10 October 2012

canadian cartoon shenanigans

no, i'm not referring to a cosmic christmas or rock & rule.  rather, i am referring to something i noticed while on the way to closing out the oh my o-pee-chee blog.  there are just three more cards left to showcase after today, and then we will have seen all of the variations that o-pee-chee had to offer between 1971 and 1992.  we will have seen essentially the entire 1977 o-pee-chee set, except for the league leader and checklist cards, including a number of cards of players who either were completely omitted from the topps set, or who were given a solo card after being featured by topps on a 4-in-1 rookie card.

i have finally taken the time to verify that the cartoons o-pee-chee used on the backs of the 'new' cards were taken from other topps cards and not created specifically for those 'new' cards.  in addition, there are two cards on which o-pee-chee actually changed the cartoons on the back, perhaps revealing a canadian dislike for frank robinson.  let's take a look.

here we have the back of dusty baker's topps card, with a cartoon regarding mark 'the bird' fidrych.
dusty didn't get a card in the o-pee-chee set, but his cartoon shows up on the back of gary carter's o-pee-chee card
carter was, of course, featured in the topps set, but the cartoon on the back of that card
celebrates frank robinson's player-manager home run in 1975.  odd.  but, carter is not alone in this regard.  here's the back of mark belanger's 1977 topps card
yes indeed, frank robinson won the triple crown in 1966, but i don't know why topps abbreviated batting average as 'ba' when it has always been 'avg' on the card backs.  anyway, belanger's 1977 o-pee-chee card makes no mention of frobby, and instead informs us that jim bibby's brother played in the nba.
that would be henry bibby, who is mike bibby's father.  and, of course, that cartoon was originally on the back of jim bibby's 1977 topps card.
so what gives?  why did o-pee-chee remove the frank robinson cartoons?  it can't be because they didn't have the room to translate the abbreviations (mgr, hr, rbi, ba) that appear in the cartoons because they typically didn't bother with that (see the fidrych cartoon up top).  did someone in the company hold a grudge against frank robinson? i would so enjoy talking to someone who worked at o-pee-chee and find out why they did some of the things that they did.

as for the rest of the 'new' cards created by o-pee-chee, they borrowed cartoons from topps cards of players not featured in their set.  here's the back of dick williams' card
which features a cartoon that was on the back of ray bare's topps card
the use of this cartoon is strange, because it was also used on ken forsch's o-pee-chee card
and his topps card
i guess o-pee-chee was just following topps' lead in using the cartoon twice in the set.

doug howard's cartoon features an oddly muscular looking mickey mantle
i lamented the cartoon on this card back when i first posted it on oh my o-pee-chee! because it is factually incorrect.  mantle hit 18 world series home runs, as was correctly indicated on both tommy smith's o-pee-chee card
and his topps card
i didn't understand why o-pee-chee would re-use a cartoon, but also change the text so that it was incorrect.  well, it turns out that they didn't change the text.  they just used the cartoon from the back of bob bailey's topps card
which was wrong all along.  sorry for my rant, o-pee-chee, but it is too bad that they chose to re-use this erroneous cartoon.

ok, on to the more straightforward stuff.  here's doug ault's card back, with a cartoon about 'sudden' sam  mcdowell
which was lifted from rob belloir's topps card
of course, dave steib is the guy i think of when discussing consecutive one-hitters.  even though neither of those games that he pitched at the end of the 1988 season were no-hitters, i think that is as close as i will get to seeing someone tie johnny vander meer in my lifetime.

bob bailor was one of those guys rescued by o-pee-chee from the topps 4-in-1 rookie card.  his cartoon features 'the beast'
who actually spelled his name 'jimmie', not 'jimmy'.  just like jimmie hall.  anyway, blame topps, because they misspelled it on the back of alan bannister's card
here's tom bruno - another blue jay anomaly in the 1977 o-pee-chee set.  his rawly eastwick fireman cartoon
came from rob andrews' card
i believe that roy hartsfield, the blue jays manager and former dodger coach, did not get his denny martinez cartoon
from mike phillips' topps card
yes, they are the same, but i think o-pee-chee lifted it from kurt bevacqua' card instead
topps used the same cartoon twice, and if you have been paying attention, you will have noticed that o-pee-chee has been using cartoons from players whose last names begin with the letter b, with the exception of rob andrews.  so, bevacqua makes sense.  let's see if that theory holds up.

here's one of the blue jays' woods 'brothers'.  it's gary, with a cartoon that didn't make much sense to me
i'm not sure how two big feet represent two pinch-grand slams.  anyway, that cartoon is featured on ed bane's 1977 topps card
pat crawford of the giants and les bell of the braves were the players who hit the grand slams, and they were obviously hit off of different pitchers as they played on different teams, so the frustrated pitcher doesn't make sense to me, either.  here's the other woods, alvis, with the big train
now this is a clever cartoon, as walter johnson is hiding home plate in his glove so that the opposing team cannot score to tie the 1-0 game.  makes it tough for the umpire to call balls and strikes, though.  the cartoon first appeared on kevin bell's topps card
rick cerone got a team and photo variation from o-pee-chee in 1977, and the cartoon they slapped on the back of his solo card 
came from vic albury's topps card
as for wes stock, his job as the mariners' pitching coach was the fifth stop in his coaching career.  he coached for the a's after he retired in the late 1960's, and then worked for the mets, brewers, and the a's (again) before heading to seattle.

here's another wes - wes ferrell - in the cartoon on the back of sam ewing's 1977 o-pee-chee card
the cartoon comes to us from doyle alexander's topps card
the pitcher in the cartoon is les tietje of the white sox.  he allowed both of ferrell's home runs that day, losing the game in the 10th inning 3-2.  ferrell's first home run came in the bottom of the eighth inning, and his second home run of the game was the first of his three career walk-offs.  ferrell had four home runs in 1934, and he had two 2-homer games that year.

not to be confused with burt hooton, leon hooten got a card of his own in 1977 from o-pee-chee.
that nelson briles cartoon that they used was from mike bacsik's topps card
briles sang the anthem before one of the games of the 1973 world series.  he wasn't on the mets or the a's, so i am guessing he was a decent singer.

john scott was the guy who was liberated by o-pee-chee from andre dawson's rookie card instead of the hawk.  he got a vulture in his cartoon
as the phil regan cartoon was lifted from francisco barrios' topps card
no word on how many trophies john scott won in high school ball, though.

here's the last of the 'new' cards created by o-pee-chee in 1977.  it's blue jays pitcher mike willis, with a cartoon of a guy nicknamed 'pickles'
the cartoon came from the back of juan beniquez's topps card
i don't know of any nickname for juan beniquez.  pickles, however, was a catcher in the teens and early 20's who died of typhoid fever prior to the 1922 season.  he was only 28.

so, there you have it.  it does appear that o-pee-chee went through the topps set somewhat alphabetically by last name and pulled cartoons from players that weren't featured in the o-pee-chee set. that's too bad, because if they had gone to the 'r's, they would have found a pretty good one to use.
opportunity lost.  be sure to check out oh my o-pee-chee in its last few days!

1 comment:

Eric C. Loy said...

Wow, that Belanger card back is completely different than the Topps! They left out the totals stat line, too.