Wednesday, September 25, 2013

THE GHOSTS ON TEAM CARDS: 1977 BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Beyond team cards having checklists on the back helping me mark off what I had and what I still "needed" to finish my set, I never really found them interesting on the whole as a kid.
I just felt that the image was so small and distant that you couldn't really see any of the players clear enough, so what was the point?
After so many years I came around, and since I started collecting again about seven years ago, I really sought out all Topps team cards from the very beginning in the 1950's.
Something I never thought to look out for back in the day were players that were NOT shown on their regular issued cards as a member of whatever team card they appeared on. It was hard to spot them, but if you are aware of what to look for they can be picked out, making for interesting side-stories.
A great example of this is the Baltimore Orioles 1977 team card (#546).
Back when I was collecting as a kid, I never realized that right there in the middle row, all the way on the right was Reggie Jackson (next to the team trainer in white), at the time a GOD to me as a kid in Brooklyn, NY.
As we all know, Reggie's time with the Orioles was a bit of a "Twilight Zone" as far as baseball cards were concerned.
Topps managed to airbrush him into a Yankee uniform in time for his 1977 card, and he was traded too late in '76 for them to get him out of an Oakland uniform. So Reggie as an Oriole is a sort of "black hole" in the collecting world.
But hold on! Here we actually have an official card that has him shown as an Oriole after all. It may not be what we wanted in the long run, but it's better than nothing.
(As a side note, we also have Bobby Grich in the top row, just about center of the aisle. Interesting since his regular issued card in 1977 has him as an Angel after signing with them as a free agent over the Winter).
Reggie is shown with his pre-Yankee #9 uniform number. Once he joined the Yanks he donned #44.
Anyway, as a throw in, I am posting up that nice high resolution scan of the ever-famous proof card of the 1977 Reggie Jackson card that never was (thanks to Keith Olbermann I hear).
Even though "Mr. October" is shown as a Yankee at the top of the card, he's in full Baltimore attire, and apparently quite happy about it too with that beaming smile of his!

Reggie: middle row, extreme right.

"Mr. October" in full Oriole glory.

1 comment:

  1. Giovanni, I have been very tired at work since I discovered your site. I have been staying up late looking at your site. Everytime I go through your archives, I keep finding something interesting. This one here takes the care. I grew up an Orioles fan. I was always irritated that I never had a card of Reggie as an Oriole. During the winter of 1976/1977 we lost Jackson, Bobby Grich and 20 game winner Wayne Garland. I was devastated. The Orioles had a great year as underdogs in 1977! Great memories!!

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