Friday, January 29, 2010

Airbrushed Fridays: 1968 Topps #260

I have a small array of cards that I would consider vintage (pre-1979) and I don't really have a great story behind them. I believe I have at least one card, sometimes a few, for each Topps year back to the mid-'50s or so. A kid in my neighborhood that I used to hang out with occasionally ended up dumping all of his vintage cards on me for who knows what. I was pretty certain that he couldn't tell me a thing about them and I don't remember how he came about owning them in the first place. There was nothing amazing in there - I have a very close to mint condition Gil Hodges manager card and some sort of damaged Ted Williams manager card, for example, and there were even a few late '50s cards. This one is from that collection, and the card is not nearly as off-center as the scan would suggest.

Jimmy Wynn was a three-time all-star center fielder who spent most of his career with Houston. He was coming off of a season in which he hit career bests in HRs (37 - second to Hank Aaron) and RBI and also was known a top notch defensive player. Wynn was nicknamed the Toy Cannon, for reasons which I'll let you browse his Wikipedia entry to find out. He now does broadcast work for the Astros and FSN Houston.

Why did Topps airbrush Jimmy's photo? This is a good question that I cannot give you a definitive answer for. The Houston Colt .45s were renamed the Astros following the opening of the Astrodome in 1965, but that was three years prior to this card's release. Jim was not recently traded and went on to spend 5 more seasons in Houston. Every Astros card appeared as "Houston" rather than the "Astros" and no players in this set had Astros logos visible. My fuzzy memory suggests that there was some sort of licensing issue with the Astros that affected these cards and possibly other sets of this era - apparently 1969 Topps is the same way - but I am just speculating as to the reason at this point.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? To be honest, I'm not even sure you could call this airbrushing. It looks like someone just took a black Sharpie to his cap. I suggest that you do some eBay searches on other "Houston" cards from this era for more examples.

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