Saturday, June 19, 2021

#173 Detroit Tigers Team Card

Beginning in 1956 and going all the way through to 1981, with a one year absence in 1969, Topps included team cards in its flagship sets.

Building the Set
May 13, 2021 from Marco Island, FL - Card #264
After adding a number of star cards in April, I decided I should focus on a group of commons for our set in May.  I set out specifically to add reasonably priced cards from the set's second series and I found a few eBay sellers running specials on recent set breaks.  In total, I added 23 cards over three-day period with this Tigers team card coming from Super Bowl Auctions located in Marco Island, Florida for $10.  It was one of the three non-common cards I added in this mini-haul, and the third most expensive.  As of this writing, and after adding a few star cards late in May, I'm one elusive card away from having a complete second series.

The Card / Tigers Team Set
Kudos to Topps for using a recent team photo for this card, and my internet research shows this is a photo actually taken during the 1964 season.  Equally impressive is that Topps only used this team photo once, forsaking their usual practice of using the same photo for multiple years in a  row.  Since only pitchers with decisions in 1964 are listed on the back, Dick Egan, who appeared in 23 games but went 0-0, is omitted.

1964 Topps #67
1966 Topps #583
1967 Topps #378
1968 Topps #528

1965 Season
Manager Chuck Dressen (#538) suffered a heart attack during spring training and coach Bob Swift managed the club through its first 42 games.  Dressen returned at the end of May and guided the Tigers to a fourth place finish, with the club going 65-55 under his watch.  Overall, the team went 89-73 in a fairly forgettable season, although they would find World Series glory three seasons later in 1968.

First baseman Norm Cash (#153) was the team's MVP, batting .266 with a team-leading 30 home runs and 83 RBIs.  Left fielder Willie Horton (#206) led the team with 104 RBIs and center fielder Al Kaline (#130) had another productive season, batting .281 with 18 home runs and 72 RBIs.  The pitching was mediocre, with Denny McClain (#236) leading the staff with 16 wins and Mickey Lolich (#335) right behind him with 15 wins.  Terry Fox (#576) served as the team's closer and he recorded 10 saves.

Update Cards
For each team card featured, I'll be building a checklist of cards that could have been included in a 1965 Topps update set.  The Tigers are extremely well-represented in the 1965 Topps set, and it was harder to build an update checklist for them than for most other teams.  I'm trying to come up with six potential cards for each team, and for the Tigers I only came up with five:
  • Bob Swift CO - The Tigers coach would have to take the helm again in 1966 when Dressen once again fell ill.  He previously received a coach's card in the 1954 Topps set, and he'd appear on a floating heads coach's card with the Senators in the 1960 Topps set.
  • Jim Northrup - Right fielder Northrup shared a Rookie Stars card with Ray Oyler (#259), but I'd give him his own solo card in the update set.
  • Mickey Stanley - Stanley would play with the Tigers for 15 seasons and his rookie card appears in the 1966 set.  He appeared in 30 games with the club in 1965, and he'd go on to win four Gold Gloves for his solid defense in center field.
  • Orlando Pena - Reliever Pena appears with the Athletics in the set (#311), but he'd pitch in 30 games for the Tigers after the club selected him off waivers in June.
  • Ron Nischwitz - And finally, it's a stretch, but I've give a card to reliever Nischwitz who appeared in 20 games.  He'd appear on a card with the Tigers in the 1966 Topps set.
Baseball Reference

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