Wednesday, June 27, 2012

1969 Retreads, Part 1

I recently picked up some 1969 Topps cards for my collection and was reminded about the pictures used in the set. Thanks to expansion and a possible fight with the players' union, Topps used photos from the past and pretty much avoided anything that was taken in 1968 at all.

Here's one of the cards:

Tommie Aaron should be the subject of his own post. He was the younger brother of his teammate Hank Aaron, whose presence in the Braves' outfield was one of the reasons he didn't get more playing time. There's quite a family resemblance; I often wonder how many pulled this card out of the pack in 1969 and mistakenly thought they got Hank Aaron's card instead.

As it turned out, the image was several years old:

 It was used in 1963 as well.


  1. That's really interesting. Why would it be that the possible player's strike would impact the photo selection? Had they moved to an agreement with the players' association by that point or were they still signing contracts player by player?

  2. It wasn't a player strike. After the 1968 season, Marvin Miller directed the players to refuse signing new contracts with Topps. It was a method of getting Topps to deal with the union, rather than through the individual contracts as in the past.

    Before that, Topps told Miller he didn't have the "muscle" to challenge them. However, by the time the 1969 season was underway, Topps had to call Miller and say "We see your muscle."

    Without the contract renewals, Topps was forced to use the pictures they already had (as they still had the rights to the images), but saw that the contracts would dry up entirely in a couple of years of so.

  3. OK, my thought was that the opening of Ball Four talks about possible labour action heading into the '69 season and I thought maybe there was a tie.

    So was every set done after '69 made through deals with the PA?

  4. The deal still needed to be made, and it was contentious. It probably took a few years (1973 sounds about right, but my reference doesn't give a solid date). The new deal not only doubled the money each player received to $250, but it gave a percentage of Topps' sales to the MLPBA.

    During the 1960s, the stipend played to players by Topps was called "Steak money," and by the 1970s it was called "Marvin money" since Miller was the one who secured the deal.