Thursday, March 26, 2015

1963 Topps Rookie Stars: Bill Faul, Ron Hunt, Bob Lipski, Al Moran


Here is another randomly selected 4 player rookie card. These always make for nice, long posts. This one is from 1963 and includes 2 players from the Mets.


The first player is Tigers pitcher Bill Faul. Bill  was named to the Baseball Digest All-Flake team in 1985. He was rumored to have bitten the heads off live parakeets and eaten toads to put some "hop" into his pitches. He wore the number 13 for the Tigers and the Cubs and hypnotized himself before games. Don't just take my word for it.  Look at the cartoon from the back of his 1966 Topps card. 


Aside from alleged flakery, Bill was an All-American pitcher in college in 1961. He was drafted by the Tigers in 1962 and made his first appearance on the Big-League club that year. In 1963 he went 5-6, and spent most of 1964 in the minors before being sold to the Cubs. Although he had Topps cards in 1964 and 1966, he was skipped over in 1965. So here is a 1965 Topps Bill Faul Card That Never Was: 


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Ron Hunt was the Rookie of the Year runner up to Pete Rose in 1963. In all fairness, Rose got 85% of the vote to Hunt's 10%. But Hunt put up decent numbers his rookie year and in 1964 was the starting 2nd baseman in the All Star game. Hunt is best known for his willingness to take one for the team. He led the league in Hit-By-Pitches 7 consecutive years. In 1971 he was hit 50 times, just 1 shy of Hughie Jennings all-time record while playing for the Baltimore Orioles in 1896. 

Ron hunt played for the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, Expos and Cardinals from 1963-1974. Topps managed to include him in every set, so I had to stretch things a bit for his Card That Never Was. Hunt was claimed off waivers from the Expos by the Cards in September of 1974. Obviously Topps would not have made 1974 Traded card for a September transaction. But I would. Topps did make a 1975 card of Hunt in a Cardinals uniform, but he retired during spring training when St. Louis wanted to cut his pay.


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Bob Lipski's entire MLB career consisted of 2 innings and 1 at-bat. He struck out. He was signed by the Indians as part of a rule 5 draft in 1963. Since he wasn't used he had to be returned to the Phillies. Even though he was quite literally one and done, I created a second rookie card for him for his Card That Never Was. 


 I teamed him up with a player who made his MLB debut in 1964 and a childhood favorite of mine. Walt "No Neck" Williams. I chose "No Neck" for two reasons. First, that sweet Colt .45's uni and second the great nickname. Harry Caray once refered to the outfield of Walt Williams, Pat Kelly and Carlos May as "No Neck, No Arm and No Thumb." Carlos May had his thumb blown of as an Marine Reserve.

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Another Mets middle-infielder, Al Moran also graces this card. Moran was "the player to be named later" in the 1962 trade that sent the Red Sox's first black player, Pumpsie Green, to the Mets for Felix Mantilla.  In his rookie year, Moran hit .193 for the Mets as their primary shortstop. In 1964 he was replaced by Roy McMillan, a former gold glover who was 9 years older and batted a mere .211. Moran played only 16 games for the Mets in 1964 then spent the next 2 years in the minors.

Al Moran's entire two-year MLB career is fully documented by Topps with cards of him in both the 1963 and 1964 sets. So for his Card That Never Was, I created a 1963 Fleer card of him.


And now to grade the card.  Bob Lipski never even had a full "cup of coffee" in the Majors and Al Moran batted under the Mendoza Line in his only full season. But Bill Faul was a bonus-baby back in the day and was immortalized in Baseball Digest as a member of the "All-Flake Team". And then there is Ron Hunt. The first Met to start in an All Star Game and is still a fan favorite in NY. The fact that there are 2 Mets from their 2nd year in existence including a genuine All Star and I have to grade it a 5: "Trade Bait". And I'm looking at you, Warren.


2 comments:

  1. lmao. Just saw this. I would have started at 6 cuzza the two Mets ;)

    Great cards, especially the Hunt traded. And a '63 Fleer for Moran! Niiiice.

    Walt "No Neck" Williams. lol

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  2. John,
    i love the idea of making cards that never were that go along with all of the Topps rookie cards. I think between you, Bob Lemke, and a few others that it could be possible to give every MLB player from '51 to '80 a Topps card. Keep up the great work.
    -Jeremy

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