Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 RICH REESE

Here’s a 1973 “missing” card for long time Minnesota Twins 1st baseman Rich Reese, who was coming towards the end of a 10-year Major League career:


Reese appeared in a whopping 132 games for the Twins in 1972, with 223 plate appearances, yet was left out of the 1973 set. Wonder why!?
He batted .218 with 43 hits over 197 official at-bats, and would go on to play in 81 games during the 1973 season, his last year in the big leagues, split between the Detroit Tigers and Twins, batting a combined .144 with only 18 hits over 125 at-bats.
That would wrap up a career that saw him bat .253 with 512 hits in 2020 at-bats and 866 games, but I would always remember him as the guy who was on the back of the 1970 “A.L. Batting Leaders” card, even though he didn’t have enough plate appearances in 1969 to even qualify!
I’m still a bit perplexed by it. He did bat a nice .322, 61 points better than his second-best season, but he only had 451 plate appearances, with 135 hits over 419 at-bats.
What is really strange is that he wasn’t pictured on the front, which was the second highest average, behind teammate Rod Carew, yet there he is listed on the back as in second place.
Anyone know why this even happened?
Curious to know after all these years...

6 comments:

  1. As a kid I always thought this guy was really good just because I loved his 71 card

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    1. I liked that card too...there were some great first base cards in that set.

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  2. Never realized the strangeness on that 1970 Leaders card. Looks like maybe Topps threw a bone (on the back) to the guys who had 450-500 PAs to fall just short of qualification. There weren't many, but Mike Epstein, Gene Michael, Tommy Davis, and Pat Kelly fit the criteria and made it to the Topps card. The absence of Rick Monday on the card might shoot my theory, though.

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  3. I think this is the deal, When figuring the batting title, if a player does not have enough plate appearances to qualify, you add the number by which he is short to the number of at-bats and recalculate. If your average is still high enough to win the batting title, it is yours.

    Add the missing PAs to Reece in that way, and he hit .287. That is, had he gotten just enough additional plate appearances to qualify, and made an out every time, he would have hit .287. Which would qualify him for the list. Really he should appear right above Mark Belanger, but I guess they thought that would be too confusing. (Didn't know Belanger ever hit that well!)

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    Replies
    1. I agree with Brett's assessment of the situation.

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  4. Great card! Why was he left off that set? I can see why he did not make it onto the '74 set with that batting average, but that could be a nice card too. I'm not even going to try to explain that leaders card.

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