Monday, June 21, 2021

Rookie Parade

In the past few weeks, I posted all the 1967 and 1968 rookie stars cards. Today we have all the 1969 rookie stars cards. 

Comparison of the 3 sets: 
1967 set 
Total cards - 43 
Teams with 3 cards - 5 
Teams with 2 cards - 9 
Teams with 1 card - 6 
Mixed teams - 4 cards 
1968 set 
Total cards - 30 
Teams with 3 cards - Orioles 
Teams with 2 cards - 6 
Teams with 1 card - 12 
Teams with 0 cards - Giants 
Mixed teams - 3 cards 
1969 set 
Total cards - 52 
Teams with 4 cards - Padres, Royals 
Teams with 3 cards - 6 
Teams with 2 cards - 7 
Teams with 1 card - 8 
Teams with 0 cards - Senators 
Mixed teams - 4 cards 
As with the Giants in the 1968 set, there is no rookie stars card for the Senators here. The Senators had no major prospects, but Topps couldn't slap 2 schmoes on a Senators card, like they did here for the Angels and Athletics? 
Two teams had a whopping FOUR rookie stars cards. 
Of course they are expansion teams, whose rosters were filled with youngsters looking for a shot at the big leagues.
Bill Davis is back for the fifth of his FIVE rookie stars cards, this time not with the Indians. 
Six teams had three rookie stars cards:
Not much to talk about here. Carl Morton's breakout year was 1970. 
Probably the best rookie stars card in the 1969 set is the Richie Hebner/Al Oliver card. It's the only one where both players became stars. The Phillies' Larry Hisle and Don Money both became regulars. Sure, the Phillies were a bad team filled with holes, but Hisle and Money were both selected to the Topps All-Rookie team at the end of the season. 
Carlos May was the most successful of these 14 players. 
Seven teams had two cards: 

After trading Joe Torre, the Braves carried two rookie catchers in 1969. Bob Didier ended up as the starter. As a kid, I thought that 2nd Cubs card looked strange. One guy has no ears, while the other two have ears to spare. 

What, no George Korince? Topps finally stopped putting Korince on Tigers Rookies cards, ending the possibility of another Bill Davis-type run. Still, Korince appeared on TWO rookie cards in one year, something Davis didn't achieve. 
Graig Nettles is the best of this bunch. With a name like MITTerwald, you just knew he had to be a catcher. 
Eight teams had just one rookie stars card:
After several seasons having three rookie cards, the Orioles had just one in the 1969 set. I guess their top-notch roster had no room for any more rookies. This is Lou Piniella's 4th rookie stars card (each with a different team). He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1969, so this would be his last rookies card. 
No Senators rookie card? Topps was just lazy here. After some of the players found on these cards over the years, Topps can't use "lack of prospects" as an excuse. 
Finally, the "miscellaneous rookies from multiple teams" cards.
My contention has always been that Topps decided on the players for these high-numbered cards after the current season had already started. Hard to believe Rollie Fingers was an afterthought. 

And why John Miller? Isn't a player automatically not a "star" when his stated position is "INF-OF"?

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Final Card: Jose Vidal

I've got 7 more cards to post before I can wrap up the "Final Cards" for the 1969 set (something I did way back in 2012 for the 1966, 1967, and 1968 sets), so let's get to it.
Jose Vidal (#322) had a very short major-league career: a few dozen games for the Indians from 1966-68, and 18 games for the Seattle Pilots in 1969. 
Vidal was signed by the Giants in 1958 (I learned something new today) and after one minor-league season was dealt to the Pirates. He spent 5 seasons in Class B, C, and D ball before advancing to Class A in 1963. Primarily an outfielder, Jose also played some 3rd base in '59 and '63. 
The Indians purchased his contract in September 1963, and moved him up to double-A the following season. He saw his most extensive playing time in 1965 and 1966, playing over 100 games each season for the Tribe’s AAA team in Portland. 
Although he hit well in the minors (40/162/.340 in 1963), he led his league’s outfielders in errors 3 times. 
He made his major-league debut with 17 games in September 1966. Initially used as a pinch-hitter, he also started 10 of the final 12 games, mostly in right field. 
Jose split his time in '67 and '68 between the Indians and Portland. Although only playing 16 and 37 games for Cleveland in those seasons, he must have been with the team for much of the time because after 100+ games in AAA for the previous 2 seasons, he only played 69 and 44 games in the minors. 
In early-September 1968, the expansion Pilots purchased his contract from the Indians. (This was a month before the expansion draft.) Vidal played only 18 games for the Pilots in 1969 (all in the first 4 weeks of the season), mostly as a pinch-hitter. On May 19th he was traded to the Yankees for outfielder Dick Simpson, but spent the rest of the year with the Yankees' AAA team in Syracuse. 
Jose played all of 1970 with Syracuse, and part of 1971 with the Tigers' AAA team in Toledo. He finished out that season in Japan, then played over 100 games per season in Mexico from 1972-75. 
Vidal passed away in 2011 at age 70.