Monday, August 19, 2013

Favorite Variations and World Wide Winner

Thanks for nominating great variations and permutations in my final 2013 National Wrap-Up! I'll run down each choice, add my own favorite to the end, and pick a winner for 1934 World Wide Gum #5.

1. Gil Hodges Passes Away

Sean Langon started with a card of significance to many, the 1972 Topps & O-Pee-Chee Gil Hodges.

1972 O-Pee-Chee #465 Gil Hodges (with note)

GCRL compared the Topps/OPC versions on his blog, but the short story is OPC must've edited their set later, so added a tag to let young collectors know why Hodges wasn't on the field anymore.

My dad's a big fan of the Dodgers and loved Hodges and Brooklyn's other Boys of Summer. Gil passed away the day before I was born, making it easy to link childhood stories to baseball and vice-versa.

2. Upper Deck Flips Dale Murphy

Classon of Adventures in 1952 Topps picked an infamous early Upper Deck chase card, the reversed Dale Murphy.

1989 Upper Deck #357, Dale Murphy (correct & reversed)

Radicards discussed the collecting environment that led people to buy pack after pack, hoping to score a well-known error that might've been intentional. The chase for errors and rookies eventually pushed companies to create parallels and other subsets for every issue, rather than depend on collectors themselves to find and hype company "mistakes." However Murphy's card happened, it's a stepping stone to today's collecting environment.

3. Billy Ripken

Some cards grow to outshine a player's own career, even guys with Hall of Fame last names. Greg Zakwin of Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle nominated the infamous half of the only brother team to play for their manager father, Cal, Sr: Billy Ripken.

1989 Fleer #616, Bill Ripken (original)

Wikipedia quotes Fleer as creating "at least ten variations" to deal with Billy's batting practice bat expletive. See the "Versions" link at for a full rundown of far more than I expected to see. At one point, obscure versions booked $100+ and all permutations continue to sell for well above Cal's own card from the same set.

4. Player I have Player I want!

Fellow OBC vintage collector Jason Chistopherson nominated his take on the "Minnie Minoso to Manny Mota" card I recently upgraded to a plain old Minoso. Let's say you have a 1953 George Crowe, but he leaves after a few years and now Felix Mantilla plays for the Braves. There's an easy solution!

1953 Topps #3, George Crowe Felix Mantilla

Sure am glad I finally found that Felix Mantilla card, yessir.

5. Wait, isn't that...?

Hackenbush of Can't Have Too Many Cards noted how Topps created accidental variations by putting the wrong photo on the right card.

1963 Topps #113, Ron Santo / Don Landrum

That's Santo's large photo, Landrum on the inset, and I bet Cubs collectors dream of finding a double-autograph version. (Landrum passed away in 2003 and Santo in 2010, so there's a good shot of at least one kicking around.)

Ron's normal card #252 is Santo through and through.

6. Cards that go Bump in Toronto Texas

Night Owl (of the eponymous card blog) called out the first variation I remember as a young collector, Topps' errant forecast of an off-season trade from Texas to Toronto.

1979 Topps #368, Bump Wills

Bronx Banter delved into the insider rumors that fed Topps' mistake, complete with recollection from the seminal Sy Berger. This card doubly stood out to me when Bump's father Maury Wills took over my Mariners for the 1980 season. Despite Maury's "unmitigated disaster" as the man in charge, having both father and son active in the same AL division gave games against Texas some extra sizzle.

7. Two Ted Williams, two Jackie Robinsons, two Mickey Mantles...

At one point, I sought to build a "master version" of my favorite set, 1956 Topps, an issue rife with multiple backs, dated-or-undated team cards, and minor print layout variations. The primary focus is on card stock for #1-180, which came in white or grey. Buying both backs for the type collection meant paying twice for this guy.

1956 Topps #5, Ted Williams

Here're the other HOF and star variations from that series that you need (at least) two of.
  • #10 Warren Spahn
  • #15 Ernie Banks
  • #20 Al Kaline
  • #30 Jackie Robinson
  • #31 Hank Aaron
  • #33 Roberto Clemente
  • #79 Sandy Koufax
  • #101 Roy Campanella
  • #107 Eddie Mathews
  • #110 Yogi Berra
  • #113 Phil Rizzuto
  • #118 Nellie Fox
  • #120 Richie Ashburn
  • #130 Willie Mays
  • #135 Mickey Mantle
  • #145 Gil Hodges
  • #150 Duke Snider
  • #164 Harmon Killebrew
  • #165 Red Shoendienst
  • #166 Dodgers team
  • #180 Robin Roberts

I eventually ditched the master set goal because DAMN that's a lot of card spending. It's an admirable long-term goal to pursue and includes terrific variations along the way, but remains an expensive road to travel.

GIVEAWAY WINNER: I should probably send an obscure 1930s Canadian card to everyone as reward for reading this far. But since I have just one spare Flint Rhem, let's roll a virtual six-sided die.


Congrats to Hackenbush, who nets the Flint Rhem with that 1963 Santo/Landrum nomination! Will contact him for a current address and thanks to everyone else for entering, I enjoyed poking around the history of those variations.

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