Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Solid Vs. Natural

The title doesn't refer to different types of hitters, but certain cards of team coaches. In the 1973 Topps baseball set, several manager cards can be found with two variations. Here's one, featuring Twins skipper Frank Quilici:

Card #49 -- Frank Quilici, Minnesota Twins Manager

Before explaining the differences, I must mention that I'm not actively seeking out a 1973 master set, Nor do I intend to build one. I merely had both versions as I was putting together my set and decided to keep them. As I show the cards, I'll feature any other manager variations as well.

While this card is a little more faded than the one above, you can see the differences behind the coaches' photos:
As you can see, one card has the natural background shown behind the coaches, while the other has them set against a solid-colored background. I'm guessing the bottom card was released first and "corrected" once it was understood how busy the smaller, sepia-tinted coaches' photos looked. That's merely my opinion, however.

1973 was the first full season as Twins manager for Quilici. Nicknamed "Guido," he was a utility infielder for five seasons between 1965-'70 with the team and played for them during the '65 World Series. Promoted to manager at the age of 33, he would lead the team through 1975.

Vern Morgan only saw limited major league action with the Cubs in 1954-'55 but had a long association with the Minnesota Twins' organization, beginning with the team even when they were still playing as the Washington Senators. After managing in the minors for eight seasons, Morgan was promoted to the parent team's coaching staff in 1969. Sadly, he was afflicted with kidney trouble; he passed away in 1975 after having complications from a kidney transplant.

Bob "Buck" Rodgers is one of many ex-major league catchers-turned-coaches and managers. After spending much of the 1960s with the L.A./California Angels, he became a Twins coach in 1970. He would later serve as manager for the Brewers, Expos and Angels.

Ralph Rowe never made the major leagues as a player in 15 seasons. His professional career -- like many of those in the 1940s -- was halted during World War Two as Rowe joined the service. Like Morgan, he had stayed on with the Senators/Twins after playing for their minor league clubs, he made Quilici's coahing staff and lasted until Quilici's dismissal in '75. Later, Rowe was the batting coach for the Baltimore Orioles, who helped him recieve a World Series ring in 1983. Rowe passed away in 1996.

Al Worthington pitched for five teams in his 14-year playing career and was a valuable asset to the Twin's '65 pennant-winning team. Later, he would become the head coach at Liberty University. Liberty's baseball field is named in his honor.


  1. We found a third variation on the Dick Williams card. That's in Bob Lemke's blog.

  2. Nice cards there, but on my opinion if being ask what will i choose between the two i would consider picking the card at the bottom. It is real for me.. not edited i mean. It attracts me more..