Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Topps All-Star Misses: 1962 AL Infield

 In 1962 The Topps "Sporting News All-Star" cards for the AL infield most closely resembled the second ASG of 1961.  Topps had three of the four starters from game 2; Norm Cash at first, Luis Aparicio at short, and Brooks Robinson at third.  The only player in the 1962 Topps AS set that was an actual "Sporting News All-Star" in 1962 was Brooks.  Cash and Robinson were also 1961 Sporting News All Star sections.

So who could've been on these cards? At first base there could have been a card for Norm Siebern.  He was the actual Sporting News All Star selection in 1962.  Although he never was an All Star starter he was a four-time All Star from 1962-1964.  He al so received AL MVP votes three years running from 1961-1963

At second base there could have been cards for Johnny Temple who and Bobby Richardson. Temple started both All Star games in 1961.  Richardson was the Sporting News All Star selection in both 1961 and 1962.

At shortstop you can see a changing of the guard in New York. The outgoing shortstop, Tony Kubek could have been included because he was the starting shortstop in the first ASG of 1961.  He was also the Sporting News All Star selection in 1961.  The 1962 Rookie of the Year, Tom Tresh, was the Sporting New All Star selection in 1962.  This would be another case where a player could have had a rookie card and an All Star card in the same Topps set.  His rookie card appeared in the Series 1.  By Series 6 (where the All Stars appeared in 1962) Topps could have made a second card for the eventual ROY.

Who probably didn't merit inclusion in the 1962 Topps All-Star set, but was in it anyway?

Chuck Schilling

In 1961 Schilling Tied for 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting. His teammate Don Schwall won the title. Although Schwall won the AL ROY and another 1961 Red Sox rookie, Carl Yastrzemski would enter the Hall of Fame, Schilling was given the Thomas A. Yawkey award for Most Valuable Red Sox in 1961. A wrist injury in 1962 would shorten his promising career. After being traded to the Twins in 1966, Schilling retire rather that take a demotion to the minors.  Ironically, the last ling from the back of his 1962 All Star card read: "Chuck is assured of a long major league career."

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Topps All-Star Misses: 1968 NL Battery

 The National League All Star battery according to Topps in 1968 was Ken Holtzman (LHP), Bob Gibson (RHP) and Tim McCarvey (catcher).  The actual Sporting News All Star selections for 1968 were Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal (both starting pitchers, both right-handed. I don't get this either). At catcher TSN had the rookie, Johnny Bench.

Juan Marichal, being one of the Sporting News All Star selections for 1968, plus being the starter in the 1967 All Star Game certainly deserved a card in the 1968 All Star subset.

Chris Short (who much like Maury Wills, was ignored by Topps from 1959-1966 for unknown reasons) was the first left handed pitcher to make an appearance in the 1967 ASG. TSN made no All Star selection for LHP in the NL. The only lefties to leave the bullpen in the 1968 ASG were Short and Mike Cuellar.  Since Short was the first to appear (9th and 10th inning, Cuellar pitched the 11th and 12th), he gets an All Star Card That Never Was.  At least in my alternative reality... 

The starting catcher in the 1967 ASG was Joe Torre. Topps had McCarver who was a reserve in 1967. McCarver outperformed Torre going 2 for 2. Torre went 0 for 2.

Here is another cool possibility.  Johnny Bench's first Topps card was a Reds Rookie Stars card in 1968, shared with pitcher, Ron Tompkins.  He was also the actual Sporting News All Star Selection in 1968. Wouldn't it have been great if his first solo card was an All Star card from the same season?
Who probably didn't merit inclusion in the 1968 Topps All-Star set, but was in it anyway?

Ken Holtzman

Ken Holtzman had a 9-0 record and 2.53 ERA in 1967.  Due to military service he only pitched 12 games.  Billed as "the next Sandy Koufax" the young Jewish lefty had a great 1967 season despite not pitching enough inning to qualify for any league leader categories.  He would not play in an ASG until 1972 after he was traded to Oakland.  He didn't get named to The Sporting News All Star roster until 1973.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Topps All-Star Misses: 1969 AL Outfield

In 1969 the Topps AL All-Star outfield included Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Oliva and Willie Horton.  Of those three, Yaz and Horton were starters in the 1968 All Star Game. None of them were named to the 1969 Sporting News All Star team.  Joining Yaz and Horton as a starter in the 1968 outfield was Hondo. Frank Howard was also a 1969 Sporting News All Star selection. This makes his omission even more glaring.
Joining the "Capitol Punisher" on the 1969 Sporting News Roster was Paul Blair.  Blair had a career year in 1969.  He had personal bests in Hits, HRs, RBIs and slugging.  He also earned his 2nd of 8 Gold Gloves and was 11th in MVP voting.
Rounding out The Sporting News All Star Selections for the AL outfield was Reggie Jackson. Despite making his MLB debut in 1967, Jackson didn't have a Topps card until 1969.  How cool would it have been if he also had an All Star card that year? He certainly deserved it, as he was also a starter in the 1969 MLB All Star Game.

Who probably didn't merit inclusion in the 1969 Topps All-Star set, but was in it anyway?

Tony Oliva

The newly minted Hall of Famer, Tony Oliva was on the All Star team every year from 1964-1971, but he wasn't a starter in 1968 or 1969.  He wasn't selected to The Sporting News in 1968 or 1969 either. A great player with a great list of accomplishments, but he just doesn't belong here.