Thursday, August 2, 2012

August 2

1968 Topps #209 - Tim Cullen

On this day in 1968, the Chicago White Sox sent Tim Cullen to the Washington Senators for Ron Hansen.

The first strange thing you'll notice about this trade is that Cullen and Hansen were swapped for each other before. Back in February 1968. By the White Sox and the Senators. Tim was on the Senators and went to the White Sox on February 13, 1968 along with Buster Narum and Bob Priddy in a deal that sent Ron Hansen to the Senators with Dennis Higgins and Steve Jones. The August 2, 1968 trade between the Senators and the White Sox sent Cullen and Hansen back to their respective teams.

The second strange thing about this trade that you'll notice, if you are a card collector, is that neither Tim Cullen or Ron Hansen have White Sox cards in the 1968 set. They both have cards for the Washington Senators. How could that be?

It all has to due with the year that Topps had in 1968. Topps released their 1968 set in seven series, which meant that the cards were spread out. That can only explain away so much though. The real issue was a fight between Topps and the MLBPA. Due to that, the 1968 set contains a lot of creative choices and oddities. Topps could not update many of their photographs, so most players were featured in old teams, or without hats, or closely cropped photos or in some cases, blacked out hats. The photographs in most of the set are actually from 1966 or earlier! The card of Cullen was early enough in the series run (#209) that the possibility of the card was actually printed before the trade loomed large. That would explain his presence as a Senator and not in a closely cropped head shot with a blacked out hat. Hansen's card is a closely cropped hatless photo. The pinstripe White Sox uniform could be mistaken for the Senators uniform. Ron's card (#411) was late enough in the series run that his card could reflect the February trade. Essentially you get two players that switched teams, and then switched back in the same year, both with cards for the same team.


Jim from Downingtown said...

Topps did that for every year prior to 1974. Some of the late-series cards even have a note or two on the back about something that occurred in the current season (usually a trade or demotion).

Although Cullen's position is listed as 2B-SS, he is the shortstop on the Topps all-rookie team (as Rod Carew was the 2nd baseman).

Steve Gierman said...

Thanks for clarifying further! :-)

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