I don’t remember the first time I ever saw the Topps Plaks from 1968, but I think it was either at a National Convention or at one of Alan Rosen’s auctions way back when. I recall seeing some packs, and, of course, the checklist cards, but I don’t think I’ve seen the actual plastic “busts” more than a couple of times.
All of which made writing a recent story about the Mile High Card Co. find of them in Duryea, Pa., all the more interesting. It wasn’t released exactly how many turned up in the find, but according to Mile High President Brian Drent, there were at least enough for his crew to make a startling discovery: five of the players long thought to be part of the checklist may never have been issued.
“From the 24 players slated for production, no collector with whom we’ve spoken has ever seen a single example of Aaron, Drysdale, Mays, Peters, or Frank Robinson, and it is our belief that they were simply never produced,” said Drent.
Given that this find almost certainly represents the single most significant body of evidence concerning the population and configuration of this rare issue, it was inevitable that the absence of those five players would have profound implications.
“As far as we can tell, every player in the set can be found in two separate three-player sprues, save for Pete Rose, who only appears in one sprue arrangement, and another five players: Tommy Davis, Catfish Hunter, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Longborg, and Jim Wynn, who all appear on three different sprues,” Drent continued. “We believe that these five players, for whatever reason, took the place of the notorious five whose existence, after weeks of telephone calls to the hobby’s most prolific collectors, we still cannot confirm.”
I’ll have more on this amazing find in tomorrow’s blog.