Friday, October 23, 2009

1980 TCMA Wichita Aeros #5, Bill Hayes

TCMA specialized in 2 kinds of 70s and 80s releases, vintage team salutes and minor leaguers. This set's solidly in the latter category and profiles an American Association franchise that lasted from 1970 to 1984, when it moved to Buffalo and became the Bisons. At this set's issue, they were a Cubs AAA affiliate.

Card front

Today's guest played exactly 5 games in the big leagues, all as a Cub, and collected 2 hits in 9 ABs. He also fielded 11 chances without an error. These minimal stats belie a lifetime of commitment, as Bill's now in his 4th decade of pro ball. Currently bullpen catcher for the Giants, also breaks down his 15 years of minor league management experience from 1988 to 2002.

TCMA sets don't stand out for design, as they're really about getting local teams onto cards for fans as cheaply as possible. (I.e., no re-takes for squinty guys like Bill.) With predictably small print runs, collectors can search for a long time for individual players, and often purchase a full team set to get one guy. The 1980 Aeros checklist includes former save king Lee Smith, so will cost more than average.

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