While making these recent posts featuring 1965 leader cards that never were, I stumbled upon a mystery.
I was wondering why Topps made their ERA leader cards with only 2 pitchers instead of the usual 3. This is the original NL ERA Leader card. The card above is what I think it should have been.
In 1962 they made a couple leader cards with 3 players instead of 4 because there were players tied for 4th place. In this case it was because Joe Adcock and Dick Stuart were tied for 4th with 35 homers.
And in this case because Johnny Podres, Lew Burdette and Sandy Koufax were tied for 4th with 18 wins each. (By the way, which Topps employee let their 4 year old daughter cut these pictures out?)
But normally Topps just keeps adding players like in this ridiculous 1970 leader card where they doubled the normal number of photos to accommodate the 4 way tie for 3rd with 20 wins each.
Even in the 1965 season they bumped the number of players up to 4 in this case to accommodate Mantle and Killebrew's tie for 3rd with 111 RBIs each.
And included 5 photos in 2 of their leader cards to include all 3 tied for 3rd in homers.
and in this case the 2 tied for the lead with 20 wins and the 3 tied with 19 behind them.
So why only 2?
The answer is Chris Short.
Like Maury Wills, Chris Short made his Major League debut in 1959 and also like Wills, short had his 1st Topps card in 1967. From '59-'67 Maury Wills was playing in World Series, winning the NL MVP and setting stolen base records and was conspicuously missing from Topps sets. He was, however, included in Post and Fleer sets of that era. Chris Short was just missing. No Post cereal cards. No 1963 Fleer card. Nothing. He was a solid pitcher, though. He was a regular in the Phillies rotation, even representing Philadelphia in the 1964 All Star game.
If the explanation for why Wills had no cards from 1959-1966 is simply that Fleer got to him first, then why didn't Chris Short have any cards (including Fleer) during that same period? After digging around the interwebs I found only one unsubstantiated reference stating that Chris Short was under exclusive contract with Fleer and set to appear in a later series that was never published. If anybody has any other info please let me know.
In the mean time, I think I've found my next project.