Sunday, May 8, 2011

1966 Topps Phillies

1966 Topps #170, #230, #284 and #151
For about a year in the late '80s (or maybe it was the early '90s), I collected the 1966 Topps set.  I had somehow obtained the Mickey Mantle card from the set, and I decided to try to build the rest of the set around the Mantle card.  I went to a few shows, rummaged through a few common boxes at local baseball card stores and managed to accumulate about 50 cards from the set.

Not long after deciding I was going to try to hand collate this set, I realized I didn't actually like the set much.  If I was going to put my time and money into collecting a vintage '60s Topps set, maybe I should go for a set I really liked.  Upon making this realization, I stopped collecting the set, and the 50-card starter set has remained tucked away in a box ever since.

The Set
1966 Topps #170 (Back)
Number of cards in the set:  Topps again featured 598 card in their flagship set.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  Don't get me wrong, despite my somewhat harsh comments in the opening paragraphs of this post, I think this is nice set.  It's just that there are other sets from the '60s (1965, 1967) that I like better.
Notable competition:  If you wanted Phillies baseball cards in 1966, your choices were Topps cards or the four Phillies found in the 1966 Bazooka set. 

1966 Phillies
Record and finish:  With a record of 87-75, the team finished in fourth place in the National League behind the Pirates, Giants and the pennant-winning Dodgers.
Key players:  Dick Allen (.317, 40 home runs, 110 RBIs) and Bill White (.276, 22 home runs, 103 RBIs) led the offense.  Chris Short led the pitching staff with 20 wins, followed by Jim Bunning's 19.  Closer Darold Knowles saved 13 games and owned an impressive 3.05 ERA.
Key events:  The Phillies made two key trades that directly effected the '66 season and indirectly effected the franchise for next several years, as prospects were traded away for veterans.  First, in October 1965, the Phillies acquired perennial All-Star fist baseman White, shortstop and former MVP Dick Groat and catcher Bob Uecker from the Cardinals for pitcher Art Mahaffey, catcher Pat Corrales and left fielder Alex Johnson.  A few months later, shortly after the start of the regular season, the Phillies acquired starting pitchers and former All-Stars Bob Buhl and Larry Jackson from the Cubs.  In return, the Phillies sent three prospects to the Cubs - first baseman John Herrnstein, center fielder Adolfo Phillips and pitcher Ferguson Jenkins.  Neither deal worked out for the Phils.

1966 Phillies in 1966 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are just 27 cards in the 1966 Topps Phillies team set.  That's 205 total Phillies Topps cards in the '60s so far and 378 Phillies Topps cards since 1951.
Who’s in:  The 27 cards can be broken down as follows:

  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 1966 - 21 cards
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1966 - 1 card for Johnson (#104), traded to the Cardinals in the off-season
  • 1966 Rookie Stars cards - 2 cards, including the Jenkins/Bill Sorrell rookie card (#254) and Grant Jackson's rookie card, shared with the Dodgers' Bart Shirley (#598)
  • Manager card - 1 card for Gene Mauch (#411)
  • Team card - 1 card (#463)
  • Combo card - 1 card featuring the "Power Plus" duo of Johnny Callison and Wes Covington

1966 Topps #32, #4, #52 and #522
Callison hit just 11 home runs in 1966 and Covington, who had been traded to the Cubs in January, played in just 9 games during the season and didn't hit any home runs.  It's the curse of the Classic Combo card!

Who’s out:  Back-up outfielder Doug Clemens (acquired from the Cubs for Covington) appeared in 79 games for the '66 Phils, yet he's not in the 1966 Topps set.  Starting pitchers Chris Short and Rick Wise also got left out.
Phillies on other teams:  There are seven baseball cards in the set featuring 1966 Phillies on other teams - back-up catcher Uecker (#91) and shortstop Groat (#103) with the Cardinals, outfielder Harvey Kuenn (#372) and starting pitcher Buhl (#185) with the Cubs, and relief pitchers Knowles (#27) with the Orioles, Steve Ridzik (#294) with the Senators and Terry Fox (#472) with the Tigers.
What’s he doing here:  Johnson slipped into the first series as a Phillie, but both Mahaffey (#570) and Corrales (#137) are shown as Cardinals.  Bill Sorrell, who shares Hall of Famer Jenkins' rookie card, played in 10 games with the 1965 Phillies and spent 1966 in the minors
Cards that never were candidates:  Clemens, Short and Wise.  And instead of the Covington/Callison Power Plus card, how about one for Allen/White?
Favorite Phillies card:  I've always loved Cookie Rojas' card (#170) from this set, as it just exudes happiness and '60s charm with the groovy specs.

2002 Topps Archives #94, 2004 Topps Shoe Box Collection #36,
1991 Baseball Cards Magazine Repli-Cards #28, 2010 Topps Vintage Collection #VLC-34
Other Stuff
Recycled:  Topps has only come back to this design a few times for its retro-based insert sets.  There are three Ferguson Jenkins rookie card reprints out there I'm aware of (minus Sorrell) - 2001 Topps Archives, 2011 Topps Archives Reserve (basically a Chrome version of the regular Archives set), and the 2004 Topps Shoe Box Collection card.  In 2010, Topps produced a 1966 Topps-style Mike Schmidt insert card, completely missing the mark with the wrong banner color and a not quite right font.
Blogs/Websites:  I'm venturing into Jim from Downingtown territory with this post.  Please check out the fine 1966 Topps Baseball blog for much more information and featured cards from this set.  Jim's various blogs will feature prominently as I cover the next few years' of Topps sets.
Did You Know?:  I have woefully few Phillies cards from 1965 through 1967 in my collection, so I'm going to make these cards a priority during my next visit to a baseball card show.  Beginning in 1970, with the exception of a few high numbers from the 1971 Topps set, I have a complete run of Phillies cards from the Topps base sets.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was completely disgusted with the job they did on the 2010 Vintage Collection Schmidt. I don't recall which came first, but they didn't do much better with their Vintage Legends insert of Schmidt, which was based on the 1960 design.

Jim said...

I agree. The 1960 version is poorly cropped and a poor imitation of the original. I don't know why they didn't stick with the template they had for used for the 2009 Topps Heritage set.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Hi Jim, thanks for the mention here.

Doug Clemens' only card was in 1967, despite being a full-time major-leaguer since 1964.

I'd have to disagree about the Bill White/Art Mahaffey trade. White did contribute to the Phils for 3 seasons, while Mahaffey quickly burned out. Sure, Alex Johnson went on to win a batting title in the early 1970s (with the Reds or Angels), but nobody could have figured in 1965 that would happen. Besides, he was a malcontent while in Philly.

The Fergie Jenkins trade is another story entirely. :(