Saturday, August 9, 2014

Orioles Team (#334)

Here is the Orioles team card. Topps did away with the superimposed yellow or red background for their team cards in 1968, but only issued cards for 13 of the 20 teams.

What a difference 1 year makes! The Orioles went from World Champions in 1966 to tied for 6th place in 1967. Why? Frank Robinson missed every game from 6/28 to 7/28 after a collision caused him to suffer from double vision.

Also, almost all their starting pitchers came down with arm injuries. The most severe was Jim Palmer, who spent most of '67 and all of '68 recuperating in the minors. Dave McNally, Wally Bunker, and Steve Barber were also ineffective, with Barber traded to the Yankees in July.

In place of Palmer and the others, rookie Tom Phoebus stepped up to lead the staff with 14 wins, 179 strikeouts, and a 3.33 ERA.

Not to worry, the Orioles would be back in 1969 (and 1970... and 1971).


Matt Runyon said...

Why didn't Topps do a team card for every team?

Jim from Downingtown said...

Hi Matthew,

I'm not sure, but it's one of many things that seemed to go wrong with the 1968 set.

On my sidebar (above the yellow wax pack wrapper) there's a link to's review of the 1968 set. In there, he talks about conflict between MLB and the players' union, which affected Topps' access to players.

This may explain many of these things:
1. 11 fewer cards than the 1967 set.
2. Multi-player cards decreased from 13 to 3.
3. Team cards decreased from 19 (never had an Astros team card previously) to 13.
4. A dozen or so fewer "Rookie Stars" cards than in 1967, including NO Giants Rookies card.
5. Some photos were re-used from prior years.
6. No cards for Reggie Jackson and Sparky Lyle, despite them having significant playing time in 1967.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Also, Dean is correct about how Topps avoided the "high numbers" scarcity in 1968.

In 1967, the 7th series was not sold in my area. In 1968, it was, but I seem to recall that the 6th series was not sold near me. I remember bicycling to a store about 5 towns away to get my 6th series cards that year.

I don't remember there being a problem with any series in 1969.

Douglas said...

Jim you must have been quite the card junkie as a kid.

I know it is a simple pleasure, but nothing beats finding a new series in the over the counter card buying world. I remember accidently buying a pack of 1970 cards at the grocery store my mom went to. It was a new series and I purchased all the cards from there from then on.

Jim from Downingtown said...


In late-summer 1967, when it was clear the mom & pop store where I bought baseball cards all summer was not going to have the 7th series, I went around the block to another store looking for them.

I didn't find any, but I DID find my first 1967 NFL cards.