Tuesday, October 22, 2013

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?- PART VIII: 1970 BILL DILLMAN

So I wonder: how does a guy get a Topps baseball card THREE YEARS after last appearing in a Major League game?
I came across Bill Dillman's card (#386) from the 1970 Topps set and took a look at his stats. Well what do ya' know, I was looking at a player who last appeared in a big league game in 1967 with the Baltimore Orioles!
Now how does THIS happen?!
On top of all of this, what we have here with this card is a guy who's in a Baltimore Orioles jersey, depicted as a St. Louis Cardinal, and NEVER played for the organization in his career!
In 1970 Dillman actually suited up for the Montreal Expos after being traded by the Cards in May.
Just a complete snafu for a card if there ever was one!

Most likely Topps used a three year old image for this card.
Dillman's career was screwed from the get go, as he couldn't break into a SOLID Baltimore rotation in the late-60's.
With the Orioles sending out starters like Jim Palmer, Mark Cuellar, Dave McNally and Tom Phoebus every fourth day, he was relegated to the Minors until he was purchased by St. Louis in December of 1969.
However, by the time the following season started, he was shipped over to Montreal for Carroll Sembera, and Dillman ended the season appearing in 18 games, all in relief.
He finished the year with a 2-3 record and a 5.29 E.R.A., getting what was to be his last taste of the Majors.
He spent 1971 and 1972 in the Minors for the Expos and Mets, and hung them up thereafter.
A small interesting bit: on the back of his 1970 card it states that Dillman won his first four decisions in 1967 with Baltimore, which would mean he then went 3-12 for the rest of his Major League tenure.
Another funny tidbit: Dillman was also given a card for 1969 even though he never appeared in a game the previous year!
So that's two cards for a guy who didn't play in the Majors the two previous seasons.
It's really hard to figure out Topps' selection process for cards sometimes.
I'm sure there's a reason for it, but it mystifies me as to why they'd give players like this a slot in their set instead of "capping" off superstars after they retired or some Minor League superstar for each organization, or heck, even some spots for an interesting sub-set!
Go figure...

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