I've been on somewhat of a rant lately regarding California Angels catchers and how some were inexplicably omitted from Topps sets while others were given cards for much less playing time.
Today I want to put a spotlight on a guy that fit BOTH categories, albeit having a "missing" card three years in row, catcher John Stephenson.
First off, he did manage to have a card in Topps 1971 set, even though he only played in 23 games in 1970 for the San Francisco Giants, good for 43 at-bats and only three hits (a paltry .070 average!).
Take a look:
Why he got a slot in this set is beyond me.
However, perhaps it was a good thing the poor guy got that card, since he was pretty much persona-non-grata in Topps' eyes the following THREE years, where he wasn't given a card in any of those sets!
Now I usually don't profile multiple "missing" cards in one post since each one is worthy of their own attention in my eyes.
But for Stephenson it all ties in together to make for a very strange case, so I am going to post up all three of my "missing" John Stephenson designs here:
I stretched it a bit with that 1973 image. Not quite full-resolution but I think it still worked adequately enough.
I mentioned Stephenson last week when I posted about the missing 1974 Jeff Torborg card.
Seems Torborg, Stephenson and Art Kusyner were ALL ignored by Topps in the early '70's, while other Angels' catchers like Charlie Sands and Rick Stelmaszek, who played a lot less than the other three, got cards.
For Stephenson, he was pretty much the Angels' number-2 catcher behind Jeff Torborg, and played in 98, 66 and 60 games in 1971, '72 and '73.
His at-bat totals were decent enough to warrant a card (compared to others who got one) in each year: 279, 146 and 122).
Granted, it's not like he "tore it up" those years, hitting about .240 altogether, but it stiall confuses me as to why some guys got a card when others didn't.
I'm not aware of any contractual problems between Stephenson and Topps, so I'd love to know what was up.
Anyone out there have an idea?
But at least today I can help "fill-out" a player who was missing from a Topps set multiple times, even if there are only a few of us who care. ;)