Sunday, July 21, 2013

Connecting Bob Gibson and Roger Maris with Danny Tartabull and Werewolves - 1968 Topps #154

I happened upon this card at a really great price that made it too difficult to pass up.   It was vintage, it featured Bob Gibson and it marked a specific event in baseball history - so I'm lying.   I was powerless to resist regardless of the price.   Here's the front of the card:

Clearly, a beautiful dame's lipstick is visible in the lower right....

I go back and forth on the '68 design.   It is loved by many but hated as well - I suppose I am somewhere in between, but it carries the trump aspect of being from 1968 regardless of design.   I do appreciate the vintage television screen viewing frame that Topps uses here, showing a zoomed-in look at Gibson chucking some serious heat towards a batter.   I can't imagine facing that guy!   This particular copy is in pretty good shape.   The centering is jacked up a bit (technical term) and there's a weird red coloring on the bottom right, but the corners are good and everything is legible - which is what matters the most to me.

As the card proclaims, Gibson tossed a shutout in Game 4 of the '67 Series to put the Cards in a 3-1 game lead.   The evil Red Sox would go on to stretch the Series to a full 7 games, but we all know how it ended.   The Cardinals were the much more experienced team in the Series but the Sox certainly showcased some impressive talent in Lonborg, Yastrzemski, Siebern and even an aging Elston Howard.  I didn't know that?!   Must research Elston's time in enemy territory a bit closer....

Anyways, the Series featured pitchers like Lonborg and Gibson along with some young fellow named Steve Carlton.   Gibson's shutout is truly worthy of note with this card as he held the Sox to only 5 hits but I wonder if there was a similar highlight card for Mr. Lonborg's 1-hit shutout complete game over St. Louis in Game 2?   If not, it would certainly be a shame.

I have a strong affinity for the '67 Series because it plays out for me as the swan song for Roger Maris.  He was already well into a steady (but respectable) decline towards retirement by the fall of '67 but he brought his batting average up above .250 for the first time in three seasons to contribute to the Cardinals' domination of the senior circuit that season.   Even better, Maris batted .385 for the Series with a home run, 7 RBI and 10 hits - a stat line that was only SLIGHTLY bested by teammate, Lou Brock.   Lou DID have three additional at-bats....just saying.

But yes, Roger did go DEEP in Game 5, providing the lone run in Steve Carlton's losing effort.  

Here's the back of the Gibson highlight card:

More lipstick.   Or Tartabull blood?

Yep, that's a Tartabull you see there on the Red Sox lineup.   How sweet is that?   Confirmed by my crack investigative google skills, Jose Tartabull IS the father of junk wax-era legend, Danny Tartabull.   There's something special about bringing a 1968 Topps card that highlights the '67 World Series full circle back around to a rookie card in my '86 Topps Traded Set.   Thanks to for sharing the image.  

Did you know about the book written about Danny's old man's putout from right field, late in the '67 season?   It involves werewolves and was written in 2001.   WHAT?!  Apparently those BeanTown types are good for some decent lore every once in awhile.

I say it often but never enough - I love this hobby.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Ryan,

    Here are all the WS cards: