Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"NO JIM BOUTON CARD...BUT THIS GUY???!!!"

So, can someone please explain Topps selection process when it came to their 1970 set?
Earlier on this blog I designed a Jim Bouton card that was "missing" from the set, since the guy pitched in 73 games, good for 122.2 innings for both the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros. We're talking about a former 20-game winner for the New York Yankees, and a renowned character.
Yet for some reason, a player who sported the following line for the 1969 season was worthy of a card instead: 1-1, 18.00 E.R.A., 6 games, 5 innings, and TEN earned runs on TEN hits?!
Ha!
The player is Jose Pena, shown as a Los Angeles Dodger, but in actually played for the Cincinnati Reds in '69.
As a matter of fact you can see the Reds' uniform peeking out in the photo used for the card.
Pena looks as confused as I am about this card...
Not only did Pena give up ten hits and runs over those five innings, but he also managed to walk five guys as well!
Whew! That's a cool 3.000 WHIP!
Now, Pena DID go on to have a "better" 1970 season for the Dodgers, going 4-3 with a 4.42 earned run average over the course of 29 games and 57 innings.
But honestly, I guess it was easier to pick a guy like Pena for a slot in the 1970 set than the "trouble-maker" Bouton, who was about to have his book "Ball Four" published, angering the baseball "Gods" with somewhat of a tell-all tome, which then baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn called "detrimental to baseball".
(By the way: if any of you out there haven't read the book yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Go and get a copy!)
Anyway, just one of those cards that leaves you scratching your head, wondering why there wasn't ANYONE else Topps could have given the slot to (a final Don Drysdale card anyone?!).

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