Last week, I wrote about players making cameo appearances on cards of other players and guys who did or didn’t appear with their new team after spending virtually their entire career with another club.
Reader Kelly Burrington may have found something that’s slipped past detection of collectors for some 45 years. Here’s his email:
I’m not sure if you’d call this a cameo or rather just an unnoticed guest appearance. But if you check the 1970 Topps Posters #17 Don Mincher, the small black and white action shot is not him, but rather that of Boston Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski. It seems rather odd that no one has noticed this in 45 years. You can clearly see the number 8 on the back of his jersey while Mr. Mincher wore number 5 while with the Pilots. Take a close look and you be the judge.
In some cases the most obvious errors are hiding in plain sight. Actually a few people are aware of this quirk on Mincher’s poster and the ‘error’ was never corrected but I wouldn’t say it’s common hobby knowledge either. I’m sure a lot of folks just found out about it by reading this.
In many cases old baseball cards have other famous players in the background. Here’s a quick tour of a few interesting vintage cardboard oddities:
For those of us who love the old card of superstars, the 1956 Topps Hank Aaron features a nice background shot of Aaron sliding into home plate. But wait, that’s not Hank. The player pictured is actually the great Willie Howard Mays sliding with the umpire in the background. Topps’ artists tweaked the photo, trying to make it look like Henry since they apparently didn’t have a decent shot of him sliding. To me this is one of the coolest cards of the 1950’s thanks to the great ’56 Topps design but also because you get two major superstars for the price of one.
A few years later. Aaron became the accidental player on the back of a card. Take a good look at the 1962 Topps #18 Manager’s Dream card featuring Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. In those days, many of those multi-player cards we loved were shot at the All-Star game. But look closely at the players in the background not facing the camera. It’s John Roseboro and Hank Aaron having their own conversation, apparently in batting practice for an All-Star Game.
One card we have discussed on several occasions was in the 1960 Topps World Series subset. The card picturing Luis Aparicio stealing second base during the World Series also shows Maury Wills attempting the tag. In fact, Wills pretty much dominates the photo. The problem? Wills wasn’t under contract with Topps and had no official cards with them until 1967 but he did have this cameo which would have actually been a rookie year card if he had been officially in the Topps fold.
Nearly a decade later, Topps began to introduce player “in action” cards as part of their movement away from only posed photos. There were many action shots in 1971, many of which were really cool to see our favorite players actually on the field. There are a couple of really cool shots in this set. The first one was on the Vada Pinson card in which we see him avoiding a tag by Yankees catcher Thurman Munson. A great action shot of Pinson and of a very young Munson who is as much a part of this card as Pinson.
Also in the 1971 set was Chris Short. Since the photo was taken from far enough way to get the background, we see a runner leading off second base. Yep, that runner is Pete Rose, who more than a decade later would set the career hit record. This card is an inexpensive say to get a mid-career Rose card.
And for our brief tour, we will conclude with the 1983 Topps Reggie Smith who is shown making a tag play at first base. The runner, who was not readily recognizable to most collectors at the time, was Ryne Sandberg, who was on his own rookie card in the same set. To me, this is another great way for less than one dollar to get a rookie year Sandberg card.
Some modern cards, too, have interesting cameos. If you have some favorites across the years, shoot me a note at the email address below.