1968 Topps gimmick featuring Clete Boyer

31 03 2009

topps7th

Even in 1968 collectors were stuck with gimmicks in their Topps cards. 7th series featured this checklist card which shows card 539 as “American League Rookies” when it’s actually “Major League Rookies.”  Topps would later issue a corrected version of the checklist, but neither is short printed.   

I saw this one on the cheap on eBay, so I picked it up.  That Brave in the circle there is defensive whiz Clete Boyer.  I’m not exactly sure why Topps choose to honor him on a checklist card.   He did have a career year in 1967 smacking 26 HR’s and driving in 97, but his batting average was a dismal .247.  I can think of one other Brave that put up better all around numbers than that, but Topps decided Boyer warranted the circle of honor rather than him.  It should be pretty obvious who that guy is.

Clete would never hit more than 16 HR’s again.  He would be released from the Braves in 1971 after an arguement with management over the teaching of fundamentals.  He would sign on to play in Japan the following year where he continued his streak of great defense, moderate power, low batting average seasons until retiring in 1975. 

I recall hearing Clete’s name before, but I never knew much about him until now.  I now know who holds the record for most assists in a World Series by a third baseman, for example.  I know that in 1969, Morganna the kissing bandit helped Boyer break out a slump.  And I know about Clete Boyer’s Hamburger Hall of Fame (review here), which may or may not still exist outside of Cooperstown. 

And that’s the best part about cards like this.  Aside from being part of one of my favorite older sets, I learned alot about a player I didn’t know.  I have a good feeling that Boyer won’t be the last player that meets that requirement, either.

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