Friday, May 20, 2016

1971 Topps Brewers Rookie Stars: Bernie Smith, George Kopacz

The random number generator can be fickle. Last post featured Hall of Famer, Steve Carlton's rookie card. This time it's two players that were one-and-done in Topps opinion.


Bernie Smith played in the Mets minor league system from 1962-1969. He was traded to the Pilots in December of 1969, but the Pilots broke spring training and went to Milwaukee instead. In 1970 he hit .330 with 13 homers in 98 games for the Brewers AAA team, the Portland Beavers. In July he was brought up to the show and hit a respectable .276 in 44 games. But in 1971 he was unable to hit his weight in 15 games. By the end of April he was back on the farm.
For his Card That Never Was, I put him on a 1970 Topps card in his Pilot's uniform. Although he never played a regular season game for the Pilots, the Brewers played the spring training exhibition games as the Pilots. 


George Kopacz never actually played for the Brewers. He was sent to the Brewers from Pittsburgh in a conditional deal in October of 1970. Milwaukee marked him "Return to Sender" in March of 1971. Kopacz was a 30 year old with 11 years of minor league experience by 1971. He had also played 6 games at the end of 1966 for the Braves and another 10 games in September of 1970 for the Pirates.
 In 1970 Kopacz was co-MVP of the International League along with Roger Freed. He was you classic solid minor leaguer. He hit .281 and 154 homers over his 14 year career but just never successfully made the jump to the big leagues. For his Card That Never Was, I made a 1970 Topps card of him on the Pirates. He played 10 of his 16 big league games for Pittsburgh in 1970.


Not much to say about this one. For both players this was their one and only MLB baseball card. Kopacz didn't play in the Majors in 1971 at all and Smith hit .139 through April 28th. After which he was sent back down never to return. Put it in your spokes because I give it a 1.

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