Monday, May 10, 2010

Cards That Make You Go...What??! of the Week: 2010 Topps History of the Game First MLB Draft 1965 #HOTG19

In honor of this humble, little blog's second anniversary, I think it's appropriate to bring back one of the first regular segments that I featured when trying to figure out what to write about. This segment is called "Cards that Make You Go...What??! of the Week." The "What??!" stands for "What Was Topps Thinking when they came up with this card??!" This segment is my version of a rant. It's my imagined, "If I had a moment with somebody at Topps, I'd ask why this card was made," or "Who's bright idea was it to unleash this card to the masses?" Reasons for the What??! include: missing All-Star Rookie Trophies (or worse, the trophy showing up on a card where it shouldn't) , prospects showing up twice on two different multi-player cards in the same set, reprinted cards that featured the wrong card, cards appearing in other sets that many collectors wouldn't have known to search, and questionable picture choices.

Now let's get on with today's card. When I received my complete sets of 2010 Topps Series I, I looked at each of the insert cards that were included. Now that Topps has the exclusive license for all things baseball, they've decided to do a little "retrospective" of baseball history. Hence the "History of the Game" insert set. Among the historic events they selected for this set was the first MLB Draft of 1965. And who better to represent the players selected in this first ever free-agent draft than Hall of Famer, living legend, arguably one of the greatest catchers of all time (if not the greatest), Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds?

Now, before I get scathing e-mails, rest assured I have no problems with Johnny Bench appearing on this card. He was selected in the 1965 draft (2nd Round, 36th player selected, the Reds picked Bernie Carbo with the 16th pick in the first round, making Carbo the Reds' first ever draft pick). So, for accuracy's sake, this is fine. However, please check the back of the card:

Do you know who's name is NOT ON THE BACK OF THE CARD??? That's right, Johnny Bench's. In fact, the only name on the back of the card is of Rick Monday, the first draft pick of the Oakland Athletics, the first player ever selected in the MLB Draft. Why isn't Monday's picture on the front of this card? He was the first guy chosen out of hundreds of players to make themselves available for this historic event. And he even went on to a very good career, even became a national hero (something about stopping two yahoos from burning a flag on the field). So why isn't he on the card representing all 1965 Draft Picks?

Personally, I think it's a travesty that instead of including a picture of the first ever draft pick, Topps took the easy way out and inserted a picture of Bench. If Topps wanted to be more accurate with their "History of the Game," set, they would have made an effort to find a picture of a young Rick Monday for this card.

Now, Bench did go on to a HOF career. And he probably was the best player from the 1965 MLB draft class. But it seems like Topps just phoned it in with this card, and if they really wanted to stand out, should have had Rick Monday on the front of this card. Even though he is mentioned on the back, and rightfully so, as the first ever draft pick, Monday has been relegated to a trivia answer for those who took the time to read the back of the card. It may look like I'm just nitpicking here. But sometimes, you just have to look at a card and ask, "Topps...



JayBee Anama


night owl said...


White Sox Cards said...

Obviously they were thinking... I don't know WHAT they were thinking!

Congrats on the anniversary!

Brady James said...

'67 Rookie of The Year. 1970 NL MVP. 1972 NL MVP. 14 time All-Star. First ballot Hall of Famer. I think they were thinking all those things.