Card front (blank back)
Being 1972, this isn't Jose Lopez, the former Seattle (and now Colorado) infielder. Instead, it's Jose Angel Lopez, a Venezuelan native who spent 7 years in the Houston and St. Louis farm systems (minor stats at B-R.com). It was nigh-impossible for fans to track multi-country prospects in those days, but MLB.com now gathers off-season pro ball in five countries under their Winter League home page umbrella. These links alone all taught me things I didn't know.
- Vinny Castilla announced his full retirement after 21 (!) seasons as a pro
- Most winter leagues are in playoffs now and 2011's Caribbean Series starts Feb 7
- Track your favorite MLB team's prospects on the Winter League Statistics page
Aqua on yellow? Must be 1972 Topps
Venezuela loves baseball with a capital "L" and local leagues printed their own cards as far back as 1916. Many post-war designs crib directly from Topps American sets or follow them in spirit. Their 1972 issue took a stab at the psychedelic look, with high-contrast borders and player name on the bottom edge. (Card numbers move to the front, since they're really blank-backed stamps destined for mounting in team albums.) The excellent Caribbean card site CubanBall.com hosts a more-or-less complete gallery of past Venezuelan sets.
Value: Mr. Lopez cost $10 on eBay a few years ago. Venezuelan cards are affordable if you avoid the big league stars.
Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen many foreign fakes in the market and it'd be tough to make money reprinting 1970s Latin American sets.