Saturday, January 31, 2015

1977 Topps Don Sutton All Star MVP

Going Horizontal



Getting back to one of my older themes, making horizontal cards of the All Star Game MVPs. Due to the dark background, I decided to deviate from the original design by using a white facsimile signature instead of the regular black used in the 1977 set. I borrowed this idea from Mets Cards Like They Ought To Be! 

The 1977 All Star Game started out as another NL rout.  Don Sutton, the starting pitcher, went 3 innings giving up only 1 walk and 1 hit. The NL was leading 5-0 when he left the game. The AL would rally to bring the game within 2 runs twice but the Nationals offense proved too much to overcome as they cruised to their 6th straight All Star victory.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rating the Rookies: 1970 Cubs Rookie Stars

Here is my second take on Rating the Rookies. By my count, there were 737 cards that Topps labeled "rookie" between 1959 and 1980. This time the random number generator spit out 525 which correlates to this rookie card of the 1970 Cubs:


Randy Bobb had only 1 hit in his 10 Major League at-bats in 1968 and 1969.  He caught 122 games at the Cubs AAA affiliate 1969, hitting a respectable .263 but he was traded to the Mets for veteran catcher J.C. Martin before the start of the 1970 season. He never did make it back up to the big leagues, but he did get another unfulfilled "Rookie Stars" card. This time for the Mets:


Since the only seasons he made it up to the Majors was in 1968 and 1968, I decided to give him his own 1969 Topps card:


Jim Cosman made his MLB debut pitching for the Cardinals against the Cubs in the final game of the 1966 season. He threw a 2 hit, complete game shutout, striking out 5. In 1967 he appeared in 10 games for the Cardinals. He also appeared on this "Rookie Stars" card in the 1967 Topps set:


In 1968 and 1969 he played minor league ball for the Cards and the Mets. After the 1969 season, the Cubs claimed him from the Mets in the rule 5 draft. He pitched a single inning for the Cubs in 1970. He was given mop up duty, coming in with the Cubs trailing 6-1 in the 7th inning. The first batter he faced, Hank Aaron, went yard. He gave up 2 more runs on 2 hits and a walk. He never took the mound for a Major League club again.

For Cosman's card that never was, I filled the gap between his 2 rookie cards with his own 1968 card:



Now for my grade: F

 After this card was printed, Randy Bobb never played another MLB game. Jim Cosman pitched just one inning and gave up 3 runs. To make things worse, Cosman is wearing an airbrushed (Mets?) cap. There is just no way to put a positive spin on it. If you happen to have this card lying around, go ahead and put it in your spokes.

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.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Selling Fake Cards

You may or may not have noticed that I have been absent from this blog for a couple months now. I have just been overwhelmed by work, family, the holidays, you name it. As a result have had less time to spend on my hobby.

And that is what this is, my hobby. It is not a money making proposition. In fact it costs money and produces nothing. And I am fine with that. But lately a couple of eBay sellers have been using cards from various blogs and selling them. Including this blog plus Bob Lemke's Blog, When Topps had (Base) Balls, Mets Baseball Cards Like They Ought To Be and several other.

Several times I have had request for physical cards. I have always responded that I make virtual cards only but you are free to use them as you like. I understand collectors (I am one myself). There a many completionists (for lack of a better word) who want to fill in the blanks left by Topps of their favorite player, team or set. Go ahead print one out and put it in your binder.

Just don't put them on eBay. Please.

The problem comes when somebody who is not familiar with the hobby pays $40.00 for this:



I posted this as part of my Mets Favorites series here. This guy has used several other cards of mine most selling in range of $8-$18. Except for this one selling for only $0.99 :


You can see the disappointment on Joe's face. LOL

The funny thing is this guy has lifted cards from this blog that are not even mine. Including this one that was put out by Topps themselves. Which proves that the guy selling our cards, is just looking at the pictures and not reading the text.


Some poor sucker paid $15.50 for a print of this with a blank back. He could have bought the actual card with an actual back, printed by Topps as part of their 2012 Archives set. It is currently going for as little as $0.73 on COMC.com. That's even less than my 1966 Joe Torre All Star.

I know I've been rambling on a bit here. I don't have a solution to this. There will always be hucksters trying to make a quick buck. And I agree with the blog written on Baseball Card Breakdown that it DOES hurt the hobby. The best we can do is bring these people into the light and expose them for what they are.

A couple decades ago somebody was printing fake Pete Rose rookie cards. They got caught and the judge allowed the cards back into the market as long as they were stamped "counterfeit". I knowingly bought one of these stamped cards a long time ago for about $10 bucks. I collect rookie of the year cards and there was no way I would be able to afford a real one. It is currently filling the hole in my binder.


Other expensive holes are filled by Topps reprints such as:


Topps included an almost exact reprint of this card in its 1999 Topps Stars set. No gold foil stamp on the front, No refractor imaging, just a nice clean reprint. This particular card is extremely hard to find. I don't remember what I paid for it but it wasn't cheap. Oddly the autographed version is easier to find and goes for $50-$100 on eBay.

I know, rambling again. The point is, I know the hobby. I know what I am paying for. I have knowingly bought fake cards but I knew what I was getting. 

Not everybody does. 

I made this blog for my own entertainment. It is awesome that other people enjoy it as well. The truth is I would like to have hard copies of a few of my cards as well as some of the cards created by other hobbyists. But I don't want to contribute to these scams. 

Sorry for not posting in 2 months and then posting a long babbling semi-coherent post. 

I welcome and encourage comments on this issue. You can post them here, or on Baseball Card Breakdown's post on the same subject. Or on When Topps had (Base) Balls post that started the dialog. I am following all the comments closely.