11 March 2013

maury wills gets his due and you could too

i spent a couple of hours this weekend finishing up a project that has been sitting idle for a couple of years.  i, like many dodger fans who collect baseball cards, have long been disgusted that this 1967 topps card is the first official wills card in the topps catalog.
it's a high number, and my copy is creased and worn since that's the only way i was able to purchase one.  will's second card is from the 1968 set, and is much easier to find.  sadly, he's still a pirate.
he's still wearing a pirate uniform on his 1969 topps card, too, although he is listed as an expo.  it wasn't until 1970 that topps had wills in dodger blue on a card, and that only lasted until 1972.

i am well aware of the 1960 topps card that features wills (i do not believe it to be charlie neal), and i am also aware of his 1963 fleer card.  i wrote about them (and his 1963 post card) in this post a while back.

i previously made a 1973 topps card for wills to serve as a final tribute (it was one of the first such 'cards that should have been' that i made) but it took me much longer to go back to the start of his career.  here goes.

wills debuted in 1959 on june 6th, playing behind and batting ahead of sandy koufax.  here's what a wills card might have looked like that year.
i 'artified' the image to try to make it look a little more like the other cards from the rookie subset, and used a bob lillis card as a base.  lillis and ron fairly are the only two dodgers in the subset that i can think of off hand, and both of them debuted in 1958.  i'm guessing that even if topps had offered wills a contract, he wouldn't have been part of the '59 set.

here's what a 1960 topps maury wills card might have looked like.
the photo comes from the topps archives, and was marked 1959 or 1960, so it fits for sure.  this one might be my favorite of the bunch.

on to 1961
wills is a bona fide star, now.  he led the league in steals in 1960 and 1961, and finished 9th in the league mvp voting following the '61 season.  he also won a gold glove at shortstop and appeared in his first all-star game that year.  that was nothing compared to his 1962 season, however.

for the 1962 topps card that should have been, i didn't mess with success.
topps created that card for their 1975 mvp subset, and it was used in the 1982 kmart mvp set, and in the 1987 topps turn back the clock subset.  it works nicely.

for the 1963 topps card, i used a photo featuring the recently opened dodger stadium
i love the fact that the three ladies (does anyone other than vin scully call them that?) are still bound at the top.  this would have been a nice card.

this year, topps included wills as part of the heritage autograph checklist.  in doing so, they created a nice card of him in the 1964 style.  so, i used the same photo and came up with a similar result.
one of the main differences is that i put wills at shortstop and third base, as he spent 33 games at the hot corner in 1963.  it was the first time that he had played there in his major league career.

i am really looking forward to 2014 topps heritage.  here's the 1965 topps installment for wills.
again with the 3b/ss positioning.  he only played 6 games there in 1964, but i chose not to delete it from his card.  i say delete because i used a john kennedy card as the base, and he had '3b-shortstop' on his card.

here's what i came up with for 1966.
wills is back in dodger stadium, and you can see one of the palm trees has opened up a bit.  this photo is probably from earlier than 1965 or 1966, but i still think it works.

it was after the 1966 season that wills was dealt to the pirates, but i still made a 1967 topps card featuring him in dodger blue
topps also created a 1967 topps card with wills as a dodger for one of the fan favorites sets (you can see it in this post).  they used the photo that i chose for the 1960 card.

well, i know i feel better with these cards that should have been filling in the holes in wills' career, and, i am pretty happy with the way these turned out.  so much so, in fact, that i feel like giving away some cards.

here's the deal.  leave a comment with the name of a player for whom you would like to see a card that should have been.  i know a lot of these have been done already by many different folks, so try to think of something other than a 1977 topps hank aaron or a 1978 topps brooks robinson.

i'll randomly select one on friday and do my best to do the request justice.  i'll also provide a 1969 topps deckle edge wills card to the winner.  and probably some other stuff, too. so get your comments in by noon on friday, and let me know what you think.


Rod (Padrographs) said...

I would like to see a 1951 or 1952 card of Artie Wilson. He played for the Giants in 1951 until they called up Willie Mays. He is the last player to hit .400 in organized baseball. Was one of the best players in the Negro Leagues, integration came too late for him.

Mariner1 said...

I know it's a little modern, but how about a 1983 of any kind with Harold Reynolds in his #18 jersey from his September call up for his first time.

dayf said...

I need a 1979 Topps card of Jim Bouton.

I would also be remiss if I didn't pass this along even if there's no way you can be there.