Chuckneo over at Lifetime Topps Project has thrown out an idea for a Blogger Bat Around. I decided to take part! Here's the idea: What’s the card or card(s) that weren’t produced that you wish had been made?
Now there are a lot of ways you could take that. From the original Bat Around challenge, "Was there a rookie card that came out later than others? Was there a
player who played just one year for a team but didn’t get a card in a
certain set? Was there a subset of cards – or even an entire set – that
you wish had never been discontinued?"
I decided to go in a different direction. I was thinking about players missing time for military service. Most of those guys were in World War 2, years when baseball cards were not being produced anyway. So I couldn't just grab the 1944 Topps design and put a photo on it. But I figured there must be players who missed time for more recent wars. Turns out, not so much. But there were several players who had their careers delayed by war.
One such player is Al Bumbry, the subject of my favorite Earl Weaver quote:
"Raleighs have gone from six fifty to nine dollars a carton, but there's a three-quarter cent coupon on the back. You can get all kinds of things with them - blenders, everything. I saved up enough one time and got Al Bumbry."
— Earl Weaver
Bumbry started his professional career in the Orioles minor league system in 1969,
only to see it interrupted by military duty. Of all the major leaguers
to serve during the Vietnam War, Bumbry had one of the most
distinguished tenures. As a platoon leader and lieutenant, he earned the
Bronze Star for heroism before receiving an honorable discharge in
June of 1969. None of Bumbry’s men lost their lives while under his
His rookie card is from the 1973 set after 9 games and a total of 11 plate appearances in 1972. Here's the card.
I figure that if he hadn't spent the 2 years in Vietnam, he might have made his major league debut 2 years earlier, in 1970, making his RC from the 1971 set. Here is my re-imagining of it: