Sunday, June 13, 2021

Rookie Parade

A few weeks ago, I posted all the 1967 rookie stars cards. Today we have all the 1968 rookie stars cards. 
Comparison of the 2 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 
There were 13 fewer rookie cards in the 1968 set, and no Giants card. What? Was Topps unaware of the phenom named Bobby Bonds? They whiffed on the Senators' Del Unser too. 
Of the 60 players pictured on these cards, only 3 were immediate stars (Johnny Bench, Jerry Koosman, and Stan Bahnsen). Bench and Bahnsen were the 1968 Rookies of the Year. Of course, Nolan Ryan would eventually join Bench as one of the only 2 superstars among these 60. 
Lou Piniella was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1969, and eventually Bob Moose, Bob Robertson, Hal McRae, Ron Reed, Mike Torrez, Jack Billingham, and Larry Hisle made significant contributions over their careers. But that's 12 out of 60 - not a very good percentage. (It may be typical though, because I remember a lot of stiffs among the 1967 rookie cards.) 
The Orioles must have curried favor with Topps, because they have 3 rookie cards for the 2nd consecutive year. (They also had two multi-player cards in 1967, while 9 teams had none.)   Sure, they were an exciting and successful team in the late-1960s, but these 6 players were nothing to write home about. 
The coveted Johnny Bench rookie card - but this is not the top rookie card in the set (see below). Lou Piniella and Bill Davis appeared on 4 and 5 rookie stars cards respectively. Eventually, Piniella made it big. Davis did not. 
The Tigers' George Korince is back again, after appearing on TWO rookie cards in the 1967 set.  Topps, please!
There it is - the Jerry Koosman/Nolan Ryan rookie card.  This may be the mother of all rookie stars cards, ever.
Except for ROY Stan Bahnsen (who also appeared on a 1967 Yankees Rookies card) this block is a whole lot of mediocre. I know specifically that the 2 Phillies shown each pitched 1 career MLB game.

The mixed-bag cards in the 7th series. Why didn't Topps just pair Ivan Murrell and Jim Ray on a Houston Astros Rookies card?
Topps, here's what the Giants Rookies card should have looked like: