When Thurman Munson died in 1979, I was ten years old and was crushed by what happened to my favorite player. As a kid that young I remember this was the first time I dealt with a "famous" person that I really followed dying suddenly.
The following year when the "new" cards were about to come out, a bunch of us were wondering what the Munson card would look like. In our young naive minds we seriously were expecting Topps to have some sort of "last card" for him, and it took a while (and quite a few packs) before we realized that Munson was actually not included in the set.
Talk about being crushed again! We were pissed off that Topps didn't make a card for the "Captain", and we couldn't get an answer as to why.
To be honest, I STILL don't have an answer. But I kind of get the feeling a big part of it may have been what one guy said to me years ago, "Cards are mainly for kids. Why throw death into it all?" Simple enough right? And I'll settle for that.
However, over the years I took an interest in players that died an untimely death, and paid a little extra special attention to those "last" cards. Ever since I came across the Ken Hubbs "memorial" card from the 1964 set, I always thought back to Munson, and some other players who died young, and wondered what memorial cards of them would have looked like.
Sadly, the 1970's had quite a few baseball players that died young and I wanted to do a "In Memoriam" thread on this blog, having that "last card" with a call-out in memory of the player as a fitting close to their careers. I don't want to have a unique design as the Hubbs card has, but a simple stripe or bar with the words "In Memoriam" in black and white on the standard card design of that year.
These players fall into two groups: the first are those who died before their last card was actually issued (think Don Wilson '75, Gil Hodges '72, etc). For these players, I use that last officially released card and add the call-out somewhere in the design.
The second group are players who died during the season, and never had a card the following year for obvious reasons (Munson, Danny Thompson, etc). For these players I've gone and created a card for the following year's set.
I won't get into the tragedies here. I'll just keep it to baseball cards and a nice way to memorialize the player in the context of this blog.
I will also hold off on the Munson card since it would fall in 1980, just outside the scope of this blog. I've seen one or two designed by others in the past, and I know Bob Lemke told me he was working on one in the near future. But don't be surprised if I come back and add that one later on.
Today however, I begin this "Memorial" thread with Lyman Bostock. Great player, rising star and tragic story. You can Google what happened if you don't know already.
Here I designed a 1979 card for him with the "In Memoriam" call-out since he died late in the '78 season, and a card the following year was never produced.
As a baseball fan, I have always wondered how much more dominant that 1979 Angels team could have been had Bostock been able to play alongside Carew, Baylor, Downing, Lansford, Grich et al. That team was offensively loaded that year and kind of forgotten as time passed.
Such a shame.
|November 22, 1950-September 23, 1978.|