Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Houston, we have a problem...

In a strange move, the word "Astros" was not to be found on any Houston Astros card in 1968 or 1969. As far as Topps was concerned, the team name was known as "Houston" on the front and back of every card (including text on the back). Also, the Astros "star" logo was removed from all hats. This was done in three ways.

1. There was the standard airbrushing jobs (here you can see the mess that remains after a poor airbrushing job):

2. Besides the usual airbrushing, Topps replaced the front of the hat with a black space (It looks like they simply cut a hole in the film.) This was also done extensively with the Oakland Athletics' cards. (This was the first year following the move from Kansas City, so all the Athletics' cards were given the no-hat-logo treatment - more on that in another post):

In the mid-1960s, the Astros seemed to have more than their share of sub-par catchers. First there was John Bateman and Ron Brand. In 1967, Brand was left out of the Topps set while the non-descript Bill Heath was given a card. In 1968, Heath was out, Brand was back, and we were also treated to a third-string catcher named Dave Adlesh. They were all gone before 1969 (Bateman and Brand were scooped up by Montreal in the 1969 expansion draft, and Adlesh landed in St. Louis).

3. And then there was the old fall-back of going hatless (same Morgan photo used in 1969). Here it looks like Joe is thinking "If only I could go to a better place - like Cincinnati".

10/29/2009 edit:
Thanks to Fleerfan for his take on the 1968/1969 Astros issue.

11/26/2009 edit:
Here's another angle that I just found today.


Devon said...

Makes me wonder if maybe Topps thought the Astros might be changing their logo, or name again or something. As for the A's, wasn't '68 their first season in Oakland? Maybe the only photos Topps had was with the KC logo on the cap so they figured they better black 'em out? Either way kinda weird.

Dean said...

Yes, the Astros of the late 1960's didn't do much right. Bad teams, bad players and bad baseball cards!

Fleerfan said...

Topps wasn't the only company that had to avoid showing the Astros logo and avoid using the name Astros. Fleer also left the Astros out of their 1967 and 1968 Cloth Patch / Quiz Card sets:


Great work on the blog. I'm really enjoying your posts on the various 1960's sets you are covering.

Unknown said...

Look at Dan Schneider! What did they use to airbrush his cap, a soldering iron?