Saturday, June 25, 2016

1965 Topps Red Sox Rookie Stars: Rico Petrocelli, Jerry Stephenson

After a few busy weeks, we are back with a rookie card from the 1965 Red Sox. Oddly both players made their debut in 1963. Both played in just one game. Then both spent the entire 1964 season in the minors.


When Rico Petrocelli returned to the big leagues in 1965 he was the opening day starting shortstop. He displaced Eddie Bressoud who represented the Red Sox in the 1964 All Star Game.  He hit a paltry .231 for the triple A Seattle Rainiers in 1964. But those numbers are misleading. Petrocelli was a top prospect and they were hoping he could become a switch hitter. Evidently, it didn't take. 

Petrocelli wasn't a Hall of Famer but he was a two time All Star and a fan favorite. His number 6 is retired by the Red Sox. Not in honor of him but rather Johnny PeskyBill Buckner also wore that number in the ill-fated 1986 World Series before that number was retired. Petrocelli was the starting shortstop for the American League in the 1967 and 1969 All Star Games. 

Topps didn't make All Star cards in 1967 (but I did, click here). Topps had a tendency to play fast and loose with the rules when it came to who appeared on the All Star cards in the '50s and '60s. I figured, since he was the starting shortstop in 1967 and 1969 and Topps had him on the 1970 All Star card, I should make this 1968 Topps All Star Card That Never Was for him.

Jerry Stephenson was a pitching prospect that was signed right after high school to a contract with the Boston Red Sox. It didn't hurt that his dad, Joe Stephenson was a former Major League catcher and coincidentally the scout for the Reds Sox that recruited him. In 1964 he was 6-4 for the Seattle Rainiers and led the Pacific Coast League with a 1.57 ERA. But he sustained an elbow injury that hampered his performance for the rest of his career. He played up until 1973 going back and forth to the minors. After he retired, he followed in his fathers footsteps and became a scout for the Red Sox.
Jerry had Topps cards from 1965-1969 on the Red Sox, then again in 1971 on the Dodgers. Since he was an original Pilot, his Card That Never Was is another 1969 Topps card. This time playing for Seattle.


This is a tough card to grade for me. I like this card. Rico Petrocelli was a Fenway hero, a solid performer until his retirement in 1976. It's not quite "binder worthy". It could be "trade bait" now that I know someone who collects all of the 1967 Red Sox. But I think this falls somewhere in between. I'll give it a 6 for "Guilty Pleasure" even though I don't feel guilty at all for liking this card. 


  1. Rico was definitea fan favorite. Love the 68 allstar card.

  2. John,

    I think Topps featured whoever The Sporting News selected as their all-stars the previous year, which was not necessarily who was selected to the starting lineup for the game.

    1. In theory only. Like I said, Topps played fast and loose with the rules when it came to all stars. Without going into a play-by-play just look at the 1968 Topps Joe Morgan All Star. In 1967 the SN All Star and actual All Star was Maz. In 1968 Helms was both SN and actual. In neither year was Morgan even an All Star reserve and wasn't selected to either SN all star list.

      Here is a link to the all-time Sporting News All Stars list. This is something only baseball geeks (like me) would find interesting.