Thursday, April 23, 2015

1967 Topps Indians Rookie Stars: Bill Davis, Gus Gil

On my very first "Rating the Rookies" post, back when it was a running theme on my other blog, Cards That Never Were, I received a comment from Greg F. - "Check out a player named Bill Davis. He appeared on no less than FIVE rookie cards in consecutive years from 1965 to 1969.  If there is one vintage player who could use his own Card That Never Was - it's him." 

 I think it should be obvious by the mere fact that I have not generated a rookie card of a single superstar, much less a Hall of Famer, that these selections are almost cruelly random.  I knew the random number generator would eventually ring up one of his many rookie cards, but I didn't think it would be so soon after receiving the comment. In case you were wondering, here are Bill Davis's other 4 rookie cards:

You might have noticed that Topps re-used his 1967 photo in 1968 and re-used his 1966 photo in 1969.  Nicknamed the "Jolly Green Giant", Bill Davis is listed at 6' 7" on Topps made note of his size on both his 1967 and 1969 card, although he seemed to have shrunk an inch in 1969. Topps also noted the 33 homers he hit in Portland in 1965 on the back every card from 1966-1969. Needless to say, he never came close to repeating those numbers.

As for Bill's 1967 season, there wasn't one. He spent the entire season on the DL. After his 1968 season in the minors, he was traded to the Padres for former MVP Zoilo Versalles, who the Padres had picked up in the expansion draft. Unfortunately, Davis' career in San Diego was short-lived. His final MLB game was on May 21, 1969.  Even though he never played an out in 1970, I have to agree with Greg F. - after 5 rookie cards he deserves a card of his own. So here is his Card That Never Was from 1970:


Gus Gil was also a member of an expansion team in 1969. He was purchased by the Pilots and played on their unofficial minor league team in 1968, the Seattle Angels. He was a utility infielder who saw most of his work at 2nd base other than his one year on the Pilots. A career .186 hitter, Gus hit above .200 in only one season, 1969. His final MLB game was for the Brewers in June of 1971.

Aside from this 1967 rookie card, his only other card was a high number card in 1969 and one of the few non-airbrushed Pilots cards in the set. For his Card That Never Was, I used the 1971 format so that I could show him in a Brewers uniform.

All in all, this card is a bust. 2 players who hit in the .180's and between the 2 only had one solo card. Both were fortunate enough to get a second look by expansion teams in 1969 but neither went anywhere with it. In the year the card was issued, Gil hit .115 for the Tribe and Davis spend the year on the disabled list. Go ahead and put this one in your spokes, I grade it a 1.

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