Is Bob Oldis the Answer to a Baseball Card Trivia Question?

“Every team needs a Bob Oldis.

Joe L. Brown, Pittsburgh Pirates’ General Manager, 1956-1976

1963 Topps Card #404

I met Bob Oldis in January of 2010 in Bradenton, Florida at the Pittsburgh Pirates Fantasy Camp. I was at the camp as a fan, not one of the players.

Since 2010 was the 50th anniversary of the Pirates winning the World Series a number of other players from the 1960 team were at the Fantasy Camp including Bob Friend, Vern Law, Bill Mazeroski, Bill Virdon, Bob Skinner, and Joe Gibbon.

I am a diehard Pirate fan, but I have to admit that was not aware that Bob Oldis was member of the 1960 team prior to attending the camp.

Bob was the third string catcher for the 1960 Pirates team and played in 22 games during the season. He collected 4 hits in 20 at bats for an average of .200. Bob did see action in the 1960 World Series coming in as defensive replacement in the 4th and 5th games. The Pirates won both of these games at Yankee Stadium.

I had advance information that some of the 1960 Pirates were going to be at 2010 camp, so I brought some pictures from the 1960’s with me for autographs. One was a picture of the Pirates lined up on the field before one of World Series games. When I showed the picture to Bob, he said – “That’s the first time I have seen that picture.” I told him – “You are in the picture someplace.” Bob’s reply was – “I don’t think so. I was in the bullpen.”

All the former players that I have met at various Fantasy Camps appear to be having a good time. However, at this camp Bob was clearly enjoying the experience. He was even helping some of the fans get autographs of some of the other former Pirates in attendance.

In February of 2019 I wrote a letter to Bob recounting our meeting in 2010 and asking him to sign his 1961 Topps card and also a custom card that I made that had a picture of the both of us at the camp. He signed both and sent me back a nice note.

Autographed 1961 Topps Card #149

I had seen several bloggers post Player Collection Spotlight pieces and thought that a Spotlight on Bob would be interesting. However, when I was researching his baseball cards online, I noticed that there was a 5-year gap between when Topps issued his 1955 card and his 1960 card. At first I thought I missed something, but upon digging into Bob’s career a little more he did indeed play in the minors for 4 seasons starting in 1955 with no call ups to the majors until 1960.

1955 Topps Card #169
1960 Topps Card #361

Gapper Definition

In doing some further research into players with gaps between when their cards were issued, I came across the Gappers blog post on the Night Owl Cards site from 2017. In the post Gappers are defined as “players who have disappeared off cards for a least three years and then returned.” The post also states that players that “didn’t come to a contract agreement with Topps…aren’t true gappers.”

The Gappers post focuses on players from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Vincente Romo is cited as the player with the largest gap. Topps issued a card of Vincente in 1983. His previous card was in issued in 1975. A gap of 8 years!

Baseball Card Trivia Question

So, my baseball card trivia question is……

Question: What major league player is the first gapper? (Gapper defined above)

Answer: Bob Oldis (1955 Topps card and 1960 Topps card) – I think. There are many of you out there who know a lot more about baseball cards than I do, so please weigh in by way of a comment. Is Bob Oldis the correct answer?

Bonus Question: What major league player has the biggest gap between his standard Topps player card and his Topps manager card.

Answer: Tom Lasorda (Topps 54 player card and 1973 Topps manager card) – I think.

1954 Topps Baseball Archives #132

19 thoughts on “Is Bob Oldis the Answer to a Baseball Card Trivia Question?”

    1. Hi Tim – Thanks! Wally Wolf – I can’t get that name out of my head. That should be name of a cartoon character. I looked him up. He did play in the majors for the Angels in 1969 and 1970.

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  1. Actually, Tommy Lasorda’s first manager card is the Topps 1978 #189. So, his gap is 5 years longer. I have all the Topps issued manager cards in case you need some other information. BTW, I should apologize to Bob Oldis because I have gone on record in the past as making fun of his sad looking face on his 1961 Topps card. Sorry, Bob. Regards, Donn

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    1. Donn – My bad. You are correct. Tommy did appear (headshot only) as a coach on Walt Alston’s 1973 and 1974 Topps manager cards. His headshot was also inserted into the 1977 Topps Dodgers Team Checklist card.

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  2. Among players exclusively, outfielder/pitcher Danny Murphy matches Wally Wolf in length and exactly the same years: He had his own Topps card as a Cubs outfielder in the 1963 set; then showed again, after he had converted to pitching, with the White Sox in the 1970 set.

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  3. Looked him up. Danny is from Beverly, MA and graduated from St. John’s Prep. Both places are about 45 minutes from my doorstep. Closed out his career with the Red Sox’s Triple A team.

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  4. As said in the comments on my Gappers post, Dan Boone may have the longest period between cards as a player, appearing in 1982 sets and then not again until 1991 Score. That’s nine years, one more than Romo.

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  5. Daniel Bard will likely not set the gapper record (depends upon what “counts” as a set), but his last Topps issue was in 2013 Topps Update. His last base set Topps issue was in 2012. He doesn’t have a card in any 2020 issues other than a Topps Now card, but as he was NL Comeback Player of the Year perhaps he’ll have a card in 2021 Topps. I’m assuming Topps Update counts but Topps Now doesn’t.

    I had to look up Dan Boone. While the back of his 1991 Score card confirms that he is 7th generation related to Daniel Boone, it also lists him as a rookie prospect. Maybe a 36-year-old lefty knuckleballer is a rookie prospect, but in the same year as that Score card he also had a 1991 Pacific Senior League card. For those of you who don’t remember, there was a short-lived (two, maybe three years) Senior League circuit during the winter in Florida, playing out of what I think was mostly spring training/Florida State League ballparks. The Score card mentions that the Orioles signed him after seeing him pitch in the Senior League.

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  6. Re: Bob Oldis
    Please excuse my typo, Hayden Fry era. Great years for Iowa football.
    His brother Phil, ran his own business in Iowa City and was a big supporter of Iowa football.

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