RECAP – “Lost Cards”: The Year After

21 03 2014

Back in January, I posed the question:

“Lost Cards.” Every year card companies come out with different sets and make decisions about what athletes they do and don’t include in those sets.  They choose to include new subsets – and exclude old ones.  What’s the card or card(s) that weren’t produced that you wish had been made?

I based the last 60 or so posts on what I called “the year after”.  When a player retires at the end of one season, you don’t know if he’ll be included in the next year’s set.  Here’s a recap of the players I did and whether or not they had a card.

In determining if they had  card below – I only included cards that have the player’s final statline.  So the Willie Mays 1974 World Series card doesn’t count.

1952 – Joe DiMaggio. No card.  (But a retro card with the 1952 Topps design was made)

1952 Topps DiMaggio

1953 – Lou Boudreau (Bowman)

1953 Bowman Lou Boudreau

1954 – Johnny Mize. No card.

1955 – Johnny Pesky (Bowman)

1955 Bowman Johnny Pesky

1956 – Ralph Kiner. No Card.

1957 – Jackie Robinson. No Card.

1958 – Roy Campanella. No Card.

1959 – Pee Wee Reese. No Card.

1960 – Larry Doby. No Card.

1961 – Ted Williams (Fleer)

1961 Fleer Ted Williams

1962 – Ted Kluszewski (Post)

1962 Post Ted Kluszewski

1963 – Richie Ashburn

1963 Topps Richie Ashburn

1964 – Stan Musial.  No card. (but a retro card was made in 2013 Heritage)

2013 Heritage Real One Musial

1965 – Duke Snider. No Card.

1966 – Warren Spahn. No Card.

1967 – Sandy Koufax. No Card (did have a ’67 Topps Venezuelan retired card).

1967 Topps Venezuelan Koufax

1968 – Whitey Ford. No Card.

1969 – Mickey Mantle

1969 Topps Mantle

1970 – Don Drysdale. No Card.

1971 – Bob Allison. No Card.

1972 – Ernie Banks.  No Card. (But there was a mini card inserted in 2013 Topps)

2013 Topps Banks mini

1973 – Roberto Clemente

1973 topps Clemente

1974 – Willie Mays.  No card (did have a 74 Topps subset).

1974 Topps Willie Mays

1975 – Al Kaline (SSPC – he also had a Topps subset and a ’75 mini design from 2011 Lineage)

1976 SSPC Kaline

1976 – Bob Gibson. No Card.

1977 – Hank Aaron. No Card.

1978 – Brooks Robinson. No Card (did have a subset).

1978 Topps Brooks Robinson

1979 – Wilbur Wood

1979 Topps Wilbur Wood

1980 – Lou Brock. No Card (did have a subset).

1980 Topps Brock Yaz HL

1981 – Willie McCovey (Fleer)

1981 Fleer Willie McCovey

1982 – Bobby Bonds

1982 Topps Bobby Bonds

1983 – Willie Stargell (Donruss & Fleer)

1983 Donruss Stargell

1984 – Johnny Bench (Fleer)

1984 Fleer Johnny Bench

1985 – Joe Morgan

1985 Topps Joe Morgan

1986 – Rod Carew

1986 Topps Rod Carew

1987 – Pete Rose

1987 Topps Pete Rose

1988 – Reggie Jackson (Fleer, Score, Sportflics)

1988 Score Reggie Jackson

1989 – Steve Carlton. No card.

1990 – Mike Schmidt (Donruss)

1990 Donruss Mike Schmidt

1991 – Keith Hernandez (Fleer & Score)

1991 Fleer Keith Hernandez

1992 – Dwight Evans

1992 Topps Dwight Evans

1993 – Gary Carter

1993 Topps Gary Carter

1994 – Nolan Ryan

1994 topps Nolan Ryan

1995 – Goose Gossage (Upper Deck and others)

1995 Upper Deck Gossage

1996 – Kirby Puckett

1996 Topps Kirby Puckett

1997 – Ozzie Smith (Leaf and others)

1997 Leaf Ozzie Smith

1998 – Eddie Murray (Collector’s Choice and others)

1998 Collector's Choice Murray

1999 – Paul Molitor (Fleer and others)

1999 Fleer Tradition Molitor

2000 – Wade Boggs

2000 Topps Wade Boggs

2001 – Will Clark

2001 Topps Will Clark

2002 – Cal Ripken Jr. (Ultra and others)

2002 Ultra Ripken

2003 – Tim Raines (Donruss)

2003 Donruss Tim Raines

2004 – Rickey Henderson (UD Vintage and others)

2004 UD Vintage Henderson

2005 – Roberto Alomar

2005 Topps Roberto Alomar

2006 – Jeff Bagwell

2006 Topps Jeff Bagwell

2007 – Bernie Williams (Upper Deck & Topps Heritage)

2007 UD Bernie Williams

2008 – Barry Bonds. No card.

2009 – Greg Maddux

2009 Topps Maddux

2010 – Randy Johnson

2010 Topps Randy Johnson

2011 – Ken Griffey Jr. (Obak)

2011 Obak Griffey

2012 – Manny Ramirez

2012 Topps Manny

2013 – Chipper Jones (Topps Update SP variation)

2013 Topps Update Chipper Jones

2014 – Mariano Rivera

2014 Topps retiring Rivera

“Lost Cards”: The Year After, 2014

19 03 2014


2014 Topps retiring Rivera Helton

Best Player to retire in 2013.   Mariano Rivera.

Did he have a 2014 card?   Yes, 2013 Topps and some others so far

This is my last and most recent post on this topic.  The list of retired players can’t even be considered final yet.  But Rivera would be the best player to retire, with one possible exception.  He’s been given a few final cards – so far he’s made the Topps set and the Turkey Red set.

Apologies to:   I can’t decide between Roy Halladay and Todd Helton, both of whom officially announced their retirements at the end of 2013.  Topps gave Helton a last card in series 1 this year, but didn’t do so for Halladay. Halladay is in 2014 Turkey Red.  

That major exception?  If this guy’s last game was played at the end of 2013, I’d have to bump him ahead of Rivera no matter how much he’s despised.

2014 Topps series 1 A Rod

“Lost Cards”: The Year After, 2013

19 03 2014


2013 Topps Update Chipper Jones

Best Player to retire in 2012.   Chipper Jones.

Did he have a 2013 card?   Yes, 2013 Topps Update (sort of), among some other Panini offerings

Chipper announced his retirement before the 2012 season and followed through on it – yet his 2013 Topps card comes from Update?  This comes in a bit of a different situation.  Chipper didn’t get a regular Topps card in series 1 or 2, but in the Update set Topps included some retired players as SP variations.  One of them was Chipper, and it shows him in the All-Star game from 2000.  So it’s with a little bit of an asterisk.

Jones also has a card in Panini’s Select and Prizm brands.

Apologies to:   Jim Thome, who didn’t have any 2013 base cards, though he was included in the Chasing history set from Topps that year. 

“Lost Cards”: The Year After, 2012

18 03 2014


2012 Topps Manny

Best Player to retire in 2011.   Manny Ramirez.

Did he have a 2012 card?   Yes, 2012 Topps and mini

Ramirez retired after 5 games with the Rays in 2011 after he had tested positive for PEDs for 2nd time and faced a 100-game suspension.  This one comes with a bit of an asterisk – Ramirez has played minor league baseball at the triple-A level each of the past two seasons for the A’s and Rangers affiliates, as well as a productive stint in the Chinese professional league.  He recently insisted that he isn’t retired yet.

The fact that Manny hadn’t officially retired but didn’t make the majors is what gets him on this list.  It’s also what helped him to have a Topps card – since he played for the A’s in spring training while trying to make the Major League club, he’s shown with a card in their uniform.  Not that Topps used a real A’s photo of Manny – that’s a photo-shopped Dodger card up there!

Apologies to:   As mentioned, this one comes with something of an asterisk, since Manny isn’t retired and has in fact played in minor league and foreign professional baseball.  Assuming Manny never gets back on the MLB diamond, apologies would go to…

Ivan Rodriguez.  Rodriguez retired after a few years with the Nationals when he couldn’t catch on with a team in 2012.  He didn’t have a 2012 base card.  

Vladimir Guerrero also retired when he couldn’t get a contract for the 2012 season.  Topps gave him a record breaker checklist card in the base set, but not a regular card.  He did have a card in 2012 Heritage with his full stat line.

“Lost Cards”: The Year After, 2011

17 03 2014


2011 Topps Trevor Hoffman

Best Player to retire in 2010.   Ken Griffey Jr.

Did he have a 2011 card?   Yes, 2011 Obak.

2011 Obak Griffey

After returning to Seattle, Griffey had a decent 2009 season and helped the Mariners to their first winning record in a while.  He probably should have called it a career there, as he was ineffective in 2010 and retired mid-way through the season without a home run – which would have made him one of 5 players with a homer in 4 different decades (Williams, McCovey, Henderson, Vizquel).

Junior didn’t have too many cards in 2011 – he started making the Topps retired player circuit the next year.  He did have a card from 2011 Obak that showed his lifetime batting average and career hit total.

Apologies to:   Jim Edmonds.  Edmonds also didn’t have any 2011 Topps cards – in fact, he didn’t have any 2011 cards with his whole career line.  

Trevor Hoffman also called it a career after spending 2010 with the Brewers.  He did get a card in the 2011 Topps set with his full career stat line on the back.  He also had a card in Topps Heritage.

“Lost Cards”: The Year After, 2010

17 03 2014


2010 Topps Randy Johnson

Best Player to retire in 2009.   Randy Johnson.

Did he have a 2010 card?   Yes, 2010 Topps and Topps Heritage

Johnson was in the Bronx in 2005 and 2006, winning 17 games both years.  He went back to Arizona for two more years but was hurt in 2007.  He came back in 2008 but wasn’t quite the pitcher he used to be.  Arizona didn’t resign him and he caught on with the Giants for one last season in which he became the most recent 300 game winner.  Some think he may be the last.

2010 began the start of Topps exclusive license with MLB – a recreation of the monopoly Topps had from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  Johnson didn’t have a card in Upper Deck’s litigated release from 2010, but he did get base cards in two Topps sets.

This is also the first year I’ve done where the players aren’t eligible for the Hall of Fame yet.

Apologies to:   Pedro Martinez.  After 4 fairly ineffective seasons with the Mets, Pedro sat out for the first half of the 2009 season, coming back to fill out the rotation of the World Champion Phillies.  He helped them make it to the World Series, though he lost 2 games against the Yankees.  Pedro didn’t have any cards in the 2010 Topps set – he had no cards in 2010 with his full career stat line.  He did get a couple of cards in 2010 Upper Deck’s season biography insert set for his time with the Phillies.

Gary Sheffield also retired after the 2009 season and was featured in 2010 Topps and Heritage like the Big Unit.

“Lost Cards”: The Year After, 2009

15 03 2014


2009 Topps Maddux

Best Player to retire in 2008.   Greg Maddux (Hall of Famer).

Did he have a 2009 card?   Yes, quite a few – including 2009 Topps as shown above

Maddux finished up his career with a second stint in Los Angeles for the end of the 2008 season.  He actually pitched a few relief innings in the postseason under Joe Torre that year.  He finished his career with 355 wins, the most of any player to play exclusively after World War II.

Apologies to:   Frank Thomas (Hall of Famer).  Thomas finished up like Maddux – with a second stint back to a team you wouldn’t remember him with.  After the majority of his career was in Chicago, Thomas went to the A’s, Toronto and then was sent back to Oakland for the end of the 2008 campaign.  Like Maddux, Thomas had a few 2009 cards showing his full statistical prowess.

Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez also finished up their careers in 2008.  It’s not as impressive as the 2007 list, but still an exceptional retirement class!

“Lost Cards”: The Year After, 2008

14 03 2014


2008 Topps Roger Clemens

Best Player to retire in 2007.   Barry Bonds.

Did he have a 2008 card?   No, not a single card

After breaking the career home run record, Bonds wasn’t offered any type of contract extension by the San Francisco Giants after the 2007 season.  The steroid thing had already made him persona non grata.  I remember where I was when he broke the record – in vacation in Myrtle Beach – and how strange it all seemed.  Anyways, nobody else offered him a contract.  His agent made a few comments about collaboration, but the reality was that no team would want the media headache.   If it was too much in San Francisco – where he was still somewhat loved – it would be too much anywhere else.  I think the reason he didn’t have a 2008 card is for a very similar reason – no card company wanted to touch him.  It may have also been due to his retirement – but Topps did have a card of him in 2007 Update commemorating the home run that broke Aaron’s record.  And I’m pretty sure he signed individual contracts – he didn’t have cards in some sets after 2004 (I think because he opted out of the MLBPA agreement or something like that).

2007 Topps Update Bonds

Apologies to:   Roger Clemens.  Clemens took the first half of 2007 off then signed back with the Yankees to finish off the season – to great fanfare!  

I actually saw his last game – an outing in the first round of the LDS where he didn’t last 3 innings.  He and Bonds will be forever linked as part of the steroid era.  If there was a Mount Rushmore for steroids in baseball, it would need to have 5 faces and those would be McGwire, Canseco, Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod.  Sorry there to Palmeiro, Man-Ram and Sosa!  But Clemens and Bonds are unique in that most people believe a) they were Hall of Famers before they started juicing, and b) if you don’t detract from their accomplishments, they are not only the greatest hitter and pitcher of their generation, but maybe of all-time.  This is why they have been getting over 30% of the HOF vote, whereas guys like McGwire and Sosa are closer to dropping off the ballot than to garnering half of the necessary votes.

Clemens did have a 2008 Topps card – you can see that above.  He had a few others, as well.

This is probably the most accomplished retiring class in the history of baseball.  Aside from Clemens and Bonds, Curt Schilling, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Sosa, Kenny Lofton, Steve Finley, Reggie Sanders and David Wells.  The accomplishments of that group are amazing, though obviously there’s some (alleged 🙂 )steroid involvement there.  Regardless of that, consider:

  • Bonds, who holds too many records to count, including the career and season home run record and the season record for OBP and SLG.  He holds the record for 7 MVPs, and probably deserved 9 or 10.
  • Clemens, who won 7 Cy Young awards and 1 MVP.  Along with Greg Maddux and Warren Spahn, he’s one of three hurlers to pitch after WWII to have 350+ wins.  He’s also one of 4 pitchers with over 4,000 strikeouts.
  • Biggio who has 3,000 hits and is the only player of historic notation to play a significant amount of time at 2nd base, catcher and center field.
  • Piazza, the all-time leading home run hitter at catcher.
  • Lofton, who was probably the best leadoff hitter in the 90’s.
  • Between Finley, Sanders and Bonds – all with 300 homers and 300 steals.  That’s 3 of the 8 players in the history of the game who have reached those milestones!
  • A World Series MVP and 3-time champion in Schilling.

“Lost Cards”: The Year After, 2007

13 03 2014


2007 Topps Ryan Howard

Best Player to retire in 2006.   Bernie Williams.

Did he have a 2007 card?   Yes, 2007 Upper Deck and Topps Heritage

2007 UD Bernie Williams

Williams had been a backup outfielder in 2006 for the Yankees, but he wanted to play one more season.  The Yankees offered him a Spring Training invite, but not a guaranteed contract.  He declined and retired at that point.  He got a couple of 2007 cards that show his full stat line.

Apologies to:   Tim Salmon.  Two guys who only played for one franchise – pretty rare in this era.  Also, not the greatest retiring class considering the one that’s coming up next.  Salmon played one last year with the Angels after sitting out the 2005 season due to injury.  He was one of my favorite non-Red players back in the 90’s.  I always think of him with Mike Piazza because they both came along somewhat surprisingly to win the 1993 Rookie of the Year awards.  Salmon didn’t have a single 2007 card.

“Lost Cards”: The Year After, 2006

12 03 2014


2006 Topps Jeff Bagwell

Best Player to retire in 2005.   Jeff Bagwell.

Did he have a 2006 card?   Yes, quite a few including the Topps card shown above

Bagwell had an injured shoulder for a large part of the Astros 2005 march to the National League pennant.  He did come off the DL at the end of the year, but couldn’t throw and thus was only available as a pinch hitter (and a DH in the World Series).  In a strange situation caused by an insurance policy on his contract, Bagwell played a little bit in Spring Training – but never played during the season.  He retired later that year, with his last appearance being the 2 games as DH in the White Sox sweep of the Astros.  Because of this, it’s not surprising he has a few cards in 2006 sets.

Apologies to:   Larry Walker.  These are two guys I really feel deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.  They each have an MVP award and were two of the best players in the National League for a long time.  Walker has a 2006 Topps card and an Upper Deck First Edition card.

Rafael Palmeiro and Kevin Brown also retired in 2005.  I’m not holding steroids against Palmeiro – I think both Bagwell and Walker were the better players, at least if you combine with hobby impact.