Tuesday, November 01, 2011
A baseball card mystery: George Scott’s 1973 Topps cardPosted by Bruce Markusen
This 1973 Topps card has always puzzled me. Oh, I know that the featured players are George Scott, wearing those classic old road blues of the Brewers, and Bert Campaneris, sporting the Kelly green of the A’s. Scott is about to slap a late tag onto Campaneris on an attempted pickoff play. There is no mistaking the identity of those players, though it is a strange coincidence that Campaneris is featured on so many cards of other players in the 1973 set.
Now look more closely at those fans in the stands. They don’t appear to be looking at the pickoff attempt at first base. It appears that the fans are looking toward either second base or third base, where no action is taking place. These fans definitely appear to be from a different game, looking at action that has nothing to do with Scott and Campaneris.
So what in the world is going on here? Why would Topps take the foreground figures of Scott and Campaneris, along with the playing field, and superimpose them onto a false background? What is the point of doing that?
I’ve read one theory that says that the background stands are actually from County Stadium in Milwaukee, and not from the Oakland Coliseum. Perhaps some of our readers, those who are familiar with the old ballpark in Milwaukee, could offer some insight as to whether it is actually County Stadium.
And if it is County Stadium, the same question persists. Why? Was it because there were too many empty seats at the Oakland Coliseum? Or is there some other reason behind this baseball card mystery?
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.