Saturday, February 27, 2016

1979 Topps Royals Prospects: Randy Bass, Jim Gaudet, Randy McGilberry

The random number generator has given us our first rookie card from the 1979 set. This is a particularly ugly sub-set. I'm not sure why Topps opted for the greyscale photos but I am thankful it was for one season only. 1979 also marked the return to team-oriented multi-player rookie cards. From 1973-1978 rookies were generally grouped by position instead of team.

Randy Bass hit 22 homers for the Royals' AAA team in Omaha during the 1978 season.  But he was purchased by the Expos before the start of the 1979 season. He spent most of the 1979 season in Denver hitting 36 dingers for Montreal's AAA team. His MLB career is mostly forgettable but his fortune would change when he moved to Japan in 1983. In his first year with the Hanshin Tigers he hit 35 homeruns and in 1985 he slugged an incredible 54 round-trippers just one shy of Sadaharu Oh's single season record.

Although Bass hit a meager  .212 in his 130 MLB games he batted .337 during his 6 seasons in Japan. For his Card That Never Was, I created this 1985 Topps-style card of Bass on the Hanshin Tigers. In 1985 Randy Bass was the Japanese Triple Crown winner and the Central League MVP.


Jim Gaudet is the only one of the three players featured on this card to actually play for the Royals in 1979. Gaudet played a total of  6 MLB games, all for the Royals. He played 3 each in 1978 and 1979 both times as a September call-up. In 1979 he got his one and only MLB hit. It was a 9th inning single off of Rich Gossage in Yankee Stadium. Although he was stranded on base the Royals won 9-8.

For his Card That Never Was, I gave him a solo card from 1978, the year of his only other MLB appearance.


Randy McGilberry's short MLB career began as a September call-up in 1977. In his final game of 1977, McGilberry was called upon in the 14th inning of a 2-2 game against the A's. Ths was the first game of a double-header. After escaping the 14th unscathed he gave up a walk-off homer with 2 outs in the 15th. His next MLB appearance would be in Game 2 of another double-header against the A's but this time it was in July of 1978.

 In all, he pitched 32.2 innings for the Royals in 1977 and 1978.  Although he pitched more in 1978 than 1977, I went with the 1977 Topps set for his Card That Never Was because I had just used the 1978 format for Gaudet.


In 1979 the Royals were coming off their 3rd consecutive Western Division Championship and 3rd consecutive AL Pennant loss to the Yankees.  This was a veteran team with a veteran rotation. So it comes as no surprise that none of these "prospects" made an impact. Bass and McGilberry didn't even play on the Royals in 1979 and Gaudet played in just 3 games.

This card might only appeal to fans of Japanese Baseball as it features Randy Bass as a rookie. Other than that, it doesn't carry much value. My suggestion is to put it in a box. I give it a generous 3.

Friday, February 5, 2016

1959 Topps Chuck Coles

The Topps 1959 Rookie Stars series is notorious for being loaded with player who never made an impact. Chuck Coles is no exception. Chuck Coles was a journeyman minor leaguer. Between 1950 and 1963, he spent 12 seasons on 12 different minor league teams. The only time not spent playing in the minors, was 1953 and 1954 for military duty and the 5 games he played for Cincinnati in 1958.

 He was a career .293 hitter playing first base and the outfield as a minor leaguer. Although he was listed as a first baseman on his 1959 Topps card, he played the outfield in all 29 defensive innings for the 1958 Cincinnati Redlegs. That is why I created this 1958 Hires Root Beer card listing him as an outfielder.

Just another bust from Topps inaugural rookie class. I tried but I could not find any reason to save this one from the spokes. I give it a 1.