Topps 1963 All-Star Rookie Cup Team: Part 3 – the Banquet

Ok I lied,

This was to be the final installment in our three part series covering the 1963 Topps All-Star Rookie Team.  Well you know how movie companies break up the final film of blockbuster trilogies into two parts so they can bring in more coin, well that is happening here – minus the money.

Yes this was to be the final installment of my 1963 Topps Rookie All-Star (TRAS) series, but I had to much for one post so I am breaking the banquet into two parts. Okay enough prologue, onward…

The 1963 Topps All-Star Rookie Banquet

I don’t know this for a fact but I am guessing that today’s players don’t even know if they make the Topps All-Star Rookie team.

Things were different in 1963, During the early years of the Topps Rookie All-Star team the winners were rewarded with a trip to New York City for a trophy presentation at the Waldorf Astoria!

November 9, 1963 article by Carl Lundquist in The Sporting News chronicled the event. Tommy Harper was among the nine Rookie All-Stars that attended the banquet and there are pictures to prove it. Of course the pictures are likely only out there on the interwebs because Harper’s teammate happened to be the NL Rookie of the Year and would go on to become quite infamous…

Tommy Harper and Pete Rose at the Topps Rookie All-Star Banquet (1963 OCT 24)

Check out Tommy & Pete and look in front of them, those are the Topps Rookie All-Star trophies. Before I got interested in the TRAS I didn’t realize that there was a real trophy involved. And hey the icon featured on the cards looks like the trophy. Except that I never realized that the trophy includes a top hat for some reason. There appears to be a larger version of the trophy behind Harper and Rose’s hands. I imagine that is either there as a Topps centerpiece or to honor Pete Rose as NL Rookie of the Year. The hat on that trophy looks like it would big enough for Pete to wear. I am guessing that the two were photographed together since they were Reds teammates at the time.

The rest of the All-Stars can be seen here.

1963 Topps Rookie All-Stars (1963 OCT 24)

Front Row (L->R): Billy Cowan (minor league player of the year), Jimmie Hall, Pete Rose,  Jesse Gonder, Tommy Harper. Back row (L->R): Rusty Staub, Gary Peters, Ray Culp, Vic Davalillo. Not pictured Al Weis.

1963 was the fifth time Topps held TRAS banquet. The event was held on Thursday October 24th 1963 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. There also happened to be another noteworthy baseball event that happened that day in NYC:

1964 Topps #21 Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra got hired as Manager of the New York Yankees. The Yankees made the official announcement at the Savoy Hilton on the South East corner of Central Park. Immediately following the press conference Yogi trekked across the park to the Waldorf and appeared at the Topps Rookie All-Star banquet as a surprise guest.

His remarks included:

“The greatest thrill of my life happened today when I was named manager of the great New York Yankees.”

It would take less than a year for that statement to turn from Bold to Sad as Yogi would be relieved as manager despite leading the Yankees to an AL pennant and pushing Bob Gibson and the Cardinals to 7 games in the World Series.

Other luminaries that attended the banquet were Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg and Frankie Frisch, Topps executives Sy Berger and Joel J. Shorin, and organized baseball representatives such as Frank Shaughnessy, Ed Short, Joe McKenney, and Dave Grote.

Baseball Ambassador Joe Garagiola served as emcee for the event.

In addition to the honoring the Rookie All-Stars, Topps also bestowed the Minor League Player of the Year award to Billy Cowan (Salt Lake City Bees / Cubs). Elston Howard was designated a “Most Value Fellow” by Topps who gave the Yankees catcher and 1963 AL MVP a giant trading card. The card contained the caption “Nice Guys Finish First.”

This is Tommy Harper’s first solo card, he appears on a 4-up in 1963 Topps falling at #158. Solid representation of the 1964 Topps Set, this appears to be a shot taken at Spring Training.  If I was going to complain I would mention that the nameplate at the bottom of the card cuts off Harper’s glove. Otherwise a decent shot, featuring Tommy Harper in the great sleeveless Reds Jersey of the era.

Flip

1964 Topps #330 Tommy Harper (b-side)

The back copy mentions Harper’s TRAS selection along with his minor league run scoring crowns. There is also a general trivia question: Who was the Twins HR King the previous season?  It is exactly who you think it is, Harmon Killebrew who had 45 Homers in 1963. In fact Killebrew has the top 6 Home Run hitting seasons for the Twins and is also tied for 7th: 42 in 1959 (Senators) with Roy Sievers (1957 also Sens) and current Twin Brian Dozier (2016)

1963 Topps Rookie All-Stars

As mentioned this is part 3 of our short series on the 1963 Topps Rookie All-Star team. To see the remainder of the series click the links below:

Part 1: The Cards (Rusty Staub)

Part 2: The Voting (Jesse Gonder w/ Phantom Trophy)

Sources Links

Phungo 1963 Topps Rookie Cup Index

The Sporting News 1963 Nov 9 (Carl Lundquist) and other issues.

The Topps Archive

Baseball Card Database

Getty Images

Baseball-reference

You say you want a revolution…

For me, Topps Now and Upper Deck Documentary are two of the most promising baseball card concepts that I’ve seen in terms of new directions the hobby could take. I love the idea of having one card per game for each team. And I love the idea of using modern printing technology for small print runs and quick product turnarounds. Marrying those two concepts is something I wish Topps Now would do instead of focusing on the usual big market teams and currently-hot stars.

I know I know, the idea of creating up to sixty different cards each day is a significant amount of work. That’s a lot of photos to pick, text to write, designs to compose, proofs to check, etc. etc. with a one-day turnaround. And yes at $10 a pop there’s no way anyone would collect a set of 162 cards for their team.* But the potential is so compelling I can’t help but imagine what it would be like to have such a set growing as the season grows with a photo of each highlight.

*As an aside, what price point would such a set be something worthwhile? Even $1/card feels high when thought of as a set.

Enter Matt Prigge who late last month dropped a tweet about rolling his own version of these and has since committed to doing this all summer. Matt’s using the Rookies App for this and the results look great so far.

Prigge1 Prigge2

The Rookies App has a bunch of different templates that just drop photos into. You can add text to the pre-defined text fields and change some of the colors. But otherwise it’s pretty limited. It is a lot of fun and I’ve played with it a bit for photos of my sons in Little League but for a set like this where the text on the back is kind of important, I suspect that the app might get frustrating since you’re stuck entering all the text on your iPhone.

Matt’s doing a modified documentary set of just highlights. But he’s also doing  a complete roster of everyone who appears for the Brewers this season. He’s sourcing highlight photos for the highlights but he’s not limiting himself to this season for the roster images. I like this idea very much since not every game is a highlight and that sometimes there will be multiple highlights in a single game. Also not all players will have their own highlights but it’s nice for everyone to have a card in a set like this.

Bucs

A bunch of us on Baseball Card Twitter have been inspired to try our own version of this project. Battlin’ Bucs has been doing a set of Pirates cards using his own design inspired by the 1961 Topps World Series subset. He’s taken what’s already a notable subset for Pirates fans and tweaked the colors to be even more Pirates-appropriate.

Battlin’ Bucs is only doing single-sided cards so the fact that this design allows for so much text is a big plus. I suspect that he’s also doing these in a Photoshop template and modifying each layer in his template where appropriate before saving everything as a JPG. He’s also going for a full 162-card set (with fingers crossed for more).

VossbrinkF

Meanwhile I’ve been inspired by 1993 Upper Deck and am doing a set of highlights and a complete roster like what Matt’s doing. I’m creating these in Indesign since I’m too much a text geek to do everything in Photoshop. This is definitely more work that using the Rookies App but it fits my preferences better.

It’s definitely been an interesting start to the season and has changed the way I’m reading game writeups since I’m now on the lookout for good photos from each game. I’m trying to only use photos of the players from this season as well (I’m missing only a few despite the newness of the season) but we’ll see if I can stick to this.

Highlights.indd

The thing about doing all these on my own is that I had to design the backs as well. This was the hardest part of the entire project. I’m pretty satisfied with a line score and one-paragraph writeup. And the Giants even had a 14-inning game to stress test my template to the limit of what it can handle.

By doing fronts and backs I’ve pretty much committed to printing these out. I’m not sure how I’ll be doing that but I’ll probably start with cheap 4″×6″ photo prints that I glue together since that’ll run me 20¢ a card max. If that doesn’t work I’ll figure out something else.

I’m looking forward to seeing how these projects progress over the summer. My fingers are crossed that more bloggers and card twitter people join us since an end-of-season round up of everyone’s sets will be cool to see.

And if anyone else in this community wants to join us but needs help getting started, don’t hesitate to ask. The more the merrier. We don’t need to rely on a company to make the cool yearbook sets that we all see as the promise and potential of Topps Now, we can do it ourselves.

Spanning the Globe to Bring You the Constant Variety of Oddballs

Mincher GI

The very first post I submitted focused on the variety of cards and related memorabilia featuring Don Mincher on the Seattle Pilots. One of the Mincher “cards” was from, arguably, the worst baseball card set ever issued: 1969 Globe Imports mini-playing cards.

My history with the cards dates to the early 1970s, when I bought a set from a liquidation store in Yakima, WA for 25 cents. I can’t remember if the deck was sealed or held together with a rubber band. Over the ensuing 40 years, I lost several, making me nine cards shy of a complete set.

Mcovey

These little “gems” measure 1-5/8” x 2-1/4” and are printed on thin white cardboard. The photos are more akin to photocopies than actual prints. The 52 murky, black and white images have the player’s name at the bottom, but team names are absent. Some players appear on two different suits. The backs are blank, except for a red checked variation.

The two or three of you who have read my past posts know that vintage oddball sets often have mysterious origins: Globe Imports is no exception. I could find no evidence of a location for the company. (Currently, there is a Brooklyn based battery seller with this name that has been in business since 1958. Did they once distribute playing cards?)* The cards lack copywrite information and the name Globe Imports does not appear.

 

 

Many of the photos are identical to the ones used on Sports Illustrated Posters, while some are Topps photo copies. The 2’ x 3’ Sports Illustrated posters — which first appeared in ’68 — had a promotional card corollary that were given away at stores that sold the magazine.  Additionally, a promotional poster — placed in stores –features many of the photos. Did Globe Imports simply pirate the images? Did the producer of the photos sell them to both SI and Globe Imports?

There is some credence to idea that an independent producer sold the photos. Many of the photos — along with Topps copies — are used in a cereal box set issued by Nabisco in ’69. This set has the logos airbrushed but is sanctioned by the MLBPA. The cards came on the back of “Team Flakes” and were distributed in three, eight card panels called mini-posters. The cards are less than two inches tall-suspiciously close Globe Imports size — making them a prime suspect as a copy source.

It wouldn’t be a vintage oddball set without divergent ideas on the year of distribution. The Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards uses the commonly accepted 1969 issue year. However, some collectors believe that a set with MLB logos appeared first in ’68 and the airbrushed version in ’69, while others think ’69 and ’70 are more likely.

Distribution and sales information are other aspects of oddballs that tend to be missing, convoluted or contradictory. One source maintains that the cards were sold at gas stations in the south, while another has vending machines as the source. Of course, the vending machines could have been located at gas stations. Adding to the confusion, a current eBay seller’s description states that the cards are from K-Mart. Retail price and whether the cards were sold as decks-which seems logical-is uncertain.

Honestly, the Globe Imports are so lame that only a true oddball collector of oddballs would even care about the history of this set, let alone collect them. That being said, I’m off to Mayberry, NC to see if Gomer or Goober at Wally’s “fillin’” station still have a few Globe Imports lying around.

 

*My email to the current Globe Imports, inquiring about company history, was not returned.

Sources:

1969 Globe Imports Playing Cards, keymancollectibles.com/baseballcards/miscellaneoussets/1969globeplayingcards.htm.

“1969 Globe Imports Playing Cards.” Zistle, www.zistle.com/library/sets/14520-1969-globe-imports-playing-cards#_overview.

Glidden, Matthew. “Number 5 Type Collection.” 1969 Globe Imports Playing Cards Baseball #5, Willie McCovey, Earl Wilson, Bud Harrelson, Met Stottlemyre, www.number5typecollection.com/2012/06/1969-globe-imports-playing-cards.html.

“Oddball 1960s/70s Pete Rose Cards–Any Info?” Collectors Universe, forums.collectors.com/discussion/956534/oddball-1960s-70s-pete-rose-cards-any-info.

Mueller, Rich. “1969 Nabisco Team Flakes Baseball Cards Kept Kids Crunching.” Sports Collectors Daily, Sports Collectors Daily, 13 Jan. 2018, www.sportscollectorsdaily.com/1969-nabisco-team-flakes-kept-kids-crunching/.

It’s Your Thing (Collect What You Wanna Collect)

Look at this card:

Ryan 152

Now look at this one:

ryan cut

I’m not bothered by off center cards, but nearly miscut cards do irk me (The one that’s miscut on the Koosman side bothers me less than the miscut on the Ryan side). However, and it’s a big however, there is a balance between cost and condition, A card with these corners and well-centered is going to cost at least $100 more. Will I be happy with a Ryan rookie at $150 if it looks like this? I’m not 100% sure but I’m leaning yes.

Maybe it’s a residual of my pack opening years that makes me unaffected by off-center cards. If I gave you an opened pack of 1975 Topps, the odds of pulling a full 10 well centered cards would be a million to one.  But, they’d all be sharp as hell, razor tight corners, beautiful color and gloss, and fine by me.

That works in my favor because in this graded world where centering has a regal place, I can get discounts. My pal Jimmy is a stickler for centering. He preferred this card:

Aaron VG

to this one:

1976 Aaron front099

He said that might sound insane to me, and it does, but the disparate criteria we all bring to the hobby and what we collect is part of the joy. Over at Baseball Card Freaks on Facebook, Bailey Walsh has posted and commented on what he calls his “PSA 1 Project.” He has his criteria (which I want him to write about for this blog), but what he doesn’t mind is interesting – a staple hole, some gunk, marks on the back, etc. He just got this card and, I have to say, it’s lovely.

PSA1

Now I don’t know if I could handle a PSA 1, though if it was raw I wouldn’t know it was PSA 1. That made me think hard about what grading means. It has skewed our view of a nice card in ways that are, for me, anathema to the fun of collecting and how we view what is, or isn’t a nice card.

Those of you in the hobby for a long time will remember Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen. Rosen garnered a well-deserved reputation for making huge finds of unopened material. When the grading boom began, he wrote something that stuck with me. If he were to hand you a fresh pack of 1952 Topps, by the system we use, all the cards in that unopened pack are presumed minute. True, right? They went from the factory to the pack to some kid’s hands.

Yet, if you opened this pack of mint cards, they became not mint and if you pulled a pristine Mantle rookie that had 80/20 centering, well, you were screwed. It would only be an 8. How can that really be true and how can that hypothetical Mantle card have lost value upon its reveal? It’s bizarre.

Furthermore all of us seem to love most dearly the cards we collected in our youth and prize those above what we purchased later on. When I recently went through my 1975 set, I was thrilled about how nice they were AND how some were cut less than perfectly. Didn’t bother me one bit.

I have nothing earthshattering to say here. To each his own is not a profound thought. Still, I marvel at what bothers some and doesn’t bother others and how we are told now what makes a great card and what makes an OK card. It’s nonsense.

I can tell you one thing – writing this post is likely to make me buy a way off center Ryan rookie that looks like it came right out of a pack and I’m going to be damn happy about it!

Talking Sheet(s)

I’ve always been a box guy – they stack easily, protect corners, are easy to label and easy to find. With finite space for card storage, boxes are the most efficient way to go; least costly too.

I haven’t been a purist on this. Non-standard sized cards, from the small (1949 Bowman baseball) to the large (the assorted Topps basketball), inevitably had to be housed in sheets and albums. Otherwise they sat in shoeboxes, shifting with each movement of their container, potentially dinging corners. One can’t have that.

Then, as I began completing some older sets, it became clear to me that sheets were the way to go. It became too unwieldly to pull out a box of 1970 baseball, of course positioned in the middle of a stack of 4 or 5 boxes, then pull out all the cards to place, say, #596 Mike Hershberger, in its rightful place. Having the cards in sheets made life a bit easier.

I’ll have to admit I got a  bit  hooked on sheets and albums and thought, “Hmm, maybe I have complete sets that would be better suited for albums and take up the same space as boxes.” A spreadsheet ensued. Conclusion: over time I’d put my 1970’s era Topps Hockey and Basketball in sleeves. (Not football. Most 1970’s sets aren’t very nice.)

This mini-project has provided an enormous amount of fun, maybe 1 ½-2 hours to fill 70 or so sheets. For a cost of $20-25 for a box of 100 Ultra-Pro 9-pockets and an album, I get solid entertainment. That’s good bang for the buck.

Not only to I get to rediscover old sets I haven’t looked at in years, I also get great Twitter content. This 1975 Topps hockey page stirred some emotions.

IMG_3482

Still, I’m not completely sold on the idea of shifting to sheets and albums. There are too many cards to move and, since I store albums flat, rather than upright, I run out of room fast. (I’ve never liked storing albums like books. Seems to me the pages would droop below the bottom edge of the binder and dent. Thoughts?)

I’m likely to be all done after a few more albums, unless I buy an old complete set that either comes in sheets or needs to be put in them. I’m a partial convert, partial because there’s still nothing better than to have cards in hand, rather than in vinyl. That can’t be beat.

Smile! You’re on Candid Camera (Part 2)

kaat

The 1962 Topps parade of men with goofy expressions and inept airbrushing is too vast for one post. Like Jim Kaat, you are probably thinking: “what the fu## is going on here?” Unperturbed, I plunge ahead with a look at more of the “curling bills” posted on the wood grain paneling.

chacon

Poor Elio Chacon was plucked off the defending NL champion roster by the Mets in the expansion draft. Topps crack airbrush specialist attempted to change his red sleeves to Mets blue by adding blue paint. This results in one green sleeve. The fact that the great Frank Robinson is in the background rendered the whole charade moot anyway.

Craig

Based on his wry smile, Roger Craig probably came up with the phrase “hum baby,” just as this shot was snapped.

The editors couldn’t decide whether Lee Walls had a “good side,” so they went with both left and right gazes.

Tebbetts

Birdie Tebbetts appears to be saying: “Hold it, what happened to my uniform lettering?

Gernert  

Dick Gernert’s age was calculated in dog years. In his ten-year career to this point, Dick aged from 20 to 65. This happened to many players who toiled for the Red Sox in the ‘50s.

koplitz

The oldest rookie in Major League history was Howie Koplitz. The only thing the 70-year old lost more of than teeth was games.

chiti

Harry Chiti is not amused as a fan loudly pronounces his name as “shitty” for the umpteenth time.

The second-year LA Angels needed their own “uni-browed” player to compete with the Dodgers beloved Wally Moon. Ken Hunt fit the bill.

minoso

In a case of complete shock, Minnie Minoso discovers that he is now in the NL with St. Louis.

woodeshick

Without comment, I leave you with Hal Woodeschick.

 

Smile! You’re on Candid Camera (Part 1)

Every Topps set from the ‘50s to the ‘70s is filled with questionable photo selections.  Many of the photos are so bad that one wonders if the editors selected them as an inside joke. More likely, the cost of film and processing meant photographers needed to conserve shots, resulting in a limited selection. Another explanation could simply be that baseball cards were for kids to collect and not thought of as works of art. In any case, the result is many memorable, quirky photos that will never again be part of the hobby.

1962 is loaded with “head shots,” due partly to the need to depict players on the expansion Mets and Colt .45’s. Channeling my inner Allen Funt, I will use this set to take a two-part look at some cardboard from the year of my birth.

Mantle

Apparently, the early ‘60s photographers decided that “head shots” would be more interesting if the players weren’t looking directly at the camera. This artistic approach worked spectacularly well in the case of this iconic Mickey Mantle pose (which is used on the ’68 game card as well).

62 craft

This concept didn’t work so well when the subject failed to grasp the need to turn the head, not just the eyes. Harry Craft, manager of the newly minted Colt ‘45s, appears not quite grasp the concept in this shot taken while coaching for the Cubs.

Ashburn

Future Hall-of-Fame inductee, Richie Ashburn, was already suffering the indignity of joining the ’62 Mets when Topps piled on with this beauty.

“Paranoia strikes deep” in the minds of Don Lee and Sam Jones. Apparently, something might be gaining on them.

Don Cardwell and Dick Stigman decided that somnambulism is the way to go for the most photogenic effect.

A bad hair day for George Whit and John Anderson was no impediment for the photographer.

The great Rocky Colavito and Bob Oldis appear to be experiencing confusion or angst. Perhaps “Trader” Lane walked by.

Existential sadness or clinical depression grips Barry Latman and Tracy Stallard. Latman is undoubtedly melancholy over having to play in Cleveland, while Stallard’s sadness stems from having recurring dreams of some guy with a crew cut and the number 61.

Thomas

Since the prospect of part-two is probably generating great anger in some of you, I’ll close with the pent- up rage of George Thomas bubbling to the surface.