The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JULY  2013

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







Rookie Cards from Topps

by Jerry Keys

From 1962 to 1982 Topps included multi-player rookie, prospect, future star, et. al. cards into a set. The cards ranged from two players on the card to five. They were mostly divided into teams but also were separated by leagues and position played. Topps ended their twenty year run when they decided to have most rookie cards placed in traded sets. Topps did re-introduce the multi-player cards in 1992.

Has anyone ventured into a card shop or searched on-line for a Jerry Koosman rookie? How about a Ron Cey rookie? Maybe a Cecil Cooper rookie? Each player carved out a distinguishing career but were stuck on a rookie card with player(s) who went on to stardom. Koosman was placed on the same card as Nolan Ryan (1968 #177), Cey was placed on Mick Schmidt's (1973 #615), and Cooper on Carlton Fisk's (1972 #79).

Jerry Keys

While Koosman enjoyed a career record of 222-209 and is 28th all-time in strikeouts (SO), Ryan set the mark for SO's with 5,714 and a 324-292 won/loss record.

Cey was a perennial All-Star 3B for the NL in the 1970's and collected 316 home runs (HR), 1,139 runs batted in (RBI) and batted .261, but Schmidt clubbed 548 HR's, 1595 RBI's and batted .267.

Cooper produced 1125 RBI's, 241 HR's and a .298 average, yet Fisk launched 376 HR's, 1330 RBI's and batted .269.

Some players, Cey included, were placed on these cards more than once. Cey also appeared on the 1972 #761, Dale Murphy was on the 1977 #476 and 1978 #708 (side note: Murphy was listed as a catcher on both cards) and Phil Niekro appeared on 1964 #541 and 1965 #461.

Being placed on two rookie cards was not too uncommon in the 1960's and 1970's, if a player was traded while in the minors he may appear on one of these with the old and new team. Although one player appeared on three rookie cards, in 1964 (#167), 1968 (#16) and 1969 (#394). Younger people may know him as a successful manager (see January 2011 article) but he was a solid role player in his day, Lou Piniella.

Everyone knows who is on the 1982 #21 card, Cal Ripken.  But there are two other players, Bob Bonner and Jeff Schneider. Whatever happened to those other two players?

Bonner played for Baltimore from 1980-83 but went on to bigger and better things as a missionary to Zambia. "Bonner served twenty-six years in Zambia before returning to the United States. Upon returning, he started International African Missions."

Schneider saw action in the majors for one season (1981) and his whereabouts are unknown.

What about the other players on the 1963 #537? Pedro Gonzalez saw action in the majors for two teams from 1963-67 and whereabouts unknown.

Ken McMullen enjoyed a respectable career spanning sixteen years. He ended his career with a pinch-hit HR in 1977 and was displaced as a starter for the Dodgers in 1973 by....Cey. He is currently working in the Dodger organization.

Al Weis spent ten years in the majors and played a vital part in the 1969 Miracle Mets winning the World Series. He retired from years working with a furniture company.

The other player on the card...Pete Rose.

Gene Richards, John Scott and Denny Walling appeared on the 1977 #473. Richards was an exceptional base stealer who spent eight years in the majors and is currently a coach/manager for the Dodgers. Scott spent three years in the big leagues and later played in Japan. His current whereabouts are unknown. Walling spent eighteen years in the majors and is currently working in the Orioles organization. The other player on the card...Andre Dawson.

Being on a multi-player rookie card does not merit instant fame. But if someone else reaches stardom, you will always be remembered.