Apr 23, 2010

Manager Cards: Danny Ozark and the Pope

Manager cards were always an interesting (though sometimes unwanted) parts of sets. It's not until much later in my collecting life that I can appreciate the quirkiness of manager cards.

There seem to be a myriad of ways in which they are presented. In 2010 Topps for example, the manager is an afterthought with a small headshot on the back of the team card. In 1989 Topps, the first set I collected extensively, the manager cards only had a team checklist on the back (which I colored in of course). In 2009 Topps Heritage (and 1960 Topps), the manager card gotits own unique design with cartoons on the back and everything.

First, on the left is the 1978 Topps Danny Ozark card. What's interesting is that the back of the card mentions almost nothing about the 101 win season and division title from the previous year. Instead, the rear of the card is highlighted by his minor league batting stats. Ozark had a long and distinguished minor league playing career before his managerial days. He played many years in AA and AAA, but never quite made it.

On the right is the final card as Paul Owens as a manager and GM of the Phillies when he led them to the 1983 pennant. This back is more conventional with a managerial record. Paul Owens has been the most influential character for player development in Phillies history, even having the minor league player of the year award for the Phillies system named after him. Does he look like the Pope or what?

I'm split on what manager cards should depict. Outside of base Topps sets or Topps Heritage sets (2010 and beyond), they shouldn't be making an appearance?

What do you want to see if you happen to stumble upon a manager card? An ejection scene? A pitching change? A game of pepper? Managerial stats? Team stats? Motivational speech recordings? Let's design the ultimate manager card.


Jim from Downingtown said...

Manager cards? Heck, I'd like to design an entire set.

When I'm King of the Baseball-card World (to coin a phrase), we will see this:

1. Topps will go back to the 7-series format, issuing a series monthly from February (when interest begins) to August (after which fan interest from also-ran teams turns to football). None of this September limited-release high-numbers stuff that penalizes current collectors (can't find 'em) and future collectors (exorbitant cost per card).

2. Every player will have a card (well, 25 players per team anyway.) For every team, there will be 25 players, 1 team card, 1 manager card, 1 rookies card, and 1 combo card like we saw in the 1960s). 30 teams x 29 cards = 870 cards.

3. Also, 12 league-leaders cards, 18 all-star cards, 7 checklists, up to 8 World Series cards, and 1 card to summarize each LDS and LCS series (6 total). That's 51 total "non-team" cards.

4. 870 + 51 = 921 planned cards. If a printed sheet contains 132 cards, then 132 x 7 series = 924 total cards. That leaves room for 3 discretionary cards, or, some of the checklists can be double-printed.

Now, where did I put my printing press?

Jim said...

Manager cards belong in all base Topps sets - with the coaches included on the cards. I'm a big fan of the '73 and '74 manager cards, featuring the floating heads of the team's coaches.