Poor Little Lamb

Indians Album

In exchange for whacking down the weeds that constitute his yard, my neighbor will periodically reward me with memorabilia. Recently, he gave me a 1971 Cleveland Indians Dell Stamp album. The stamps are uncut and in excellent shape. As a kid, I was only able to acquire the All-Star version, so I was quite pleased to receive a team album. The image on one of stamps is so unique that I felt compelled to post my discovery.

Ray Lamb Dell Stamp

In blog posts and on Twitter, many of us have commented on the bad airbrushed photos Topps churned out in the ‘70s. One of the Indians stamps may be the worst altered photo in the history memorabilia production. Ray Lamb’s stamp appears to have been drawn by an elementary student. It is probably a bad colorization attempt of a black-and-white photo from his Dodgers days. In any event, you would be hard pressed to find a more amateurish alteration.

Lamb 72

Not to be outdone by Dell, Topps produced a hideous airbrushed photo of Ray in ’72. Obviously, he is in a Dodger uniform with the wishbone C painted on. Never mind the fact that the Indians have never worn royal blue caps. Why Topps decided to reach back into achieves is a mystery, since they produced a nice shot of Lamb in ’71, decked out in the short-lived pinstriped uniform.

Ray Lamb 71 Topps

The Trading Card Data Base and the Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards consider the Dell stamps to be cards. This is one of many examples of collectibles that are not truly cards being lumped into the card category. I’m interested in soliciting opinions on what constitutes a baseball card. Excepting inserts-which accompany cards-my feeling is a product can only be a card if printed on card stock. Perhaps we can engage in a Twitter conversation around this topic.

Incidentally, Jeff Katz did a post a few months back offering expert analysis of the Dell stamps and albums.


Author: Tim Jenkins

Sports memorablilia collector with Seattle teams emphasis. HOF autographs, baseball cards and much more. Teacher for over 30 years. Attended games at 35 different MLB parks.

6 thoughts on “Poor Little Lamb”

  1. The most restrictive use of the term “baseball card” (which I have insisted upon when in the right/wrong mood) is: card stock, photo on the front, useful information about the player on the back. Tobacco cards are “photo cards”. Same with Hostess, etc.

    This is not to say that other items are not interesting, or not valuable, or not part of my own collection. But I find value/solace in using the term this way. Alternatively someone could convince me to use a different term, but I have yet to find it.


    1. Does your definition include any size limits? I kind of feel like 5″x7″ is right there on the edge myself but I enjoy pushing the grey areas when thinking about whether or not something feels like a baseball card.


    2. What about something like the 2000 Skybox Autographics set? Clearly meets the first two criteria (card stock, photo on the front) but the back of the card has no real information about the player. They were available in packs of Fleer/Skybox products.


      There are, of course, plenty of other modern inserts that fall into that same category.


  2. There was a similar hand-drawn stamp of Roberto Rodriguez of the Cubs. I thought, Really??? You could not find one picture? 😉


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