Cleon Jones, 1969 All-Star and key member of the Miracle Mets (series highlights at SABR
), made his first oddball set appearance in these Topps posters (a.k.a., All-Star Pin-Ups
), which the company inserted singly into 1967 wax packs as late-season enticements for kids. O-Pee-Chee replicated this promotion for their own release in 1968, so Cleon got a second trip to the plate.
Fitting the 5"x7" poster size next to regular cards meant folding them into quarters; the detailed scan shows light creases at the mid-points. T.C.G.
is Topps Chewing Gum on that tagline and PTD. IN CANADA
draws a line in the snow between O-Pee-Chee and Topps posters. For unknown reasons (editor mistake?), O-Pee-Chee used the same players, but changed their numbers. Cleon got lucky #13 in the U.S.A. version.
There's a lot going on here for such a straight-forward photo. First off, Cleon is one of just 32 posters, rubbing shoulders with superstars like Mantle, Mays, and Yaz (full visual checklist
). And speaking of baseball royalty, that's all-timer Yogi Berra in Mets uniform on the right border. His appearance as a coach helps date the photo to 1965, as does the New York World's Fair patch on Cleon's sleeve, which the team wore from 1964-65 (more uniform info at Ultimate Mets
). Final confirmation comes from the fragment of 3 (from #34) on his back, which Cleon ditched for #21 in 1966.
|1964-65 Mets World's Fair sleeve patch|
Cleon's the only Mets player in this poster set, perhaps by virtue of being an All-Star Rookie on 1967 Topps #165. The 1967 Topps blog rightly critiqued several of the publisher's checklist choices
, but available photo quality--key for a 5"x7" release--likely drove player selection.
As mentioned above, Topps published their posters in 1967 (American set profile of #5 Carl Yastrzemski
) and OPC replicated them in 1968. Canada's release schedule competed with hockey & CFL seasons, which left little time for multiple baseball series (and local fans were still a year away from the debut of Montreal's Expos).
Given these other commitments, I assume OPC baseball posters went into wax packs right away, instead of using Topps' strategy as late-season perks.
I found Cleon for $.50 at a show table. Lesser-known singles cost a dollar or so, but stars like Clemente and Mantle can exceed $10.
Fakes / reprints:
In addition to the full set, Topps reportedly made some sticker-back proofs with the same design, but somewhat smaller. I've seen collectors mention Clemente specifically, which would be quite a find.