Monday, October 5, 2009

1966 Topps Baseball #5, Jim Fregosi

In the expansion-era 1960s, large numbers of players changed teams by trade or draft. Only a few true superstars put on new uniforms during the decade, but suitcases of lesser men rarely collected dust. These changing tides caused trouble for Topps, who took photos mostly during spring training to cut down on travel costs.

Topps tried to stay current by taking at least 2 close photos of each player during spring training, 1 with hat and another without. (A few even got "half and half.") Should they get a new address mid-season, collectors would receive a hairstyle instead of a cap on the ensuing card. (Hey, it's not the right team, but at least it's not the wrong team.)

Card front

Jim played every day for the Angels in 1965, so why this hatless photo on a 1966 card? Known as "Los Angeles" in 1964, they became "California" in 1965, perhaps to escape the Dodgers' shadow and appeal to a geographically larger audience. This new name meant new logos, uniforms, and caps. Unfortunately, Topps didn't "catch up" until 1967.

I nominate 1966 "lamest year to collect Angels cards."

With an excellent first decade in the books, what became of Mr. Fregosi? Unfortunately, knee injuries cut Jim's post-1970 production significantly and his last major "contribution" as a player (for Angel fans) is this transaction.

"December 10, 1971: Traded by the California Angels to the New York Mets for Frank Estrada, Don Rose, Nolan Ryan and Leroy Stanton."

Card back

Based on the card text, it looks like "hit for the cycle" wasn't commonplace until after 1966, since Topps enumerated all 4 hits for Jim's feat on July 28, 1964. (He accomplished it once more in 1968, the middle year of 5 straight All-Star game appearances.)

UPDATE: Check out Fregosi's OPC card for an interesting story about the end of his playing career and only game as a second baseman.

Value: Singles of non-superstars from the 1960s cost a dollar or two.

Fakes / reprints: Fregosi might turn up in a retro set, since he saw success as both player and manager. I doubt anyone would reprint his cards specifically.


Anonymous said...

The Lopez-May-Roof hatless card can be explained as follows: Lopez is in a Phillies uni, Roof is in a Braves uni and May is more than likely in a White Sox uni.

Matthew Glidden said...

Good point, and thanks for doing research legwork on the 1965 hatless card.