Thursday, May 28, 2015

1973 Topps Rookie First Basemen: Enos Cabell, Pat Bourque, Gonzalo Marquez

After breaking "Rookie Stars" down by team from 1964-1972 (with a few exceptions), Topps returned to multi-team rookie cards in 1973. Another unique feature of the 1973 rookie cards was that the infielders were broken down by position. More often then not Topps would just designate the card as "Rookie Infielders". 


Enos Cabell is better known as Houston's 3rd baseman than a 1st baseman in Baltimore. He spent 7 1/2 of his 15 MLB seasons in an Astros "Tequila Sunrise" jersey. He is still affiliated with the Astros. He is listed on their page as "Special Assistant to the General Manager".

Cabell is also remembered as part of the infamous Pittsburgh Drug Trials. Unlike the steroid era hearings 2 decades later, these hearings were about cocaine. Cabell and 6 others were initially suspended for the 1986 season for allegedly being long-time users and for facilitating distribution of drugs to other players. The suspension was ultimately lifted in exchange for community service, donations to substance abuse charities and voluntary drug testing.  

As long as we're on the subject of drug use in baseball (of the non-performance-enhancing variety), I would be remiss if I didn't mention "No No: A Dockumentary". It is the story of Dock Ellis which includes interviews of several players including Enos Cabell. If you are geeky enough to have read this far into this post, I guaranty you will enjoy this film.

Back to Enos, he was a September call-up in 1972. Although he went 0-5 with the Orioles, Topps thought enough of him to give him top billing on this rookie card in 1973. However in 1974 he had no card at all. So for his Card That Never Was, the choice was easy. 


In an odd coincidence, Pat Bourque and the player to the right of him on this card, Gonzalo Marquez were traded for each other. Yup the Cubs and the A's traded left-handed, back-up first basemen for each other. Straight up, not part of some crazy 6 player trade with players to be named later or any other nonsense. The winner in that trade was Bourque. He ended up with a World Series ring.

In August of 1974 he would be traded to the Twins straight-up for another left-handed hitting back-up first baseman, Jim Holt. He was traded back to the A's at the end of the season for 2 minor leaguers. Unfortunately, Bourque never made the 1975 team and spent the next 4 seasons in the Mexican League.

For his Card That Never Was I considered making a 1974 Topps Traded card depicting him on the Twins but decided instead to make it a 1975 card. Bourque actually has a 1975 card showing him back on the A's. I just have to wonder, if he hadn't been traded back to the A's what would his 1975 card look like?  


Gonzalo Marquez made his MLB debut as Oakland was in the home stretch for the division title in 1972. During that stretch he was primarily used as a pinch hitter and batted .381. In the post-season Marquez really shined. He appeared in 8 games as a pinch hitter collecting 5 hits for a .625 batting average. By the time he was traded in 1973 his batting average for the A's was .240.  His numbers with the Cubs were even worse. He hit .224 for the remainder of the 1973 season. In 1974 he went 0 for 11 and spent most of the season in the minors.

His 1974 numbers didn't merit a 1975 card and Topps rightly didn't include him in that set. That being said, I found a nice photo of him and made a card for him anyway. It's what I do.


This card is slightly more interesting than I thought at first glance. Even so, it doesn't merit any more than a second glance, then put it back in the box. I give it a 3 and I kinda feel that was generous. 

1 comment:

  1. I seem to remember Gonzalo Marques being part of this Charlie Finley-devised scheme:

    For a stretch of games one season, whenever the A's were the visiting team, Gonzalo Marquez would be one of the first 3 batters in the lineup (insuring an at-bat in the 1st inning), and listed as the nominal 2nd baseman. For the bottom of the 1st inning, the A's would replace him in the lineup with the team's actual regular 2nd baseman Dick Green (who I guess had a weaker bat than Marquez).