Thursday, January 14, 2016

1968 Topps Tigers Rookie Stars: Tom Matchick, Daryl Patterson

For the second time in a row, the random number generator has presented us with a card that features a player who had another rookie card in the previous season.  And once again the earlier card was an error card.

In 1967 Tommy Matchick appeared this Topps Rookie Stars Card. Although his full name is John Thomas Matchick, he normally went by Tom or Tommy. Topps presented the rookie as John in 1967, but that is not the error. The error involves his card-mate George Korince. That is actually the photo of one James Murray Brown. James Brown was a career minor league pitcher in the Tigers system.

The error card was number 72 and in the first series. Topps actually caught their mistake and created a card featuring the real George Korince along with Pat Dobson on number 526 in the sixth series. They even copped to their previous mistake on the back of that card

Matchick himself was a utility infielder who spent portions of 6 seasons in the Majors playing for 5 different teams. In addition to the Tigers he played for the Red Sox, Royals, Brewers and Orioles. Matchick was a member of the 1968 World Series Champion Tigers team. During that season he had a walk-off homer and helped turn a triple play. Matchick was playing shortsop against the Orioles when Boog Powell smashed a line drive to Denny McLain who turned to Tommy who then threw to Norm Cash at first to double then triple off Curt Blefary and Frank Robinson. The Tigers went on to win that game 7-3

In addition to his rookie cards in 1967 and 1968, Matchick appeared on a 1969 Topps card with the Tigers, an 1970 card with the Red Sox, a 1971 card with the Royals, and a 1973  card with the Orioles. So for his Card That Never Was, here is the year and team that Topps skipped over, a 1972 card featuring him on the Brewers. 
Daryl Patterson was a relief pitcher for the Tigers from 1967 to 1971. In '71 he was dealt to Oakland. The A's then sold him to the Cardinals who in turn returned him to the A's all in 1971. He made a return to the Big Leagues as a Pirate in 1974. He went 2-1 in 14 games for Pittsburgh. In a bench clearing brawl versus the Reds, Patterson was bitten in the neck by the "Dominican Dracula", Pedro Borbon.  The melee started in the 4th inning when Reds pitcher, Jack Billingham beaned Pirates pitcher Bruce Kison. Oddly, Borbon was not ejected and even came in to pitch the 9th inning for the Reds while Patterson went to get a tetanus shot.

For his Card That Never Was I made this 1974 Topps card for his comeback attempt with the Pirates. I like this picture of Patterson, and not just because it was taken in Wrigley Field. It's the billboard of that sweet 1974 AMC Matador in the background. 


This card feature a utility infielder and relief pitcher who both played minor roles in a championship season for the Tigers. Both had mostly unremarkable MLB careers after gaining their World Series rings. But it remains a must have card for collectors of the 1968 Tigers so I am going to rate it a 4, "Set Filler".

Friday, January 8, 2016

1965 Topps Phillies Rookie Stars: Dave Bennett, Morrie Steevens

The first rookie card of the new year is from 1965 thanks to the random number generator. This card features two rookie pitcher for the Phillies. For Dave Bennett, this isn't his first rookie card. Topps recycled the same photo from his 1964 rookie card with Rick Wise, shown to the right. The 1964 card features one of my all-time favorite errors on the back. In Bennett's bio, Topps writes "The nineteen-year-old righthanded curveballer is just 18 years old!"  Classic.

Although Bennett would have a long minor league career, he was literally one and done in the majors. Just to clarify, at the time of his 1964 rookie card and his one-and-only MLB appearance, he was actually 18 years old. He came into the ninth inning of a game started by his older brother Dennis Bennett. The game was a 11-3 rout at the hands of the New York Mets. In all, the Phillies put 7 different pitchers on the mound including Bennett's 1964 rookie card-mate, Rick Wise. Bennett gave up one run on a wild pitch to Roy McMillan.

Normally two rookie cards are more than enough for a player who has only one MLB inning. But that's just not how I roll. So here is a 1964 Topps Giant Card That Never Was for Dennis Bennett's kid brother.


Morrie Steevens (not a typo) made his MLB debut in 1962 with the Cubs. The year of  this rookie card (his only baseball card), 1965, was also the year he made his final MLB appearance. Like his card-mate Bennett, Steevens had a long minor-league career but saw limited MLB action. He was 0-2 in just over 20 innings of play. He was, however, 86-80 as a minor leaguer from 1958-1967.  For his Card That Never Was, I made this 1962 Topps individual rookie card from his first MLB season.


Not much redeeming value to this card. The 2 pitchers on this card pitched a total of 3.2 innings in 1964. Dave Bennett didn't pitch at all in 1965 and Morrie Steevens pitch 2.2 innings. Really the only thing keeping it out of my bicycle spokes is Bennett's comical bio. And that isn't even on this card. It's on his 1964 rookie card. Topps couldn't even find a new picture of him for the 1965 card. I give it a 2, good for flipping.