Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Here's a card that really "should have been": a 1974 Topps card for power-pitcher Bob Veale.
Take a look at my design:

Curious as to why Topps didn't include him in their 1974 set, as Veale posted a 2-3 record with 11 saves for the BoSox over the course of 32 games and 36.1 innings.
He even went on to pitch for Boston in 1974, his last year in the Major Leagues. So it wasn't like he retired at the end of the '73 season and Topps knew about it.
Veale was one of those power arms that the National League was blessed with in the 1960's, even topping the Senior League with 250 K's in 1964.
A year later he'd strike out 276 batters, and would have another two season with 200+ strikeouts while throwing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the only other team he'd pitch for in his 13-year career.
He'd retire with a tidy 120-95 record, with a 3.07 earned run average and 1703 K's with 20 shutouts.
Between 1964 and 1970 Veale was a very solid Major League starter, averaging 15 wins and 213 strikeouts over those seven years, easily keeping pace with contemporaries like Don Drysdale, Jim Bunning and Jim Maloney.


  1. Although Veale pitched in 32 games in 1973, he had only 3 appearances in September, and none after 9/13. Maybe Topps thought he was washed up, and gambled that he wouldn't be around in 1974. Remember, 1974 was the first year that cards were not released in multiple series throughout the spring & summer. Topps had to get their entire player list firmed up early.

    As much as some collectors wish otherwise, Topps was not in the business of making "tribute cards" for veteran players in the set following their retirement, so that collectors would have their entire career stats on one card. It just coincidentally worked out that way for a few (such as Mickey Mantle, who retired during spring training in 1969).

    1. According to, Veale was released at the end of October 1973, so that was probably Topps' cue to dump him. He subsequently re-signed with the Red Sox, but too late to be included in the '74 set.

      This is the same thing that happened to Jim Gilliam of the Dodgers after the 1964 and 1965 seasons (released, then re-signed). That is why his last card is in the 1964 set, despite playing full seasons in 1965 and 1966.

  2. Were any of the guys in the 1974 or 1976 traded sets similar to Veale's situation? They could have stuck him in there but those cards seemed to be geared more towards guys that were traded for one another.

  3. I love the Veale, that's a very nicely done custom of a guy I hadn't completely realized was missing from the set...

    ...but may I make some constructive criticism?

    If you look closely at 1974 Topps cards (as I've spent far too large of a percentage of my life doing), you'll notice that there are essentially two different fonts - or maybe it's more accurate to say it's two different implementations of the same font - for the player's last name. Players with a relatively short last name show up with wider letters... Compare Jim Hunter against guys like Johnny Bench, Dave May or Ken Brett, and you'll see what I mean.

    I'm not 100% sure that "VEALE" would've shown up with the wider letters, but I think it pretty likely.

    1. You're 100% correct! I can't remember what card I used as a template, but I thought it had the same amount of letters as Veale. But I think I may have to go and fix this! Thanks!



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