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.

1 comment:

  1. All nice cards, but really appreciate the update cards of the 67 starters, Torre and Marichal. The Bench card is excellent!