Tuesday, May 24, 2016

1967 Topps All-Star Rookie Team: Get Your Heart Checked!

Here they are - the Topps All-Star Rookie Team, selected "by the Youth of America" following the 1967 season and featured in the 1968 Topps set. 

I have completed the run of these up through 2016 Series one, at least all regular issue cards that bear the All-Star Rookie Trophy. 

Dick Hughes RHP, Rich Nye LHP, and Rick Monday OF were members of the team in 1967, but their 1968 Topps cards did not feature the trophy.
  Right Handed Pitcher - Tom Seaver
Hall of Famer
The Franchise is probably the greatest pitcher to be named to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1967, and quickly became the Ace of the young Mets rotation that blossomed in 1969, winning the World Series. He began to assault the record books of the Mets immediately upon making the team:
 Seaver's career continued to deliver in the 70s and into the 80s, including a no-hitter in 1978, 5 strikeout titles, 3 Cy Young Awards, and 12 All-Star Appearances. He was the Opening Day starter 16 times, striking out over 3,600 batters in his career. He recorded 61 Career Shutouts - for comparison, the active leader in the majors is Clayton Kershaw with 14 (ahem, 15 after last night) . "Tom Terrific" was about as close to a unanimous Hall of Fame Selection as a player can get, named on 98.8% of all ballots. Until this year's election of Ken Griffey, Jr., no player had a higher percentage of votes. Seaver also has the rare distinction of winning two games in the same day. He finished a game suspended the previous night, then started the regularly scheduled game on May 9th, 1984. His 300th win came in New York, as a member of the Chicago White Sox, in August of 1985.
Tom's Rookie Card is the last one Mark Hoyle needs to complete his 1967 Topps Set.
 Outfield - Reggie Smith
Reggie was not a Hall of Famer like the guys before and after him on this list, but his career was still a productive one. He compiled over 2,000 career hits and was a doubles machine - racking up 363 two baggers in 17 major league seasons. He also belted 314 career home runs, scored over 1,000 runs, and drove in over 1,000 more. He made 7 All-Star teams between the Red Sox, Cardinals, and the Dodgers, and even picked up a Gold Glove in 1968. Hey- do you like advanced stats? Reggie's career OPS+ was 137, meaning that he hit 37% better than the league average over his career. The only switch hitter with a higher career OPS+ ? Why, that would be Mickey Mantle. You prefer anecdotes? Hall of Famer Don Sutton said that Smith was a more valuable player for the 1978 Dodgers than Steve Garvey, which may have contributed to a heated wrestling match between Garvey and Sutton in the clubhouse in L.A. Reggie would be quoted as saying his least favorite word was "potential" - a word the media used to describe heights that he did not reach in his career. His overall body of work was solid, and he contributed to some the strongest teams in the 60s and 70s. He was a member of the World Champion Dodgers in 1981, albeit as a bit player at this point, appearing in just two World Series games, and just 41 regular season games. The championship was icing on the cake for a great career.
Reggie's Rookie is #314 in the 1967 Topps set.

 Second Baseman - Rod Carew
Hall of Famer
Rod Carew didn't play baseball much as a teenager - he was born in Panama, and played sparingly with neighborhood kids. The family moved to New York and it wasn't until Rod was in high school that he once again picked up a bat. It turned out that he had a knack for hitting a baseball. Carew won 7 batting titles, won the AL MVP award in 1977, and was the 1967 AL Rookie of the Year. He never hit many home runs, but Carew managed to lead the league in Triples three times, averaged 200 hits and 29 doubles per year, and went to the All-Star game in all but one of his 19 seasons. The Hall of Famer reached the 3,000 hit plateau against his former team, the Twins, in 1985, his final major league season. This offseason, while taking in a round of golf, Rod suffered a heart attack. He has been making slow progress recovering, and likely will need a heart transplant to extend his life. He appeared at TwinsFest and urged everyone to talk to their doctor about their heart health. Carew was one of the game's greatest pure hitters.
Rod's rookie card is pesky high number #569 in the 1967 Topps Set

 Catcher - Dick Dietz
Dietz appeared in just 56 games in 1967. He, like many of other Topps All-Star Rookie Catchers, was the most promising of a thin group. It's rare for a catcher to excel in their rookie season, and they usually take some time to come into their own. For Dietz, that was 1970. Dietz crushed 22 homers and made his first and only All-Star appearance. In that game, Dietz was a reserve, and came into the game in the 7th inning replacing Johnny Bench. Dietz hit a home run that started a rally for the Senior Circuit. The comeback culminated in the unforgettable play at the plate with Pete Rose steamrolling Dietz's opposite number Ray Fosse. Dietz was the batter on deck when Rose scored the run. Dietz had another solid campaign in 1971, hitting 19 homers as the primary catcher for the playoff bound Giants. Dietz was released by the Giants following the 71 season (and the 72 players' Strike; Dietz was the Giants player Rep). The Dodgers picked him up, but he suffered a broken wrist which effectively ended his regular playing time. He appeared in his final major league game in 1973 as a member of the Atlanta Braves.
Dick's Rookie card was #341 in the 1967 Topps Set

 Third Baseman - Bobby Etheridge
Rookie Card
Bobby Etheridge played in just 40 games in 1967, and just 96 Major league games in his career. He managed 26 hits, with 1 home run. He spent most of the season behind Jim Ray Hart on the depth chart. He bounced around the minor leagues until 1973 and was out of baseball. Maybe Sal Bando would have been a better bet, but hindsight is 20/20...

 Outfield - Walt Williams
"No Neck" was short in stature, but he played big on the field. Built like he was hastily crammed into a suitcase*, Williams played the game like he was late for a flight. The reckless abandon on the field made him an instant fan favorite. While he hit for just a .240 average his rookie year, he rebounded and managed a career mark of .270, with a career high average of .304 in 1969. He had his best seasons in terms of average and on base percentage when given the chance to play regularly, which was a rare occurrence for Williams. Defensively, Williams was very very good, making just 19 errors in his career. He did not get the opportunity to play regularly in the States, finishing his career with stints in Venezuela, Mexico, and Japan. He also played in the short lived Senior Baseball League in 1989. Williams passed away in January of this year after a heart attack.
*(quote paraphrased from an unnamed scout, quoted in Williams' NY Times Obit)
Walt's Rookie Card was #598 in the 1967 Topps Set.

 Shortstop - Tim Cullen
Cullen had a career year in his first full season with the Senators in 1967. He had 95 hits, and a career high OBP of .306. His greatest success came as a bench player on the 1972 World Champion Oakland A's. Cullen has the dubious distinction of being traded back to his original team in one season - going from the Senators to the White Sox, then being traded back to Washington (for the same player, Ron Hansen). Both teams decided to have a do over on that one.
Tim's Rookie Card is #167 in the 1967 Topps Set

First Baseman - Lee May
Lee had a great rookie season with the Reds, and it was the start of a career that saw May playing for several teams in both leagues. May was prodigious slugger, though he hit only 12 homers in his first full season, he would go on to hit over 350 for his career. May, in addition to hitting a lot of homers, struck out at a high rate as well. May averaged 123 strikeouts per season - along with Reggie Jackson, Dave Kingman, and others, May ushered in a new era of  home run hitter in the 1970s. Striking out 100+ times in a season would be almost unheard of, but these players were also hitting more home runs on a consistent basis compared to the players of the previous generation. May was definitely consistent - he had 11 consecutive seasons of greater than 20 homers and 80 runs batted in. "The Big Bopper" had his highest total in 1971, hitting 39 big flies. May was a perfect fit in Baltimore, often providing the "3 Run Homer" that Orioles Manager Earl Weaver liked to wait for. His brother Carlos also played pro ball, and between the two of them they have hit the 6th most homers for a pair of brothers (even though most of those came from Lee).
Lee's Rookie Card is #424 in the 1966 Topps Set.


  1. Some great cards there, the Seaver and Carew cards are absolute beauties!

    1. for some reason my scanner doesn't like the burlap pattern and made these look a bit more off center than they actually are - it also cleaned up all the rough corners!

  2. H thanks Brian. Had to rub it in. I completed this 68 all rookie team and put it at the end of the 67 set