While I will happily admit I like most late 1970’s-early 1980’s music, the Little River Band was a notable exception for me. With the exception of their big hit Reminiscing, which was a truly fine single which brought back memories of long-ago days, most of their songs I will change if I hear on the radio. My stock line to myself is at the beginning of Lonesome Loser the song begins with “Have you heard about the Lonesome Loser?” I usually scream back at the radio, “Yes and way too often!”
However, not all the Aussie group’s American hits were so severely over-played. One of their more modest hits was a song titled: “The Other Guy.” In baseball card terms, the “Other Guy” or “Other Guys” are those players which appear on multi-player cards but for most collectors were not the focus.
During the next few months, we will feature the “other guys” on these cards as they have stories to tell as well. While this won’t be this story’s focus, we touched upon this when we wrote about the Ted Shows How card in the 1969 Topps set where Mike Epstein was the guy Ted Williams was teaching (or so Topps told us).
We’ll start the tour with the three other players on the 1963 Topps Pete Rose rookie card. Believe it or not, just before price guides began more than 30 years ago, Rose rookies, as well as other Rose cards, didn’t even carry much of a premium. I sold some of them as commons when I started selling at shows.
In the New York area there were actually many people who were collecting Yankees team sets in those days and there is a Yankee on that card. Pedro Gonzalez is featured as a prospect and thanks to Rose, he can always claim his card is more expensive than Mickey Mantle’s in the same set. The rest of Gonzalez’ card history only lasted four more years but his second multi-player rookie card was a two-player Yankees high number card in 1964. Thus his first two cards are difficult but the final three cards are reasonably easy to acquire and after 1967 there were no more Gonzalez cards.
The second “other guy” on the Rose rookie card is Ken McMullen who had a nice major league career which would last into the later part of the 1970’s. McMullen only a minor post-season cameo in 1974 and never was selected to an all-star team despite his decent career. In terms of his cards, the only tougher card for McMullen was his 1972 Topps high number. McMullen suffered an impossible to comprehend tragedy during his career as his wife passed on from breast cancer just before the 1974 season began. In fact, if you ever watch footage of the Hank Aaron’s 715th home run game, you will see the Dodgers are wearing memorial arm bands in her memory.
And the final of the other guys on the Pete Rose rookie is Al Weis, who had a career which lasted longer than Gonzalez but not as long as McMullen. However, despite his good-field. no-hit reputation, he did have both some baseball and baseball card highlights. One of his most important parts of baseball history was he was involved with Frank Robinson in a devastating collision during the 1967 season. Weis suffered a knee injury and his speed was never the same while Robinson suffered a concussion and despite 1968 being the year of the pitcher, it is obvious in retrospect he was still suffering from post-concussion syndrome during that season. Of course, Frank Robinson did recover and then led the Orioles to three more pennants before moving around baseball for the last few years of his career. As we write this article, we are also celebrating the 40th anniversary of Robinson being name the first black manager in major league history.
We also mentioned that Robinson led the Orioles to three more World Series and in 1969 the Orioles faced the New York Mets. Those Mets were called the Miracle Mets and when Weis, now a utility infielder for the Mets, got five hits in 11 at-bats including a home run you do realize strange things were happening for them that year.
Weis’ card history is almost as hard to comprehend. His appearance on the Rose rookie isn’t actually his only card that carries a premium. His 1965. 67, 69 and 71 cards all have varying degrees of difficulty which culminated with his final card, the 1971 Topps hi # card (#751). His 1969 card was always one of the more difficult Mets card of their Miracle year and the 1971 Topps card was always immediately sellable in the New York area. For a guy with a short career, Weis sure put a lot of interesting baseball tidbits and cards together.
This is just one story about rookie card ‘other guys’ and we’d love to feature yours.