Sunday, February 28, 2010

1979 jerry koosman

as we can see by the card below, jerry koosman was traded from the mets to the twins in december of 1978.
what we don't see is that he was traded for a minor leaguer and a ptbnl.  that ptbnl turned out to be jesse orosco!

here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
koosman was two seasons removed from a 2nd place finish in the cy young voting when he was traded.  can't blame the mets - he had two pretty bad seasons leading up to the trade.  he rebounded nicely with the twins, though, as he won 20 games for a 4th place team in 1979.

voici à vous, 1979 jerry koosman!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

1978 ron fairly

the first time ron fairly was traded (from the dodgers to the expos), he was traded for manny mota and maury wills.  the last time he was traded (from the blue jays to the angels), he was traded for butch alberts and pat kelly.  amazing what eight and a half years will do to your trade value.  anyway, here's fairly's 1978 o-pee-chee card letting us know that he had been traded, to 'california' no less.
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
i like how o-pee-chee chose not to recognize fairly as a dh on the back, even though they left the 'dh-1b' text in the ball on the front.  remember, the 1978 set was only 242 cards with a different checklist, so that's why the numbers don't match.

voici à vous, 1978 ron fairly!

Friday, February 26, 2010

1977 ken griffey

the 1977 o-pee-chee set is the top dog as far as variations go, by sheer numbers and by variety of variations.  here's ken griffey's o-pee-chee card from that year.
it's not a team variation or a text variation as griffey would remain a member of the big red machine for 4 more years.  and, although he was on the allstar team in 1976, he didn't start, so it's not an award variation.  so, it must be a photo variation.

here's the topps front:
yup.  and o-pee-chee's photo kicks topps' all around the ballpark.

now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
glad to see o-pee-chee didn't have to shrink the cartoon!

voici à vous, 1977 ken griffey!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

1974 jim hunter

jim hunter makes an appearance on our variation checklist as a checklist variation in 1974.  here's the o-pee-chee front
same as the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
hunter was moved from number 7 in the topps set to 196 in the o-pee-chee set to make way for the expanded subset of hank aaron special cards.  as a result, jim fregosi (topps number 196) was bumped from the o-pee-chee set.
blame the french, jim.

voici à vous, 1974 jim hunter!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

1971 mike andrews

having touched on every year from the inception of o-pee-chee baseball cards through 1992, we're back to where the variations began, 1971.  from here we'll move one at a time through the variations until we're done.  i'll do a different year each day just to mix it up.

here's 1971 mike andrews, who was traded from the red sox to the white sox in the deal that brought luis aparicio to boston
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
mike would last about 2 years in chicago before being released. he was picked up by the a's in 1973, just in time to join them in a world series victory over the mets.

voici à vous, 1971 mike andrews!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

1972 gil hodges

i have been saving 1972 for last in our initial run through the years of o-pee-chee variations.  that's because there is just one variation in the 1972 o-pee-chee set, and it's a big one.  here's mets manager and dodger great gil hodges.
hodges died on april 2, 1972 while golfing in florida.  because of o-pee-chee's late (compared to topps') printing schedule, and the possibility that this card was part of a later series (i don't know if o-pee-chee was released in series like topps was), they were able to add this information to hodges' card.

here's the topps front for comparison
while the front of the o-pee-chee card was modified, the back remains hopeful regarding the mets' chances in 1972
in typical o-pee-chee fashion, the card stock is brighter than topps. i love that the cartoon is one of hodges himself

here's the topps back
the o-pee-chee set was complete at 525 cards, with a checklist that matches topps card for card.  this means there are no 1972 o-pee-chee cards for nolan ryan, pete rose or steve garvey, among others.

hodges was replaced as manager by one of his golf partners, yogi berra, who guided the mets back to the postseason in 1973.  that year, the mets retired hodges' number - a tribute the dodgers have been waiting to bestow upon him ever since.

voici à vous, 1972 gil hodges!

Monday, February 22, 2010

1992 chris gwynn

tony gwynn's brother chris gwynn is the proud owner of a 1992 o-pee-chee text variation card, as seen below
gwynn was traded by the dodgers to the royals for todd benzinger.  with eddie murray signing with the mets as a free agent after the 1991 season, the dodgers needed some insurance at first base in case eric karros didn't pan out.  hence the gwynn/benzinger deal.

here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
notice how the o-pee-chee copyright information pushes the dodger stadium text (not translated, by the way) to the far right.  the o-pee-chee text/logo replaces the topps logo under the card number, but they did not do a watermark behind the stats for some reason.
here's the topps back:
with the watermark and 'dodger stadium' nicely centered.  both number 604 in the set - o-pee-chee once again went the distance, issuing a 792 card set that used the topps checklist (with a few checklist variations along the way).  and, with topps switching to different card stock in 1992, that was one fewer way to tell the sets apart.  good thing o-pee-chee switched all the logos.

this was the final year that o-pee-chee used the topps design for their flagship set.  after debuting o-pee-chee premier in 1991 and issuing it again in 1992, they would use their own design for 1993's o-pee-chee release.

voici à vous, 1992 chris gwynn!

Friday, February 19, 2010

1991 kirk gibson

kirk gibson left the dodgers after three seasons - one glorious season, and two injury filled but gritty seasons.  let it be known, however, that no dodger fan shall complain about his 1989 or 1990 seasons. at any rate, gibby signed as a free agent with the royals (!) prior to the 1991 campaign.  here's his 1991 o-pee-chee card to prove it.
just a little text in the dirt.

here's the topps front:
no text in the dirt.  once again, o-pee-chee got lazy and didn't bother to alter or eliminate the topps logo on the card fronts.  for the non variations in the set, telling the difference between o-pee-chee and topps by the fronts is difficult.

now the o-pee-chee back:
once again, the topps logo remains.  just like in 1990, it's only the french and the card stock that are different.

here's the topps back:
for the second year in a row, o-pee-chee matched topps card for card - a full 792 card set with the exact same checklist.

voici à vous, 1991 kirk gibson!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

1990 alejandro pena

in 1990, o-pee-chee took some huge steps backwards.  even though they stopped doing team variations in 1988, they still had some originality that year and in 1989 through checklist variations while maintaining their individuality through the use of their logo in place of topps'.  not in 1990 though.  sadly, all that was left of o-pee-chee in 1990 was the text variation and, i suppose, the brighter card stock. 

to demonstrate, here's 1988 world series game 1 winner alejandro pena and his 1990 o-pee-chee card.
notice the topps logo.  sheer laziness i am afraid.  literally the only giveaway that this is o-pee-chee is the text variation (pena was traded from the dodgers, with mike marshall, to the mets for juan samuel). otherwise, good luck.

here's the topps front:
see?  identical.

now the o-pee-chee back:
thank goodness for the french!  the topps logo remains, but the card stock is brighter and the o-pee-chee copyright is there, too.

and the topps back:
both cards are number 483.  this time, it's not a coincidence.  o-pee-chee went to the full 792 card set in 1990, and matched topps' checklist card for card.

voici à vous, 1990 alejandro pena!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

1989 world series (mark mcgwire)

three days after kirk gibson ended a game of the 1988 world series with a home run, mark mcgwire did the same.  o-pee-chee preserved the moment for us on this 1989 card
there is no topps front to compare this card to, as topps did not include a world series subset in their set.  very strange for o-pee-chee to do it since neither the expos nor the blue jays were involved.  so, it's a checklist variation in the same way yesterday's delino deshields card is.

now the o-pee-chee back:
i am pretty sure this was a day game, and i know i didn't watch it.  the dodgers were up 2 games to none heading to oakland, and this a's victory seemed to bring the a's back into contention.  i do remember a friend telling me as such, but i told him since i didn't see the game, it didn't really happen.  two dodger victories later and the world championship was secured.

voici à vous, 1989 world series (mark mcgwire)!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

1988 delino deshields

so, i've already expanded the scope of this site, after only a month.  initially i intended to document o-pee-chee variations from 1971 - 1987 which is the era of the team variation (the most interesting variation, in my opinion).  then i decided to include some background and history for the sets from the inception of o-pee-chee until the appearance of the french text in 1970.  finally, i have decided to continue to document the variations all the way through 1992, which was the final year o-pee-chee used topps' design.

to kick off the post-1987 party, here's the 1988 delino deshields card, and it is awesome.
now, here's the topps front.  just kidding.  there is no topps front.  this was a type of 'checklist variation', but not the sort of those we see in 1974.  it's a card that does not appear on the topps checklist as o-pee-chee added it to their set as part of their efforts to highlight the canadian teams. this is one of four such cards that are 'exclusive' to the 396 card o-pee-chee set.

now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back.  kidding again.  there is no such thing.

voici à vous, 1988 delino deshields!

Monday, February 15, 2010

1984 joe morgan

in october of 1983, shortly after the phillies failed to win the world series with the reunited big red machine, they released (fired?) joe morgan.  little joe was later picked up by the oakland a's, where he would finish his hall of fame career.  here's the front of his 1984 team and text variation o-pee-chee card:
the color scheme is updated, the 'now with' text is there, and the o-pee-chee text is in the upper right hand corner where the topps logo goes.

here's the topps front:
i really like the variations in 1984 because there is so much color on these cards.  the green really stands out with the red of his hat and uniform.  we'll see something similar on joaquin andujar's 1986 o-pee-chee card soon.

now the o-pee-chee back:
it's bright, the logo is updated, and the o-pee-chee text replaces the topps logo over the card number.  no kiddie logo, though.

and the topps back:
both cards are number 210 in the set, but i assure you it's just a coincidence.  the 1984 o-pee-chee set has just 396 cards and the checklist is not identical to topps'.

voici à vous, 1984 joe morgan!

Friday, February 12, 2010

1986 steve yeager

i used steve yeager to model the 1976 o-pee-chee set, and here he is 10 years later as a team and text variation!
the catcher of my youth was traded to seattle in late 1985 for ed vande berg.  which means we'll see vande berg's card in a later post.  not sure why they went with the boxed logo text rather than just the text like topps.

speaking of which, here's the topps front:
the colors didn't change simply because the dodger and mariner palettes were the same in 1986.

now the o-pee-chee back:
nice and bright, with the kiddie logo. note the home run total - exactly one hundred round trippers with the dodgers.

and the topps back:
number 32 in the set, just like o-pee-chee.  still, the o-pee-chee set was just 396 cards and the checklist varied, so this is just a coincidence.

voici à vous, 1986 steve yeager!