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.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

1974 Topps Ralph Houk Redux

In 1974 there were only 24 Major League teams. But in the Topps set for 1974 there were only 21 manager cards.

Twenty of them looked like this:

And one of them looked like this:

Okay, other than the fact that Ralph Houk is wearing Yankee pinstripes and a poorly airbrushed Tigers cap, what else is wrong? 

Yup. All the coaches are missing. If you look at the other 20 manger cards, Topps included the coaches. Most teams had four, a few more had three. The Indians could only muster two, but the Tigers? Bubkis. Zilch. Nada.

So here I am to right this wrong and give due to the coaches in Detroit. While I'm at it, I'll put Mr. Houk in his proper uniform.

That's better. Now he has a proper coaching staff; pitching coach Cot Deal, Joe Schultz who was the Pilots manager in their only season, Dick Tracewski who coached in Detroit for 24 years , and Jim Hegan who's son Mike Hegan played for Joe Schultz in Seattle.  Unfortunately, the aging tigers finished last in the AL East.

And what about the other 3 missing manager cards? The missing Oakland A's card is what got this started. Warren over at Mets Fantazy Cards made this card. It's one of his many creations that never made the blog. I just thought it was too good not to post. Sorry Warren.

After winning 2 straight World Series titles in Oakland, Dick Williams had enough of Charlie Finley's antics and quit. He was quickly hired by the Yankees but Finley called foul. Williams still had a year under contract with the A's so he would not be eligible to manage any other team. 

** Spoiler Alert** 
This probably explains why the Yankees are also without a manager card in the 1974 Topps set.