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Vintage Baseball Card Blog

Topps' Direction Is Not So Rosey

February 15, 2013

by William Szczepanek

1964 Topps Pete Rose #125 No NameThe baseball card pictured to the right really does not exist. Or, at least the player pictured no longer exists. We will call him Pete Tulip since I can no longer reference him by name. "A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet." No, Pete Tulip is no good. Let's call him Charlie Hustle.

Mr. Hustle is noteworthy because he is recognized as the Major League's hits leader with 4,256, but Topps, the preeminent baseball card producer, will not reference Mr. Hustle as the leader in this category since Mr. Hustle was banned from baseball in 1989 for gambling on games while he was a manager.  Therefore, his hits as a player are obliterated. So, he is what is he, but it depends on how you define the word "is". Mr. Hustle is not only banned from baseball, he no longer exists. His name cannot even be referenced within a card that compares current statistics to career leaders in "Career Chase".

1984 Was a Very Good Year

It sounds so Orwellian that, like many other aspects of our current society, Topps reflects the writings of the novel, "1984", wherein records of various people mysteriously disappear and those people's existence no longer is recognized.

Say It Ain't So, Joe

Has Topps eliminated all references to Shoeless Joe Jackson and the infamous Chicago White Sox Scandal of 1919? Maybe so. Good bye, Joe.

As a kid I learned much from baseball cards. They were an encyclopedia of knowledge about the game. They related the history as it existed.

Now, I never really liked Mr. Hustle when he played. He also could be called Mr. Hot Dog, but that shouldn't diminish his accomplishments. I also don't have a problem with Mr. Hustle not being eligible for the Hall of Fame, since part of the eligibility requirement is about character. I was actually happy when his cards did not achieve enough recognition by baseball card enthusiasts to be voted into The Baseball Card Hall of Fame. But, to say he no longer exists, or to say that he has no attachment to his records is pure, corporate "legal-schpegal" (technical term) done to protect themselves. They do it all the time to employees. One day you are a loyal employee, the next day you no longer exist.

Non-existent Players of the Future

What will happen if and when Barry Bonds is deemed to have performed under the use of steroids and his records are nullified. Will we have to locate all of his cards and black out the name. What about Sosa? What about Clemens? What about hundreds of others players. Will we say that the Topps Set from 2003 no longer exists?

One thing that appears imminent is that at some time in the not too distant future Topps as a company will no longer exist.

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