1967 Topps Venezuelan Retirado #174 - Ted Lyons
Part of the reason that MLB has such an influx of players from Latin America is that Topps issued baseball card sets in Venezuela for many years. Some would be virtual clones of that year's existing set. Others would feature Venezuelan teams. In 1967, Topps took that a step further.
The middle series of the Venezuelan 1967 series featured retired players. With a focus on Hall of Fame players and local interests, the Retirado set is perhaps the most unique set of the sixties. It's impossible to find one of these cards in gem mint condition. A lower print run is a factor, but the most obvious cause of the lower condition is that these cards were regularly pasted into albums. They were also issued in a non-English speaking country over a thousand miles away from the United States.
Despite the low grade quality of the design and color choice, there is an odd appeal to the card. The picture of Ted Lyons reminds me of an old newspaper photo. The bright blue background is an odd choice against the cut out photo. The "Retirado" label at the bottom is reminiscent of the 1967 Topps design, but the player name looks out of place among the other elements. The color choices remind me of older 3D glasses. I'm half expecting Ted Lyons to jump off of the card in an unconvincing way.
I love running across oddball cards like this. The chance of me ever owning one are slim to none, but I can still admire it from afar.