From Open Flies to Dead Guys, Topps Not Kind to 1966 Cubs

I suppose the 1966 Chicago Cubs were quite unlike their 1906 counterpart. For one, the 1906 team won 116 games and the National League pennant before being upset in the World Series by their cross-town rival White Sox. Another aspect was the manager of the Cubs in 1966, said “We are not an eighth place team”. No, the 1966 Cubs finished dead last in the National League and enabled the New York Mets to finally move out of the cellar. Yes Leo Durocher, who was one year old in 1906 and had not managed in more than a decade, led the Cubs to their dead last finish.  The Cubs’ future would end up being a bit brighter in future years but it is kind of ironic that the cards that featured members of that woeful ’66 team have plenty of 1966 Topps Don Landrum button fly variationerrors.

First, there was #43 Don Landrum, an outfielder who hung around for a few seasons without really making any major splashes in the big leagues. 1966 would be the final season for Landrum but his cards left an unforgettable memory.  You see, there are actually three different versions of the Landrum card, all of which involve the button fly on his flannel pants.

On one version, the button is exposed and his fly appears open.  A second version shows his pants slightly buttoned up but with a button still visible and a third, when Topps finally got his pants buttoned through some sort of airbrushing magic. Yes, Topps was able to fix this card Don Landrum no button card 1966 toppsbut was not able to fix the 1966 or 1967 Claude Raymond cards which both show him with his fly wide open.

The Landrum variations can trade for decent money depending on the condition but all can be found with a little digging.  Who knew that such an obscure player could have such a baseball card legacy?

Dick Ellsworth photo actually Ken Hubbs 1966 ToppsThe other 1966 Topps Cubs mistake is a bit harder to understand.

Dick Ellsworth’s card actually pictures the late Kenny Hubbs, who had perished in a Provo, Utah plane crash in February, 1964. In fact, Topps had issued an “In Memoriam” card of Hubbs  (#550) in their high number series that year.

Interestingly Hubbs was one of two players to have his death reported on a card that season.  The back of the 1964 Topps Jim Umbricht (#393) mentions that he passed away on “Wednesday April 8, 1964”.  I’m surprised they did not mention the time of death considering Topps included the detail of what day that was. And I also wonder how people reacted at that time to seeing Hubbs pictured on a card, two years after his death.

Ellsworth had a decent major league career and had even won 22 games during the 1963 season so you would have hoped Topps’ picture editors would have gotten that one correct. Ellsworth is the first card in the slightly harder to obtain semi-high number series and is sought after by collectors for that reason today more than for the unfortunate error (see them here on eBay).