Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jim Palmer Pitching for the Marlins?

I came across this picture of Jim Palmer in a Marlins uniform:

The Miami Marlins, that is. This picture was taken in 1968 when Jim was working his way back from arm injuries that significantly limited his time with the Orioles in 1967 and 1968.

The Marlins were the Orioles' Class A minor league team in the Florida State League. Jim had played for the Marlins for part of the 1967 season (5 games), and returned for 2 games in 1968. It looks like Jim got to keep his #22 when he was down in the minors.

As the caption on back of the Sporting News photo indicates, in 1968 Palmer was considered a "former Baltimore hurler"

which was a long way from his World Series heroics only 2 seasons earlier:

Jim didn't pitch a single inning for the Orioles in 1968, which explains why he was not included on this card in the 1969 Topps set:

Fortunately Jim was able to rehabilitate his arm during his stint back down in the minors and went on be one of the best pitchers of the 1970's:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

First Photo of Reggie Jackson in an Orioles Uniform?

With the large number of newswire photos that have surfaced through various archives such as from The Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune being sold on ebay, there has been the opportunity to see a number of "new" photos (or at least photos that haven't been seen since the picture appeared in a newspaper many years ago). Recently, a few photos of Reggie Jackson's short time with the Orioles have appeared, including what may be the first picture of Reggie in an Orioles uniform:

According to the information on the back of the photo, this picture was taken May 1, 1976 at the Johns Hopkins University Gym:

Why do I think that this might be Reggie's first picture as an Oriole? According to this news item, it wasn't until Friday, April 30 that Reggie agreed to play for the Orioles after having been traded 4 weeks earlier:

If Reggie agreed on April 30, May 1 would have been the very next day. The article says Reggie was scheduled to join the team that evening, but so far, no photos have surfaced of Reggie from that evening. Reggie did not appear in the game, so its not certain whether or not he suited up for the game.

So why was Reggie working out at Johns Hopkins instead of Memorial Stadium? It was due to a rain out on Saturday, May 1. Due to the rainout, the Orioles played a double header the next day against Reggie's former team the A's, and Reggie did not play in the opener, but did play in the second game.

Until a photo surfaces of Reggie in an O's uniform on April 30, I would have to say that the picture of him taking batting practice the day after he joined the team is the first picture of Reggie as an Oriole.

In addition to the picture above, two other photos of Reggie as an Oriole have also surfaced. This is a shot of Reggie looking over Lee May who has been hit in the head by a pitch against Kansas City:

and here is a shot of Reggie in his final month as an Oriole signing autographs:

Its interesting to note that The Baltimore Sun had this filed under "fans" instead of Reggie. The looks in the two kids' eyes are priceless.

The thing that stands out to me in the picture is the kid with the Orioles cap has the alternate orange panel and black brim cap that I had always wanted but was never able to find. The sporting goods stores around us only carried the standard white panel orange brim cap. A few kids I had known had gotten the alternate cap, but I was never able to locate one.

To me, that cap is one of those childhood items you wished you could have had, but never did.

For additional pictures of Reggie on the Orioles, please see my earlier post where I have tried to collect all available photos from Reggie's 1976 season.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Mystery of the Missing Kansas City A's 1955 Post Sugar Crisp Cereal Patch

A while back I reviewed the 1955 Post Sugar Crisp Cereal Cloth Patches which included only 15 of the 16 teams that were in existence at the time. For some reason, there was no patch for the Athletics. Thanks to the watchful eye of Dave from the amazing blog The Topps Archives, we now have proof that an Athletics patch was at least initially planned:

This amazing uncut sheet was recently up for auction, and provides proof that originally all 16 teams were intended for release. If you take a close look at the A's logo, you will see that it has an "X" beside it, presumably indicating that this may have been a proof sheet.

The auction also shows the back of the sheet. The instructions on the back of the patches indicates that the set was to be 16 patches:

Here is a closer look:

At some point between the creation of this sheet and the actual release of the promotion however, the decision was made to remove the A's as only 15 patches were ultimately issued.

The auction included a full set of the patches that were issued, and as you can see below, it only included 15 teams and did not feature the A's:

There was also a Post Sugar Crisp Cereal box that was included in the auction, and it shows all the teams except the A's and indicates that a set of 15 patches (not 16) could be ordered through the mail:

The auction also features an ad, again with only 15 teams and excluding the A's:

So why were the A's originally included, and then removed? The only thing I can think of is that it is due to the fact that the Athletics moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City the year this was released, so either Post wasn't sure if they should still use the logo (since perhaps there was some thought that it might get changed), or perhaps they weren't able to negotiate for the rights to use the logo as the team was in the process of relocating.

Since this was well before the days of MLB Properties, it could be that each team would have had to have been negotiated with individually to license their logo, and with the team in transition there was no opportunity to work out a licensing deal, so the A's were taken out of the series.

The auction also features some of the artwork that was used to create the patches, including an alternative White Sox logo that was not used:

Its great coming across finds like this that provide some insight into the creation of a set. Now if only the memo would surface that explains why the Athletics logo had to be taken out of the series!

Thanks to Dave for letting me know about this auction!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Curious Case of the 1970 Brewers Prototype Jersey

Thanks to the fact that a number of different archives of newswire photos are currently being auctioned on ebay, there are a number of fascinating images which are showing up for sale.

One of those images is a great shot showing the transition from the Seattle Pilots to the Milwaukee Brewers

The photo is dated April 3, 1970 and was taken at the Pilots/Brewers Spring Training home in Tempe, AZ. The Pilots had just found out that they were going to move to Milwaukee a few days earlier (March 31), so it looks like this was a photo-op to show the changing of the uniforms from the Pilots to the Brewers.

There was apparently at least one other photo taken that made the newswire showing the new Brewers jersey:

This photo was taken a few days earlier on April 1, and shows Marty Pattin in the same prototype jersey. The interesting thing about these pictures is that the Brewers jersey is not what they would wear when they started the season a few days later.

The letting on this jersey reminds me of the late 1960's California Angels jerseys (the "E"s look very similar):

There is one other photo which shows this prototype design, but in this case its not being worn by a player, but by a stewardess:

This picture is from the April 6 edition of The Milwaukee Journal (so the picture would have been taken on the 5th).

So for at least a week, this version of the Brewers jersey was being used to promote the team's move.

However, when the Brewers were warming up on April 6, 1970 (the day before Opening Day) , they were wearing the uniform that was their standard home uniform for the 1970 season:

Even though you can't make out the jersey entirely, you can see that the lettering is different and the stripes on the arm do not match the prototype.

For a full view of the jersey that was worn opening day, here is a picture of manager Dave Bristol after the Opening Day game

Here we can see that the Brewers were wearing the uniform on Opening Day that would be their uniform for the entire season.

If anyone knows why the Brewers jersey that was used for the first week after the Pilots became the Brewers had a different design than what they ultimately ended up wearing that first season, I'd be interested in hearing the story.

Obviously there was a very tight window to get the new Brewers uniform created in time for Opening Day since the Pilots didn't become the Brewers until March 31, so could it be that the company that created the uniforms for the Brewers (possibly based in Milwaukee?) wasn't the same company that designed the prototype (who possibly may have been based in Arizona since the team was just finishing up Spring Training).

That seems like the most logical explanation, but I'm wondering if that has ever been verified.

Monday, May 2, 2011

How Fleer Stickers Solved the Mystery of the Lost NFL Games

It seems like we can now find just about any piece of information that we want by searching the internet. However, I was surprised to find out that there was one area of information that until now was nowhere to be found - the list of NFL games that were canceled due to the 1982 players strike.

However, thanks to the 1982 Fleer Team Action Football stickers with the team schedules on the back

we now have the answer!

Earlier this year, I received an e-mail from Jon asking if I could provide scans of the backs of the 1982 Fleer Football stickers. He told me he had been trying to piece together the 1982 NFL schedule so that he could then figure out which games had been lost to the strike.

With so much information available online, you would think that the 1982 NFL schedule would have been something that you could find with a bit of research. Unfortunately, the only information that was available was on the games that had actually been played that season. He was unable to find information on the games that were originally scheduled, but never played.

In doing his research, he came across my post on the 1982 Fleer Football stickers, and decided to contact me to see if I would be willing to help him with his project by providing scans of the backs of the stickers so that he could reconstruct the full season.

I was glad to help, and after providing him with the scans, he sent me the link to the Wikipedia page for Canceled NFL Games where he has detailed the schedules for all the weeks that were lost in 1982, as well as listing all other known games that have been canceled over the years, including 1987 when the NFL used replacement players for a few weeks. Jon also created a web page where he talks about the project, and where he has posted the backs of all the stickers to show the complete 1982 schedule.

With the NFL labor situation seeming to change almost daily, hopefully things get worked out in time to avoid the current NFL lockout from adding any more games to Jon's list of canceled games.

I'd like to say Thanks to Jon for getting in touch with me so I could put those sticker backs to good use!