Friday, October 16, 2009

1976 Laughlin Diamond Jubilee #5, Frank Robinson

I think Frank Robinson loves baseball more than Cheez-Its love orange food coloring. Already one of the all-time best players, he took over as player-manager for Cleveland in 1975, helmed four different franchises prior to retirement in 2006, and continues work as an MLB executive. If any man deserves a special subset of career highlights, it's Frank.

Today's card highlights Robinson's debut as Cleveland's manager on April 8, 1975. Slotting himself at DH, Frank homered off Doc Medich in the first inning, a game Cleveland won 5-3 over the Yankees. (Gaylord Perry pitched the complete game win; he and older brother Jim Perry both started the year as Indians, but departed by mid-season trades to Texas and Oakland, respectively.)

Card front

This oddball set's another self-published effort by baseball artist Bob Laughlin. It celebrated the American League's 75th Anniversary with a 32-card profile of significant moments in its history. (Only one year removed from his managerial debut, Frank's probably the most recent.) Player poses come from familiar photos, re-drawn and cast into primary colors reminiscent of the 1948 Leaf sets.

Card back

Value: I've seen this set on oddball tables for ~$80 at shows. It includes lots of Hall-of-Fame players and individual cards run $1 to $10.

Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any fakes in the marketplace and it seems unlikely, given the set's low profile.

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