Friday, October 19, 2012

that's a wrap - oh my!

well, it's time to put a bow on this blog - 'wrap' it up as one might say.
i've enjoyed going through all of the o-pee-chee sets from 1977 through 1992, and finding variations that i hadn't previously seen and variations which aren't catalogued anywhere else.  i am a bit nervous about taking those same publications that omitted so many variations from those years at their word about variations from 1971, 1972, and 1974.  i will be sure to keep my eyes open, but i have faith that we have covered them all here on oh my o-pee-chee!

here's the final tally - at least of the stats that interest me.

total number of variations - 929

total number of checklist variations (most of which are cards that were exclusive to o-pee-chee sets) - 47

set with the least variations (minimum of one) - 1972 (one).  that would be the gil hodges text variation.

set with the most variations - 1977 (252). pretty much the entire set.

most common variation - text variation (634).  most common text variation was 'now with...'

least common variation - position variation (3).  all in 1977.

team with the most appearances (includes topps equivalents) - expos (110).  no surprise there.  the blue jays were second with 87.

team with the least appearances - astros and twins, tied at 34.

player with the most variations - gary carter and hank aaron tied with 7 apiece.  that number is due in large part to the 1992 carter tribute and 1974 aaron specials.  if we look at it strictly by number of years in which a player had a variation, we have manny trillo with 6 cards/5 years, matt young with 5 cards/5 years, and dave collins with 5 cards/5 years tied at the top.

when i started the blog, i predicted bobby bonds would lead the way, but he had 'only' four variations.  even though i based that prediction on only going from 1971 through 1987, both trillo and collins still would have had him beat during that time frame.

i hope you enjoyed this celebration of the variations from the great white north.

voici à vous, o-pee-chee variations!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

1977 rick monday

truth be told, this might be the card that provided the impetus for this blog.  i started to purchase o-pee-chee cards on a family vacation in 1978, and i was able to amass a fair number of cards from then until 1986.  i did not come across rick monday's card until much later, and i frankly regretted not knowing about it sooner.  so, eventually i decided to see what other variations might be out there and once i found them, i figured they were worth sharing.  but before i get to the wrap up post, there is this final variation to showcase.

in january of 1977, rick monday was traded from the cubs to the dodgers.  o-pee-chee whipped up a team variation, complete with a different (although poorly airbrushed) image and a slightly relocated facsimile autograph.  i wouldn't have it any other way.  here is monday's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
monday became the center fielder on the team of my youth by virtue of that trade, and bill buckner became someone who simply 'used to be a dodger'.  i learned to appreciate billy buck a few years later when he won the batting title, but monday was one of 'my guys' from the start of my fandom.

unfortunately, monday had some injury issues in 1977, and his production was off from his big numbers in 1976. still, he helped the dodgers get to the postseason, and did so again in 1978 and especially 1981, when he had me jumping around the lunchtime elementary school playground as he circled the bases in montreal.

voici à vous, 1977 rick monday!

Friday, October 12, 2012

1977 gary carter

o-pee-chee didn't make a card for andre dawson in 1977, but they did make some changes for the other expo star, gary carter.  a different photo and a relocated facsimile autograph make for a very cool variation.  here is gary carter's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
i addressed (sort of) the different cartoons the other day at garvey cey russell lopes, if you're interested.  i have no idea why o-pee-chee switched the cartoons.

the expos switched carter to a full-time catcher in 1977, as he caught in 146 games and made only one partial game appearance in the outfield.  carter hit .284 with 31 home runs and 84 rbi.  he threw out only 33% of the base stealers who ran against him, but he did lead the league in putouts and assists by a catcher.

in april, carter hit three home runs in a game off of the pirates' jim rooker.  then, in september, he hit two more off of rooker in a different game.  he had 3 other multi-home run games to boot.  he was the first expo to have a three-homer game, and his 31 roundtrippers on the season was a franchise record at the time.

this is the penultimate card to be featured here, and the last of the expos.

voici à vous, 1977 gary carter!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

1977 mark belanger

there is some obvious left-to-right photo cropping differences and the spacing of the stacked facsimile autograph is not the same between the o-pee-chee and topps versions of mark belanger's 1977 cards.  however, it's the difference on the backs that i find most interesting.  here is belanger's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
see that?  o-pee-chee switched cartoons!  they wanted us to know about jim bibby's brother rather than belanger's former teammate, frank robinson.  this is not the only o-pee-chee card to have the cartoon switcharoo (gary carter gets the same treatment as we will see tomorrow), but it is the first one i've shown on the blog.  the checklist variation cards that have cartoons use cartoons from topps cards that were not included in the o-pee-chee set - see the post on garvey cey russell lopes for a better explanation.  but the difference isn't just limited to the cartoon - o-pee-chee also left off the major league total line, and basically redid the entire back.

as far as belanger goes, he lived up to his all-glove, no-hit reputation in 1977.  he hit just .206 with 2 homers, but did win his seventh career gold glove (fifth in a row).

voici à vous, 1977 mark belanger!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

1977 steve garvey

we have finally come to the last of the award variations, as steve garvey had his all-star banner removed from his 1977 o-pee-chee card.  in true opc fashion, his facsimile autograph was also displaced, and the left to right photo crop was modified, too.  here is garvey's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
garvey's 1977 cards are not my favorite - but they're close.  one of the reasons i like his 1978 topps/opc cards so much is because of his 1977 season.  had he not hit 33 home runs or driven in 115 runs in 1977 (both career highs), maybe i wouldn't have been as big of a fan.  as it turned out, i was desperate to get his '78 card in a pack.  it took me a while to warm to the 1977 set, but now i like it. and, i like garvey's card with and without the all-star banner.

garvey was one of four dodgers to hit over 30 home runs in 1977, and he also won his fourth and final career gold glove.  he started the all-star game at first for the national league for the fourth year in a row, and finished 6th in the league mvp voting.  1977 was the only season in the seven year stretch from 1974 to 1980 that he didn't get at least 200 hits (he got 192), and the only year in the eight years from 1973 through 1980 that he didn't hit over .300 (he hit .297).

voici à vous, 1977 steve garvey!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

1977 jim hunter

jim 'catfish' hunter might take the cake for the most minute variation in the 1977 o-pee-chee set.  i contend that there is some slight (and i mean slight) north-south cropping differences between his opc and topps cards, and the angle of his facsimile autograph is not quite the same on each card.  here is hunter's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
i find it pretty funny that the facsimile autograph only says 'catfish hunter', and that his baseball reference page also lists him by that name - with his nickname being 'jim'.  now that's when you know that your nickname is a keeper.

hunter was in his third year with the yankees in 1977, and he was able to make only 22 starts due to some injuries in april and again in late september.  he finished the season 9-9 with a 4.71 era, but did throw 8 complete games with a shutout.  he also was able to pitch against the dodgers in the world series (he missed the alcs against the royals), but was 0-1 in 2 appearances with an era over 10.

voici à vous, 1977 jim hunter!

Monday, October 8, 2012

1977 jim spencer

well, o-pee-chee did it again.  just like with chip lang, when they created jim spencer's 1977 card, they committed the ultimate sin and replaced an in-game action photo with a posed photo for no apparent reason.  spencer didn't change teams between the 1976 and 1977 season, so who knows why o-pee-chee did what they did.  and what they did leaves us with a photo variation and an autograph placement variation, as they moved and stacked spencer's facsimile auto.  here is spencer's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
bill north lurks!  i mentioned the other day on night owl cards that this might be the best bill north card there is, as greg noted that most of his cards are boring head shots.  although there is that fantastically bad 1973 topps card where he has an a's hat on while you can still see part of the 'chicago' on the front of his cubs' jersey.

now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
the change in photo is even more disappointing when you consider the fact that spencer won the gold glove (the second of his career) in 1977.  it turned out to be spencer's last year with the white sox, as he was traded to the yankees after the season ended.  he hit 18 home runs (tying his career high to that point), including a couple of grand slams.  this is spencer's second showing on the oh my o-pee-chee blog, and i find it pretty cool that his 1978 opc card is featured on his baseball reference bullpen page.

voici à vous, 1977 jim spencer!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

1977 bill stein

thanks to some left-to-right cropping differences between o-pee-chee and topps, we are here to recognize the 1977 o-pee-chee bill stein variation.  but, what's this?  could his facsimile autograph remain untouched by o-pee-chee?  i think it might have been.  that would be a rarity in this set.  here is stein's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
 the easiest way to see the cropping variation is to look at the guys over stein's left shoulder.

here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
o-pee-chee could have gone with the position variation as stein was the mariners' primary third baseman during their first two years of existence.  in 1977, stein became the first third baseman in team history, as well as the first mariner to hit a double.  he was also the first mariner to have two doubles in a game, and was the first mariner to be left on base.  he did all that in their inaugural game agains the angels on opening day, 1977.  for the season as a whole, stein hit .259 with 13 homers and 67 rbi, and he tied for the team lead with 25 doubles.

voici à vous, 1977 bill stein!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

1977 rennie stennett

a little north-south cropping difference and a totally relocated and differently stacked facsimile autograph are the reasons that rennie stennett shows up in my catalog of o-pee-chee variations.  here is stennett's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
stennett hit .336 for the pirates in 1977 - an average that would have placed him second to teammate dave parker on the national league leader board - but he did not have enough at bats to qualify for the title.  stennett played in only 116 games in '77 due to a broken leg that ended his season in mid august. although stennett debuted for the pirates in 1971, he did not appear in the world series that year.  fortunately, he was still with pittsburgh when they won it all in 1979, even though he was no longer their regular second baseman at the time.

voici à vous, 1977 rennie stennett!

Friday, October 5, 2012

1977 john lowenstein

today, let it be lowenstein.

this one hits all the bases as far as basic o-pee-chee variations go: team variation, text variation, photo variation, autograph placement variation.  the only thing missing is the position variation, but john lowenstein was primarily an outfielder, so there was no reason for o-pee-chee to make that change.  they changed pretty much everything else, however, as they caught lowenstein in blue jays' attire during spring training in 1977.  he had been traded by the indians to the blue jays with rick cerone for rico carty in december of 1976, but the jays dealt him back to the tribe towards the end of spring training.  luckily for us, o-pee-chee didn't slap his topps photo back on the card, but instead chose to use their photo with some good ol' traded text.  of course, they also unstacked his facsimile autograph and put it somewhere that made it legible.  here is lowenstein's 1977 o-pee-chee card: 
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
lowenstein hit .242 in 81 games for the indians in 1977, and was traded again prior to the next season.  this time, he went to texas where he played just one year before heading to baltimore.  there, he helped the orioles reach the world series in 1979 and again in 1983 when they won it all.

this is the last of the blue jays to be featured here on the blog from the 1977 o-pee-chee set, by the way.  we are really getting close to the end of the o-pee-chee variations.

voici à vous, 1977 john lowenstein!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

1977 pepe frias

we get a little bit closer to pepe frias, and his facsimile autograph is not in the same spot that it was left by topps thanks to o-pee-chee in 1977.  here is frias' 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
there's not much to say about pepe.  he played slightly more second base in 1977 than he did shortstop, but he only appeared in 53 games total for the expos.  in those games, he garnered only 72 plate appearances, and hit .257 with 2 sacrifices, no walks, and just one extra base hit (a double).  frias was one of the initial wave of shortstops (along with frank taveras, ted martinez, and mario guerrero) to hail from san pedro de macoris in the dominican republic.

i did not realize that he had been in the dodgers' organization in the late 1960's (really just the offseason between the 1967 and 1968 seasons).  i had previously thought that his only turn with the blue was in 1980 and 1981.

voici à vous, 1977 pepe frias!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

1977 richie zisk

this is one of the better known o-pee-chee variations from the 1977 set.  without it, we wouldn't have much to remember zisk's days in chicago by.  that's because topps left him in his pirates uniform in 1977 and then hurried to show him as a ranger in 1978.  at any rate, we get a team variation, photo variation (both cropping and airbrushing), and the good ol' autograph placement variation (plus they shrunk his auto!) from o-pee-chee.  here is richie zisk's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
the white sox acquired zisk after the 1976 season in the deal that sent goose gossage and terry forster to pittsburgh.  oh, how i wish forster and gossage were part of the 1977 o-pee-chee set.  like zisk, topps didn't acknowledge their one year on the move and airbrushed forster into a dodgers hat and gossage into yankee pinstripes for the 1978 set.  i don't know if there are any cards of forster or gossage in pirates uniforms.

back to zisk - the chisox moved him from left to right field and he responded with a career high 30 homers and 101 rbi.  ok, the two probably don't have anything to do with each other, but zisk did play well enough to earn a starting spot for the american league in the 1977 all-star game.  he made the start in left, and went 2 for 3 with 2 rbi and a double off of tom seaver.  of course, topps gypped him out of the all-star shield in 1978. zisk also homered in his first at bat with the white sox, and in doing so, became the first player to hit a home run against the blue jays.

voici à vous, 1977 richie zisk!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

1977 pat zachry

with pat zachry's 1977 o-pee-chee card, we are treated to a slight photo cropping variation and an even slighter facsimile autograph relocation.  here is zachry's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
compare where the right leg touches the bottom border of the photo window.  then, look at the amount of space between the 'a' in 'pat' and that same border.

here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
funny how there is no mention on the back of the card about zachry winning the 1976 nl rookie of the year award or going 2-0 in his postseason starts, including a win in game 3 of the world series against the yankees.  no, it's more important to point out his minor league success in 1975.

anyway, zachry didn't finish the 1977 season with the reds, as i am sure you are aware.  he was dealt in june to the mets as part of the package for tom seaver.  he was just 3-7 with a 5.04 era at the time of the trade, but he pitched better once he got to new york.  as a met, he was 7-6 with a 3.76 era, and he also threw his lone shutout of the season.

voici à vous, 1977 pat zachry!

Monday, October 1, 2012

1977 george medich

george medich was part of the march 1977 trade between the pirates and a's that saw phil garner leave oakland and head to the steel city.  as with garner, o-pee-chee had time to create a team variation for their set, and they outfitted medich in a nice yellow crew neck sweater in doing so.  they also moved his facsimile autograph a tad, and used a completely different photo than did topps.  here is medich's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
medich made 25 starts for the a's in 1977, and he also pitched once in relief.  he had a record of 10-6 with a 4.69 era when the expansion mariners purchased his contract in mid-september.  medich was 2-0 in his 3 starts as a mariner, and pitched so well that the mets selected him on waivers shortly before the season ended.  medich made one start with the mets and took the loss, giving up 3 runs in 7 innings of work.  he was granted free agency after the season ended, and signed with the rangers, for whom he pitched until part way through the 1982 season when his contract was purchased by the brewers.

voici à vous, 1977 george medich!