10 April 2009

houston, topps had a problem in the 60s!

when the city of houston joined the national league in 1962, they were known as the 'colt .45s'. yee-haw! shoot 'em up tex!

topps, however, referred to them only as 'colts' as joe amalfitano's 1962 card demonstrates.
this is despite '.45s' being clearly shown on their hats.

in 1963, they were fully recognized as the 'colt .45s' as seen on bob lillis' 1963 card.it should be noted that their manager's card in the 1963 set is the only managerial card to lack a team logo. i guess a shooting gun wasn't something topps wanted to prominently place on a card?

bad news for topps in 1964, as they reverted back to just 'colts'.at least they didn't airbrush the '.45s' off of his hat.

in 1965, the first season as the 'astros', topps went bipolar. many cards just said 'houston', including turk farrell's card.note that he still has the '.45s' on his hat. jim wynn, on the other hand, is hatless and a member of the 'astros'.i will guess that the team name change came about late in 1964 - too late for the early series cards, but that later series cards were corrected?

no excuses in 1966, though, and topps has it right. at least on jim gentile's card.'astros' and the new logo on the hat.

same in 1967, although bo belinsky has no hat.so it makes no sense what happened in 1968.

here, grady hatton is shown with a blacked-out hat, and is listed as the manager of 'houston'.is that 'planet houston' in superman ii? no, it's the astros. i checked. i figured that he was photographed with a .45s hat, but hatton didn't become the manager until the 1966 season, their second as the astros. before that, he managed in the minor leagues. weird.

more of the same in 1969. here, dooley womack has the right logo on his hat, but there is still no team name. only 'houston'.

finally, in 1970, topps went with 'astros' and has never looked back. thank jesus (alou)!


Wrigley Wax said...

There were licensing issues with the Astros name and logo. Topps couldn't use it until midway through 1969.

The Fleer Sticker Project has a nice post about it here

gcrl said...

ah, mystery solved. and a much better post it is!

thanks for putting that link in your comment!

--David said...

This was funny! great stuff! Did the Pilots go through the same issues? I have no idea if it could have even been an issue, just wondering and not doing the legwork myself... What was i talking about? Ah, yes - great job on the post!

Scott said...

Awesome awbservations!

Andy said...

What's with the "Astros" written in the top left corner of Womack's card?

Am I the only one who, anytime Womack is mentioned, hears Jim Bouton complaining about being traded for "god damn Dooley Womack"?

Jim from Downingtown said...

Belinsky is hatless only because he just came over from the Phillies, not because of Topps' Colts/Astros/Houston fiasco.

Anonymous said...

Andy, the "Astros" legend on Womack's card was most likely written in by the collector of the card, who apparently wanted to circumvent the "Houston" decision.
Before Topps struck a merchandising deal with the MLBPA on 12/18/68, the union advised its member players to boycott photo sessions with the cardmaker, which may explain the large volume of airbrushed caps, capless wonders and outdated shots of the '68 and '69 sets (two player poses were set in the old Polo Grounds!)It seems like a sort of synchronicity that the resolution coincided with the re-use of the Astros caps, from Series 5 on.
BTW, #411 Larry Dierker of the '69 set is depicted in the new "ASTROS" uniform.

Fireblossom said...

I always wondered why that was done. Now, lo these several decades later, I have the answer! The 1969 set was very lame.