Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Here's the Ultimate out-dated photo

Title: Is the photo on the 1969 Topps Tommie Aaron card the most out-dated that Topps ever used?

Below is the a copy of my letter that was published in the July 9, 2010 'Feedback" section of Sport's Collectors Digest.  Since writing the letter, I was able to find a 1969 Topps Autographed Tommie Aaron card and add it to my collection.  I also noticed that Topps used a closer crop of the same photo on the 1963 card as they used on the 1969 card.  Tommies' 1963 Topps cards  verifies my theory that the picture was taken in 1962.

I really enjoyed reading Keith Olbermann’s comments in the June 18th edition of SCD on the 1969 Topps article written by T.S. O’Connell and contributed to by yours truly.  Keith was able to date the photo on Chris Short’s 1969 Topps Baseball Card to either 1962 or 1963 because of the Polo Grounds scoreboard in the background.  Very well done, Keith.

As a life long fan of the 1969 Topps set, it made me wonder what is the oldest photograph used on a card in the 1969 Topps set?  Although Short’s photo may have been taken during the 1962 season, the earliest photo that I could identify with absolute certainty in the 1969 Topps set was card #128 of Tommie Aaron. 1962 was Tommie Aaron’s rookie year and also the last year that the Braves wore the uniform with the ‘Tomahawk” across the chest.

This means that Topps definitely used a seven year old photo for this card! To my knowledge, this is a record for any card in any Topps vintage set.  Topps seems to have sunk to their lowest point of using out-dated photos in the 1969 set.

What makes this even more interesting to me is that the oldest photo is on Tommie Aaron’s card.  I truly felt sorry for Hank’s kid brother.  This poor guy just could not seem to catch a break.

If I am correct about this 7 year old picture being a record for Topps, Tommie is now the dubious answer to a second obscure trivia question.  (The other being, “What brothers hold the major league record for the most combined career Home Runs with 768?”)

Tommie was top prospect and very good minor league player.  He was the International League MVP and led the Richmond Braves to a league pennant in 1967. In the majors, Tommie could not escape the shadow of his brother.  In 7 major league seasons, he hit only 13 home runs with a .229 batting average.  Much worse, Tommie died of leukemia in 1984 at the very young age of 45.

As an unthinking 5 year old kid, I can remember looking at the stats on the back of Tommie’s card and asking my father, “How can this guy’s brother be such a great player and this guy be so bad?”  Evidently, I was not the only person to ask this question.  Nor was my Dad the only person that could not answer it.

Hank Aaron was quoted in The Sporting News (April 8, 1999) as saying, "He (Tommie) meant a lot to me. I think if he played with another ball club, I think he probably would have had a better major league career. The media was always comparing us. I'm sure, by me being successful, it put a lot of pressure on him. He couldn't play up to his potential."

I am fairly confident that Tommie’s is the oldest photo used in the 1969 set.  Topps may have used an older photo in some other vintage set, but no other card comes to mind.

To make this interesting, I will give a $50 Gift Certificate to the first person who can show convincing evidence that Topps used an older picture (for a regular player card) in any of their vintage (pre-1974) sets.

If you are interested in more information on my 1969 Topps Autographed set, I have posted a You Tube Video and a slideshow of each of the scans of the cards in my autographed set at Enjoy.



Owner of

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dean’s Autographed 1969 Topps baseball card set

What does the owner of Dean's Cards collect for fun? This year it is the 1969 Topps Baseball card set - completely autographed. I have posted the set online so everyone can enjoy it. Please click here to view the Autographed 1969 Topps baseball card set.

The mailman just delivered the June 4th copy of the Sports Collectors Digest. The cover story and featured set is this issue is my personal favorite – the 1969 Topps Set. T.S O’Connell was kind enough to ask me to help contribute to his 1969 Topps baseball card article.

SCD also published a short article my me about my 1969 Topps autographed set. It was a total surprise to me. Please feel free to check it out.

Since I also write about vintage sets, I look forward to T.S.’s set articles. No one does a better job writing about vintage sets than T.S. If you do not subscribe to SCD, you may want to check out T.S.’s 1969 Topps Article online.

I am not sure that I will ever get the set completed, but it sure has been fun. I have posted scans of the partially completed 1969 Topps Baseball Card set online for everyone’s enjoyment.

Six of my favorite 1969 Topps autographed cards include:

#95 Johnny Bench’s Topps All-Star Rookie Card signed in pen. This is my personal favorite of all of Bench's cards. Take notice of the #55 on his jersey. The uniform that Bench is wearing is the home jersey that the Reds wore up through the 1966 season. This photograph was most likely taken in spring training of 1966 when Bench was 18 years old.

#147 Leo Durocher - I admire the time and care that Leo took in signing the card. Leo was once described as the “most hated man in baseball”. Although “Leo the Lip” looks fairly tame on his 1969 card, he was known for his combative nature. As a player, Leo would constantly get into fist fights with players, umpires and fans.  (To Leo's credit, he never came to blows with the peanut vendor.)  In 1969, his Cubs were in 1st place by 5 games on Sept 1st. The Cubs went 8-17 during the month and finished 8 games behind the Mets. Someday, after everyone that knew him personally is dead and gone, Leo may make it into the Hall-of-Fame.

# 215 Rico Petrocelli – A nice pen signature. Rico had his career in 1969 and set an AL record with most HR’s by a Shortstop with 40. His fielding average that year was a .981, so he could not have been that bad of a fielder.  The poor guy only finished 7th in voting for the MVP. Great year Rico!

#260 Reggie Jackson – Look at this signature! I love (hate) this card, because it seems to go with everything that we read and hear about this guy. Who else (Willie Mays excluded) would have the guts to deface his expensive rookie card with a signature like this? I guess that they were not paying Reggie enough money at this particular show. That said, Jackson did have a great year in 1969. The 23 year old Jackson hit 47 HR’s and had 118 RBI’s.

#601 Tug McGraw – You can’t talk about 1969, without including at least one of the 1969 Amazing Mets. The 24 year old McGraw had a break out year in 1969 and helped the Mets pull off a major upset. Up to that point, the Mets would not let him throw the screwball. I am missing quite a few of the Mets 1969 Topps autographed cards from my set. It is not that they are hard to find. They are not. There have been many cards shows featuring this team. They are expensive!

#573 Jim Palmer -  This was my favorite card as a kid. I always wore my index finger outside my glove because of this card. Most fans do not realize that Palmer's carreer was considered finished. Jim hurt his arm in 1967 and did not pitch in the majors in 1968. He was left unprotected for the first two rounds of the 1969 expansion draft, but even these start-up teams were afraid to take a chance on him. Palmer bounced back and went 16-4 with a 2.34 ERA in 1969 and was on his way to the Hall-of-Fame.

I currently have 546 cards autographed by different players, with 134 more to obtain. 42 of the players that appear in the 1969 Topps set are currently in the Baseball Hall-of-Fame and 116 are now deceased.  Click Here to view the whole 1969 Topps autographed set.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

1969 Topps Baseball Card Autograph Set - Wantlist

Here's my want list for 1969 Topps autographed cards. They need to be authenticated. Please let me know if you have any of the cards on the list below and maybe we can work something out with a Dean’s Cards store credit. My e-mail address is

16 Rookie Stars
Cesar Gutierrez RC
Rich Robertson RC
17 Mike Marshall
31 Rookie Stars
Gary Gentry RC
40 Mayo Smith MG
46 Fritz Peterson
48 Brant Alyea
49 Rookie Stars
Steve Jones
Ellie Rodriquez
50 Roberto Clemente
62 Chico Salmon
65 Willie Davis
66 Rookie Stars
Mike Adamson RC
80 Norm Cash
82 Rookie Stars
93 Joe Foy
99 Rookie Stars
Danny Morris RC
Graig Nettles RC
100 Hank Aaron
106 Jim Hannan
114 Rookie Stars
119 Doug Rader
128 Tommie Aaron
130 Carl Yastrzemski
131 Chris Cannizzaro
136 Rookie Stars
138 John Bateman
144 Bob Hendley
156 Rookie Stars
Leon McFadden RC
159 Jerry Adair
173 Rookie Stars
Bob Christian RC
178 Ray Oyler
184 Roberto Pena
189 Rookie Stars
John Thibodeau RC
197 Dick Selma
200 Bob Gibson
202 Don Wilson
206 Rookie Stars
Barry Lersch RC
222 Duane Josephson
223 Tom Dukes
224 Rookie Stars
Bill Harrelson RC
240 Ken Harrelson
244 Rookie Stars
George Woodson RC
257 Jim Ray
262 Mike Kekich
263 Jerry May
266 Rookie Stars
273 Ron Willis
284 Rookie Stars
Jerry Robertson RC
297 Deron Johnson
299 Mark Belanger
300 Felipe Alou
304 Rookie Stars
Bill Davis
Clarence Gaston RC
305 Dick McAuliffe
308 Wade Blasingame
311 Sparky Lyle RC
324 Rookie Stars
329 Rick Joseph
331 Rookie Stars
339 Rookie Stars
Steve Mingori RC
Jose Pena RC
340 Dave McNally
341 Dave Adlesh
342 Bubba Morton
343 Dan Frisella
350 Richie Allen
358 Rookie Stars
George Lauzerique RC
Roberto Rodriquez
367 Lou Johnson
372 Adolfo Phillips
373 Fred Lasher
376 Rookie Stars
379 Ken Boyer
386 Jim McGlothlin
389 Dan Coombs
392 Bob Burda RC
393 Gene Brabender
394 Rookie Stars
Lou Piniella
403 Bob Miller
404 Rookie Stars
409 Bob Moose
439 Rookie Stars
448 Bob Tolan
452 Al Ferrara
454 Rookie Stars
458 Curt Blefary
461 Mike Epstein
468 Rookie Stars
469 Chico Ruiz
476 Rookie Stars
477 Jeff James RC
480 Tom Seaver
484 Joe Gordon MG
488 Joe Sparma
491 Rookie Stars
Jerry Crider RC
492 Tony Cloninger
499 Rookie Stars
500 Mickey Mantle
502 Minnie Rojas
512 Cleon Jones
519 Rookie Stars
524 Rookie Stars
530 Cesar Tovar
531 Dick Farrell
533 Nolan Ryan
536 Rookie Stars
Danny Breeden RC
Dave Roberts RC
538 Charlie Smith
540 Curt Flood
541 Joe Verbanic
543 Fred Newman
544 Rookie Stars
Ron Woods RC
545 Willie Stargell
552 Rookie Stars
Bill Sudakis RC
553 Ron Davis
556 A's Stars
Bert Campaneris
557 Frank Fernandez
559 Rookie Stars
Joe Hague RC
564 Gil Hodges MG
567 Rookie Stars
571 Cap Peterson
572 Giants Heroes
575 Bill Singer
576 Rookie Stars
584 Don Mason
585 Ron Swoboda
588 Bill White
589 Joe Pepitone
592 Rookie Stars
Rafael Robles RC
597 Rookie Stars
Bob Floyd RC
Larry Burchart RC
599 John Boozer
602 Rookie Stars
Alec Distaso RC
604 Bobby Etheridge
610 Jim Hardin
611 Rookie Stars
Bob Didier RC
Gary Neibauer RC
614 Rookie Stars
618 Ramon Webster
619 Rookie Stars
Juan Rios RC
623 Hank Allen
624 Rookie Stars
628 Rookie Stars
Fred Wenz RC
630 Bobby Bonds RC
637 Rookie Stars
Jerry DaVanon RC
639 Barry Moore
641 Rookie Stars
Bobby Darwin RC
John Miller
Tommy Dean RC
645 George Brunet
646 Rookie Stars
650 Ted Williams MG
651 Gus Gil
654 Rookie Stars
Carlos May RC
Don Secrist RC
658 Rookie Stars
659 Johnny Podres
660 Reggie Smith
662 Rookie Stars