One of the concepts we miss about multiple series of cards being issued during the course of a season like we had from the 1950’s through the early 70’s is seeing so many individual player cards get updated during the actual season. Yes, Topps does it now with their Update series, but it doesn’t arrive until very late in the calendar year.
Things were different in the days of the 132-card series. A good example is the 1968 Topps Roy White card which began with this sentence: “Roy led the Yankees in stolen based during the spring training season of 1968.” Excess verbiage excepted, this showed how these backs were actually updated as events changed during a season.
In Topps added a small “Traded” card subset to their high number series. We know these cards would not have been designed until at least March as Steve Carlton was traded to the Phillies, where he would gain fame as “Lefty” on February 25 of that year. Carlton was just one of seven players who were honored with cards in that series who had switched teams in between the issuance of their first card and the time the ‘high number’ series showed up in the fall.
Another ’72 Topps Traded card issued was one of Jim Fregosi, who was sent to the New York Mets in return for several players including a right-handed fireballer who had never come close to his seemingly limitless potential. That pitcher was Lynn Nolan Ryan who along with Leroy Stanton and a couple of other prospects went to the California Angels. Fregosi had appeared earlier in the year as an Angel but Ryan’s card didn’t come out until later in the season and his only ’72 card shows him after the deal.
As the years passed, Fregosi understood his most important baseball heritage was being traded for Ryan, who would only be a star picture for more than two decades. Sadly, Fregosi recently suffered a series of strokes while on a cruise and passed away.