Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cards That Never Were #59

1977 Topps - Rich Gossage

Topps likes to pretend that all teams except for the Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs don't exist sometimes. Case in point: Rich "Goose" Gossage. If you look at the history of Gossage only through the flagship Topps series, Rich went from the White Sox in 1977 to the Yankees in 1978. The problem? Goose was last on the White Sox in 1976 and didn't get to the Yankees until 1978, yet he played in 1977. Gossage likely would have gotten a Pirates card in 1978 from Topps, if he went to almost any other team but the Yankees.

I'll give credit where credit is due and let Topps keep the 1978 Yankees card, but I'll throw in a 1977 Pirates card to make up for skipping a team that Gossage was with for an entire season.


Anonymous said...

Sorry this is a comment to such an old post, but I just saw it today and felt like I needed to respond.

I am not so sure about your comment about it having to do with the Yankees as the only reason Gossage was on the Yankees for his 1978 topps card.

If that logic were correct, then shouldn't Mike Torrez be on the Yankees for his 1978 card also (instead of his new team, the Red Sox)? Doesn't having ANY reason to have the team be the "Yankees" on the card trump any other reason for another team? Especially considering in 1977 Torrez had just thrown a complete game in the last game of the World Series and has one of the most enduring images from that series (catching the final out on the bunt pop-up and jumping around in celebration). Torrez too pitched for a team in 1977 that was never represented in a card, the Yankees (1977 topps had him on the A's and 1978 topps had him on the Red Sox). I am not sure why it is such a big deal for Gossage, but not for Torrez. - Tom M.

Steve Gierman said...

Tom, glad to hear from you, even on such an old post. :-)

The verbiage in the post is a comment on Topps "East Coast" bias. If Torrez had gone to the Milwaukee Brewers instead of the Boston Red Sox, he would have likely been pictured as a Yankee. If Gossage had gone to the Minnesota Twins instead of the Yankees, he might have had a Pirates card in the 1978 set.

I'm not saying that there is a definite pattern to Topps logic, but there are certain teams that take an unofficial precedence when Topps chooses whether or not to airbrush certain players into new teams. Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox are usually in the top tier.

It's not a foolproof blanket statement, but it does happen more often than not.

Sorry if that rubbed you the wrong way. Thanks for reading!

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