Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rating the Rookies: 1968 Twins Rookie Stars

OK, time for a new theme. I've always been a little obsessed with rookie cards. Not just for the players who went on to become stars. I also like the one hit wonders. 

Topps began making designated "Rookie" cards back in 1959 and continues on to this day. If you follow this blog you know I'm more into vintage cards. So I took all the "Rookie" cards Topps made from 1959-1980, all 737 of them (by my count). I then had the computer spit out a random number between 1 and 737. This time it spit out 448 which corresponds to this card:

The way this works is that, using 20/20 hindsight, I will sit in judgement of these rookies. And since the name of the blog is Cards That Never Were, I will try to make relevant cards of the player(s) featured on the card.

The earlier cards (1959, 1960 and most of 1961) only had 1 player per card. The mid '70s cards had 4. This one falls in the middle. So here we go:

Ron Clark began minor league ball in 1961 and played mostly in the minors until 1975. He came up for a cup of coffee with the Twins in 1966 and even appeared on another rookie card in 1967:

He had solo cards on the Twins in 1969 and on the A's in 1970. Skipping right over the time he spent on the Pilots. In 1975 he came up for a final cup of coffee, 1 game, 1 plate appearance, 1 strike out, with the Phillies. Unfortunately, Topps lost interest in him back in 1970, so as promised, here is you card that never was:

Moe Ogier is another story altogether. He never did make it to the show. After posting a 13-12 record in single A ball, Topps deemed him ready. Instead he spent 1968 pitching AA ball for the Charlotte Hornets. He bounced around the minors from 1965-1971 mostly with the Twins organization but also with the Angels and the Padres. Because he never advanced, I was almost stumped on my first attempt. Almost. 

I actually found a decent picture of Moe. Unfortunately it was in a Twins uniform. I couldn't really justify giving him his own card as a Twin. So I decided to think like Topps. I airbrushed his cap and gave him another rookie card. This time as an Angel.

I added Jim Spencer to this rookie card. Despite being the Angels primary first baseman in 1969, Spencer didn't appear on a Topps card until 1970.

And here is the part where I grade this card:

 I have to give it a D

Ogier was a bust. Clark, on the other hand, played in portions of 7 MLB seasons. He hit an anemic .189 over his career, but he did play in 104 games for the Twins in 1968 which is the year the card came out. So this card gets a passing grade, but just barely.


  1. Check out a player named Bill Davis. He appeared on no less than FIVE rookie cards in consecutive years from 1965 to 1969. If there is one vintage players who could use his own Card That Never Was - it's him.

    1. That is freakin' awesome! I have all five of those cards but had never paid close attention to notice that the same guy was deemed a "rookie star" for five consecutive years. For what it's worth, he did hit one home run in his career. But his career BA was about 40 pounds below his playing weight, that's just never good. Maybe Topps had an exec in those years that was from the same hometown of Graceville, Minnesota?