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Mischief with 1959 Topps article was intentional ...

(Note: I've been out of town since last Wednesday, off to Sacramento, Calif., for a college graduation of a family member, but I should have mentioned those plans in my blog last Tuesday.)


As readers can probably imagine, I had more fun writing the 1959 Topps Baseball story a couple of weeks back then just about any story I’ve done for Sports Collectors Digest. Since 1959 is my favorite set, I also had fun grabbing more than 150 cards from my collection and arranging in various patterns for the page layouts in the June 18 issue.

But like so many stories I do, I would have liked to have spent a lot more time in preparation, in this case at least three or four times as much, but alas it just isn’t possible.


There’s been a good deal of feedback coming in from that article, including some valid criticism that I’ll mention here, along with a bit of mischief that I intentionally undertook. I do that sometimes.

Reader David Ladd (letter appears in the Feedback section of this issue) noted quite fairly that if I were going to discuss “Flexichromes” so extensively, I should have pictured some of them in the vast array of 1959’s included in the feature. That’s the valid criticism; I did picture several of them, but maybe I should have pointed out which ones they were, forgetting sometime that the “peculiar” and “odd-looking” nature isn’t necessarily readily apparent for everyone.

For the record, high-series Flexichromes of Jim Coates and Joe Koppe appear on the cover image, and others (not high series) of Dutch Dotterer and Jim Owens appear in inside pages.

Ladd’s other observation was that bit of intentional mischief I alluded to. He notes that I talked about Ted Williams and Maury Wills being missing from the 1959 set, then correctly points out that I pictured what appeared to be 1959 cards of both of them. Guilty as charged.

I was just trying to have a little fun with the readers, and several – including Ladd – have spotted the chicanery. Ladd referenced two cards, but there were actually three: a high-number All-Star style Ted Williams on Page 50, a regular-issue Wills card on Page 51 and a regular-issue Williams on Page 52.

All three cards were created by the now-nearly-legendary-himself Keith Conforti (, and I was delighted to be able to slide them into the story. And in my defense, I had planned all along to make the identification in a subsequent issue of SCD, but didn’t want to do it in that June 18 issue.

He also noted quite fairly that I should have pictured the semi-infamous card of merry prankster Lew Burdette where he had traded gloves with his buddy Warren Spahn and posed as a left-hander. That was one that just slipped past me, much as the original paste-up managed to sneak past the Topps proofreaders after Lew snookered the photographer. I had pulled out a Burdette card to be included in one of the seven pages of color photos, but it just got lost in the shuffle.

Burdette, who like Spahn I have interviewed a couple of times, would presumably have winked at my error.