Sunday, March 10, 2019

Cards That Never Were #63

1970 Topps - Van Kelly

Van signed with the Milwaukee Braves before the 1964 season. He stayed in their minor league system until a trade to the San Diego Padres on June 13, 1969. Kelly appeared in seventy-three games for the Padres in 1969, mostly as a backup to third baseman Ed Spiezio and a pinch hitter. He hit .244 that year for San Diego. Normally, this would warrant a card in next year's Topps set, but it never happened. In fact, the only cards listed for Van are both from 1971. A '71 team issue Padres card and a '71 team issue Richmond Braves card.

Kelly found himself in thirty-eight games with the Padres in 1970, now as the Opening Day starting third baseman. The love didn't last very long, as his last MLB game in the field was on June 1, 1970, for an inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. His last MLB game was a pinch hitting appearance on June 12, 1970 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1971, Van was on the Richmond Braves, but not the Padres. There was no transaction listed for that move, so I can only wonder how he came back to the Braves organization.

Sometime, during mid-season 1973, Kelly went from the Braves minor league system to the White Sox minor league system. Then in 1974, he was in the Montreal Expos system until 1975. In 1975, Van became the inaugural manager of the Lethbridge Expos.

In my research, I found that my initial card creation of Van's 1970 card came extremely close to another card creation by Giovanni Balistreri in April 2014, so I changed my card to the one above. My original card is pictured below, which you can see uses the same photo as the card from 2014, except for a few minor tweaks. Great minds think alike. Also, when creating custom cards using old designs for "Cards That Never Were", there are only so many good quality photographs out there to use and with players that have limited MLB time, there are only so many cards that can be considered lost without losing the integrity of this type of project.

If unbeknownst to me, if I create a similar card to one that I discover after the fact, I'll change it if I can, because I don't want to step on other people's toes. It's a fun project that we're all doing and it should be kept that way. If there's no other way around it, I'll still show off my card, but I'll definitely acknowledge the previous effort.

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