Monday, September 1, 2008

Card That Makes You Go...What??! of the Week: 2004 Topps #531 Robby Hammock

So if Miguel Olivo was voted by MLB managers in 2003 to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team, why does Robby Hammock also have the Trophy logo on his card???

At the end of the 2003, as has been the practice since 1959, Topps asked the 30 MLB managers who their picks were for the All-Star Rookie Team. Players bestowed this honor would get the prestigious ASR trophy logo on their card.

The following players were voted onto the team by the managers:

The initial debates sparked online when this roster was announced was where was Hideki Matsui's name, and why was he not on this list? The answers ranged anywhere from "he may not have gotten enough votes" to "he was not signed on by Topps, so they may have not included his name on the ballot." Regardless of the answers this was the team and the ten players would have a trophy on their card.

When 2004 Topps Series I came out, Miguel Olivo, the White Sox catcher, did have his card #84 with the trophy logo (please see card above left). So why is it that in 2004 Topps Series II did Robby Hammock, catcher of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who played only 65 games in 2003, wind up with the trophy as well (please see card above right)???

Now to Hammock's credit, he is still with the D-Backs as their back up catcher (Olivo has bounced around with four other teams since his year-and-a-half stay with the White Sox). And even in playing in a little more than half of the games Olivo played, he did have better stats in 2003 (.282 batting average, 8 home runs, and 28 rbi's) .

There has been no official explanation from the Topps Company as to how this happened. And there was no announcement on the press release (where the article linked earlier was taken from) that Hammock and Olivo were tied for the voting. So can we talk all day long about how Olivo was the sole catcher who made the team. However, those who don't keep tabs on the hobby will see the trophy on his card and think he made the team.

So what was the reason why Hammock had the trophy placed on his Topps card? Was there a recount after the 30 votes? Was there an unannounced tie? Was Topps trying to correct the "error" of the votes by discreetly adding the trophy on the guy who Topps thought was more deserving?

Now personally, I would just chalk this up to being an uncorrected error card as the trophy was never removed on his card, even in the factory sets. And the 2004 Topps Traded and Rookie Checklist puzzle even had a picture of his card with the trophy on it. Heck, in the big 110 card Topps Rookie Team insert set included in 2008 Topps, there's a card for Olivo, but not one for Hammock.

So because there was never any news trying to clear up the confusion, the question remains...

Topps, what were you thinking??!


JayBee Anama

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