Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Edge Of Nineteen

Another month, another batch of 1960 Topps Venezuelan Baseball Tattoos!

Eight new subjects have come to light and, as a bonus, we now have a scan of Early Wynn. Here's the skinny:

Tony Gonzalez (Topps made an s out of the z) was Cuban and had played two seasons for Havana in the minors (quite ironically a farm club of the Reds at the time) and was a 23 year old rookie with Cincinnati in 1960.  He is a Venezuelan only subject and quite a curious one at that.

Dick was firmly established as a major leaguer by 1960 and would win the MVP that season.  He was also in the U.S. issue.

Frank Lary was a heckuva pitcher for the Tigers until he hurt his arm in 1962.  Known as the "Yankee Killer," he was also in the U.S. issue.

Juan Pizarro (with one z and two r's) was Puerto Rican and is a Venezuelan only subject. He bounced up and down between the majors and the minors for the Braves for three seasons before sticking for good in 1960.  He did play for Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League in 1957-58 and 1958-59 and pitched very well for them.

Two more recently came over my transom and are quite shot, UV light was needed to bring out the images:

That's Gene Woodling if you can't tell.  There's others of known subjects that are even worse than that but some are just little abstract works of art at this point.  Here's a bigger name though:

Stan the diffuse man! We do have one more to show of course:

Early shows up late!  There's two more are out there though.

Pedro Ramos has shown up in an SGC pop report, although there's no scan available.  It's yet another subject that's only in the Venezuelan set and he is also another Cuban player.  SGC being SGC, I would like to see a scan someday to confirm. (UPDATE Noon 2/25/23: Just in, Mr. Ramos):

He's in nice shape too! The big news however, is the nineteenth subject:


Trashed, but it's a Clemente!  Venezuelan only, Puerto Rican national.

Bob Allison
Ruben Amaro (Venezuelan only)
Luis Arroyo (Venezuelan only)
Bob Clemente (Venezuelan only)
Rocky Colavito
Don Drysdale
Nellie Fox
Tony Gonzales (Venezuelan only)
Dick Groat
Harmon Killebrew
Frank Lary
Juan Marichal  (Venezuelan only)
Ed Mathews
Stan Musial
Juan Pizzaro (Venezuelan only)
Vic Power (Venezuelan only)
Pedro Ramos (Venezuelan only)
Gene Woodling
Early Wynn

In terms of Venezuelan-only, Venezuelan-born subjects (none have appeared so far, although it was a slim field back then) I can't believe Luis Aparicio isn't in the set (he is not in the U.S. issue).  At a guess, I would think at least 20 or 24 subjects were produced and Aparicio really should be in the set given his nationality and stellar play but until any more bubble up that's just speculation.  It sure seems like there should be some more star power as well.

As to the year of issue, the 1961-62 winter season sure seems like the best bet at this point. The Caribbean-centric non-US players are very intriguing and may hold some clues as to how these were marketed but I'm hearing the pipeline of these has closed, who knows when (or if) more information will come out.

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