Monday, August 20, 2012

More 1969 Issues...The Old Teams

I was mentioning earlier about how Topps handled the four expansion teams in 1969, but they had some issues with some of the other teams, as well. One had moved, while the other was problematic for a few years.

The first team was the Oakland A's. 1968 was the first year they played in Kansas City, but due to the ongoing issue that Topps was having with the players' union, many of the cards still showed them in 1967, which meant that the "KC" logo was still on their hats and needed to be airbrushed.

Here's an example of a hat that was altered, even when a coach in the background didn't get the same treatment:

Card #217 -- John Donaldson, Oakland A's

The hats were either given a black block or had green to cover the newer insignia with an "A" on it. This one shows the "ghost" of that logo:

Card #68 -- Dave Duncan, Oakland A's

However, by the end of the year, the legal issues with the union were resolved and the logo was used on the cards for all to see:
Card #655 -- Mike Hershberger, Oakland A's

This issue presented itself on the leaders card as well, as Danny Cater has a picture showing him in an obvious White Sox uniform even though he'd been with the A's since 1966:

Card #1 -- American League Batting Leaders

Other teams were bothered as well. Here's Ken Harrelson, listed as a Red Sox player but clearly wearing a Washington Senators uniform:

Card #5 -- American League Home Run Leaders

Now for the team that had been presenting Topps with problems...the Houston Astros. Originally called the Colt .45s, they were simply called the Colts on their early cards. When they changed the team name to Astros before the '65 season, Topps referred to the team as simply "Houston" in the early series and changing things up later; they were called Astros but all the cap were airbrushed, except for the one rookie card. In '66 and '67, there seems to have been some trouble with the name, as they were once again called "Houston."

In 1968 and '69, the team was still referred to as "Houston" but all the traces of the cap logo were eliminated from the photos. The blogs 1968 Topps and The Fleer Sticker Project delve a little deeper here.

So this was continued in 1969:
Card #76 -- Norm Miller, Houston Astros

The logo returned late in the season, but the name "Astros" would have to wait until 1970 before it was back for good:

Card #656 -- Dan Schneider, Houston Astros

By the time the 1969 season came to a close, things returned to normal...Topps was back to making its own mistakes on cards, such as using a picture of a 14-year old batboy of the card of a legitimate major leaguer:

Card #653 -- "Aurelio Rodriguez," California Angels

And only blacking out the logos of traded players:

Card #565 -- Hoyt Wilhelm, California Angels


  1. Your dates are off a bit. The 1966 ans '67 cards clearly show them as "Astros" on the uniforms and the team name on the card. The "Houston" business was limited to the '68 and '69 sets.

    The issue in the 1965 set was that the team changed their name too late for it to he reflected in the early series. Later 1965 series show the changed name.

    Issues between Topps and the union prevented players from being photographed, which explains the proliferation of old photos in the 1968 (and to a lesser extent, the '69 set).

    I think the airbrushing of the 1968 and early 1969 Athletics photos were due to the team moving to Oakland, and not enough time to get new photos (the same with the 4 expansion teams). By mid-1969, new photos were used for Oak, Sea, KC, Mtl, and SD players.

  2. And that's why I included two two links, Jim. I figured I'd get something wrong there.

  3. Here is a link to the PSA site that claims a lawsuit by the Monsanto company, makers of Astroturf is the cause of all the missing logos, etc. There is no link to back that up but it seems as good a story as any. I do remember the dispute but have no memory of the Topps cards involvement.