Sunday, March 22, 2015

ANOTHER TOPPS MYSTERY: THE 1977 JIM HOLT CARD

I've been meaning to post about this card for some time now:


The 1977 Jim Holt Topps card was one of those cards I noticed early on because of his lack of play the previous year.
In 1976 Jim Holt appeared in a total of four games, with eight plate appearances and seven at-bats, slapping two doubles with two runs batted in. 
That was it. Total.
There were guys shown on those multi-player rookie cards that had more playing time in 1976 than Holt, so I could never figure out why he got a slot in the 660-card set.
On top of that, it wasn't until years later that I realized Holt actually never played a Major League game again after 1976, so it was especially curious as to how he got a card in the '77 set.
Don't get me wrong, I love writing about cards like this. Just want to shed a little light on them to see if anyone knows something I don't.
For Holt himself, he wrapped up a nine-year career in 1976, playing for the Twins and A's between 1968 and 1976.
He hit .265 with 428 hits in 1616 at-bats, with 19 homers, 177 R.B.I.'s and 174 runs scored.
He never played enough in any one season to qualify for a batting title, but he had his finest season in 1973 with the Twins, when he hit .297 with 11 homers, 58 R.B.I.'s and 532 runs scored over 132 games and 476 plate appearances.

9 comments:

  1. Had he missed most of the previous season due to injuries, and Topps expected him to make a full recovery (Blomberg, Gullett, etc.)?

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  2. By the time this card hit shelves, Holt was playing in the Mexican League. He did hit .337 in AAA in 1976, but did Topps really think he was coming back to the majors?

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  3. One of the things I love about old Topps is that they actually had their ears to the ground and they gathered intel from the clubs on likely scenarios. They had to do some of that this because their printing deadline was far in advance of the season but kids expected up-to-date cards in the packs they opened. Unfortunately, sometimes you guess wrong and, lets face it, baseball people lie. That's how you end up with Bump Wills on the Blue Jays.

    One of my favorite "mystery" cards growing up was the 1968 Dick Kenworthy. Kenworthy played his entire major and minor league career with the White Sox. Yet his only Topps cardboard was a 1968 Mets card. Kenworthy had been purchased by the Mets over the winter and, third base having been a long-standing problem for New York, someone from the Mets assured all questioners that Dick Kenworthy was the answer to that problem; they wouldn't have purchased his services if they didn't intend to play him (the incumbent third baseman, Ed Charles, was viewed by the organization as "too old"). But, come the end of spring training, Ed Charles had outplayed Kenworthy in every facet and the Mets took advantage of their "money back guarantee" (meanwhile, the Sox had some injury issues in their infield and were looking for greater depth).

    In the case of Jim Holt, it should be remembered that Topps was now issuing all their cards in a single series (still a relatively new phenomenon). Holt was a very popular Oakland player who had contributed to the World Series team in 1974. And, at the time of Topps deadline, the A's essentially had NO first baseman. Gene Tenace had left for San Diego. Ron Fairly was, at best, a platoon player (and was soon shipped out of town, himself). Dick Allen and Mike Jorgensen would not be acquired until March and May respectively. Jerry Tabb was also acquired in March. Just as WE did, when I was growing up, Topps tried to "field a team" with their cards. And you couldn't "field a team" with half a platoon at first base. Logically, at the time they were finalizing the 1977 set, Jim Holt figured to see more time at first. He was essentially the only player on their roster who could. Instead, of course, Holt went to Japan and the A's went out and got Allen, Jorgy, and Tabb. But all that happened AFTER Topps 1977 set went to press.

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    Replies
    1. THIS is one of the reasons why I love doing this blog: the conversations that start regarding a topic that has bugged me for years! Thanks guys!!!!!
      Great comment "Stubby"! Appreciate it....

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  4. Jeff's right...Mexico. I had thought Japan, but it was Mexico.

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  5. Am I correct that this is also an airbrush? Wouldn't that be odd, too, considering he was pictured with the A's the year prior?

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    1. You know it DOES look like the helmet is airbrushed!? Strange. I wonder why?

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  6. The neck band looks like it was touched up too.

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  7. I was going thru some cards today and came across Joe Morgan's 1976 card. The bill of his helmet was touched up with a raspberry color that doesn't quite match. Not sure why they tinkered with them so much when the original shot was probly ok.

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