Monday, April 26, 2021

Topps All-Star Misses: 1970 AL Battery

From 1958-1970 Topps has been including "All-Star" cards.  But how Topps chose the players always seemed a bit off to me.  Understandably, they weren't the current year's All-Star starters because of printing deadlines, etc.  But they weren't the previous year's All-Stars either.  Often the framed it as "The Sporting News" or "Sport Magazine" All-Stars, but that still doesn't check out.  

So I set out to make All-Star Cards That Never Were for the players that could have been included.  My criteria was simple. Either they were a starter in the previous year's All Star Game or they were named to the real "Sporting News All-Star Team" for the current season.

When I started this project, I had really no idea what I was taking on.  I ended up making over 150 All-Star Cards That Never Were.  That was just from 8 years; 1958-62 and 1969-70. Remember, Topps took a break from 1963-67 then again from 1971-73.  After that (with a few exceptions) their cards mirrored the previous year's All Star Game starters.

Darold Knowles:

  • Although not the starting pitcher in the 1969 ASG, he was the first lefty to come on in relief for the AL team.
  • In 1970 he had 27 saves, 3rd in AL.
  • In 1970 had a 2.04 ERA.

Mel Stottlemyre:

  • Starter for the AL in the 1969 ASG
  • 18th in MVP voting 1969
  • Led AL with 24 Complete Games in 1969
  • 1970 All Star reserve.  Pitched 1.2 innings, credited with a blown save.

Jim Perry:

  • Named to 1970 Sporting News All Star Team
  • 1970 Cy Young Award winner.
  • Led AL with 24 Wins in 1970.
  • 9th in 1970 MVP voting.
  • 1970 All Star Game reserve. Pitched 2 innings.
  • 3rd in 1969 Cy Young Award voting.
  • 9th in 1969 MVP voting.

Ray Fosse:

  • Named to 1970 Sporting News All Star Team,
  • 1970 All Star Game reserve. 
  • 1970 Gold Glove award winner.
  • 23rd in MVP voting 1970.

Who probably didn't merit inclusion in the 1970 Topps All-Star set, but was in it anyway? 

Denny McLain:
Although the 1969 Cy Young award winner, he was suspended the first 3 months of the 1970 season due to bookmaking activities. He did pitch in relief in the 1969 ASG but was not on the 1970 All Star roster.


  1. Great looking All-Star cards! Glad you are continuing this project.

  2. McLain's 1970 exploits would have no effect on being named to the 1969 All-Star team - the basis for these cards.

    1. Except he WASN'T the 1969 ASG starter nor even the first righty to pitch in the 1969 ASG. He was the 3rd. Nor was he named to "The Sporting News" 1970 All-Star team. I did mention his Cy Young 1969 season, but this card was in the 5th series. He was suspended for the 1st 3 months of the 1970 season.
      Topps decision making on these cards was haphazard and a mystery to everybody but Topps. They are NOT based on the current season's "Sporting News All Stars" nor the previous season's ASG starters.
      That, however, IS "the basis for these cards" which could have been included in the 1970 set.

  3. It is the PREVIOUS season's Sporting News All-Stars, IIRC.

    1. Of the 10 Topps 1970 American League "Sporting News All Stars: 6 were actual 1969 MLB ASG starters. 5 were 1969 "Sporting News All-Stars". 2 were 1970 "Sporting News All-Stars".

      So what was the basis of these cards? Or to quote a fellow blogger: "It's just Topps being Topps".

    2. That's me you were quoting. LOL

      (Back in the day, whenever the 76ers' Charles Barkley did something controversial, his coach (Jimmy Lynam) would usually explain it away, saying "That's just Charles being Charles".)

      And so I applied that to Topps' frequent blunders. :)