Cliff Lee’s departure from Philadelphia was one of the biggest moves of the baseball off-season.
After a stellar start to his big league pitching career in Cleveland, Lee was traded to Philadelphia late last season. He pitched well enough to get the Phillies back to the World Series, but signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Mariners after the season.
Topps has Lee in the 2010 Opening Day set. They identify him as a member of the M’s on the front and at first glance it looks like they’ve got the first shot of him pitching in a Seattle uniform.
Can you spot it?
The circular black patch on the upper right of his uniform jersey is clearly the “HK” patch the Phillies wore last season to honor their late broadcaster, Harry Kalas.
Since Opening Day is a secondary release, it’s not likely the oversight will be corrected.
Airbrushing techniques have been used by Topps since the 1970s to reflect off-season transactions, but when the release dates of the first cards of the new season were pushed back earlier during the hotly competitive days of the 1980s and early 90s, the practice was largely stopped and any off-season movement wasn’t tracked by Topps and other card companies until their season-ending ‘update’ sets.