. Bill Virdon was named The Sporting News Manager of the Year.

It's too bad Topps never got to make this card. It would have been nice to see a card that included a coaching staff of Whitey Ford, Dick Howser and Elston Howard.