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.


  1. You neglected to mention that the third team without a manager card is the Padres. Just a guess - perhaps the manager was left off the team's agenda until after the unsettled move/ownership change during the offseason was resolved.

  2. Another thought... 1974 was the first year that Topps cards were not issued in series, so they probably had less leeway in playing with the checklist. A year earlier, they would've just pushed those managers back to a later series.

  3. Great card. Good to see you posting again.

  4. I'm flattered you used my card John :). Your Houk card is excellent! I definitely didn't notice that his was different back in the day. I've always loved those manager cards but I have to say the Indians with only 2 coaches looks weird.