Tuesday, December 13, 2011
A baseball card mystery: Gerry Moses and Dave LaRochePosted by Bruce Markusen
Were these two separated at birth? Or was this simply a case of mixed-up identities? I’ve looked closely at these two 1972 Topps cards and I can’t decide for sure.
Gerry Moses and Dave LaRoche look nearly identical in these photographs, in contrast to their 1971 cards, which show them to have differing facial features. (Moses has a strong chin; LaRoche has a weaker jawline.)
On the 1972 cards, Moses and LaRoche look like they could be brothers: the same sideburns, the same hair, and the same noses.
Now, it’s possible that the unusually low angle used in taking both of the 1972 photos, which shows the underside of their caps in an upturned fashion, makes the two players look very similar. Camera angles can play tricks with the eyes.
And if that’s the case, who knows if the right photograph was matched up to the right player. It’s possible that Moses’ photograph was placed on LaRoche’s card, and LaRoche’s photo on Moses’ card. Then again, maybe it’s possible that the same photograph was used for both players.
Any of these potential mix-ups seems understandable. Moses and LaRoche played as teammates in 1971—both were with the California Angels. Furthermore, their card numbers are lumped closely together, with LaRoche’s card listed as 352 in the set and Moses’ card at 356.
And then there’s another possibility: Moses’ card is correct, LaRoche’s card is correct, I’m full of canal water, and Topps had it right all along.
Bruce Markusen is the author of seven books on baseball, including the award-winning A Baseball Dynasty: Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s, the recipient of the Seymour Medal from the Society for American Baseball Research. He has also written The Team That Changed Baseball: Roberto Clemente and the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates, Tales From The Mets Dugout, and The Orlando Cepeda Story.