Last week, we had fun with some 1962 card backs and discovered the word of the day was “whitewash”. But there are some other real bizarre things which went on with the 1962 set and we’re not even talking about the “green tint” cards which basically caused Topps to re-print their entire second series. There are some fascinating parts of the All-Star subset which card historians still wonder about to this day.
The first strange 1962 All-Star card was Roy McMillan. You see, McMillan appears on the 1962 All-Star subset and even got one of those “combo” cards which always seemed so intriguing when we saw them on the checklists before they were issued in the next series. That one was titled “Midway Masters” and until we saw the card we could only imagine from the checklist who would be on it. Was it going to be Tony Kubek and Bobby Richardson or was it going to be Bill Mazeroski and Dick Groat? Nope. It featured McMillan and Frank Bolling, both of whom had long careers fueled by being solid defensive players. The question then becomes why was there no McMillan base card issued that season? It didn’t have anything to do with a trade as McMillan would remain a Milwaukee Brave until the end of the 1963 season.
The second strange 1962 All-Star card is one that was never made. In thinking about the incredible impact Roger Maris had during the 1961 season (and he followed up that year with a 33 homer campaign in 1962) the question is why was he not given an All-Star card in the 1962 set? He’d actually made the The Sporting News All-Star team after the season but isn’t in the TSN-sponsored All-Star subset.
While hard to argue with Al Kaline or Mickey Mantle as choices, one can wonder why Rocky Colavito, whose skill set was the same as Maris, was chosen for the card instead. Both were power hitters with decent but not great batting averages. They were good fielders and had strong outfield arms. Roger Maris was so important in 1961, though, and had such a season for the ages, I wonder why Topps did not include him as an All-Star. He has tons of other cards in that set so what would have been just one more.
Of course, back in those days, other strange things were occurring with All-Star cards. Juan Francisco “Pancho” Herrera, who had a short major league career ended up as the 1961 A.L. All-Star first baseman and appears in the last series as an All-Star (where they called him ‘Frank’), but he did not have a regular card in that set. He would be out of baseball after the 1961 season.
Herrera had an even more interesting career in that he has a 1958 card with a variation that has the last letter(s) of his name missing on the front. Those cards sell for big dollars today. He has rookie prospect cards in both 1959 and 1960 and concludes his ‘card career’ with that very difficult 1961 high number All-Star. Despite playing a full 1961 season he would have no 1962 Topps card but would be in the Post Cereal set. The whole saga of Pancho Herrera is an interesting ramble in itself.
Have any other oddities you’re wondering about? Drop me a note. It’s always fun digging back into those old sets and trying to unravel some mysteries.