1966 TOPPS CHECKLIST WARREN SPAHN
The ghost of Warren Spahn haunts the 1966 Topps set.
Spahn appeared on a 1965 card as a Mets pitcher/coach, head balding and face well lined. He was 44 at the time, and had by then won 356 games, thrown 5,046 innings, and given three prime years of his life to service in World War II.
Spahn went 4-12 with a 4.36 ERA for the Mets that year, the high point of his tenure being consecutive complete-game wins against the Dodgers and the Giants during a West Coast swing in April.
His record stood at 4-4 with a sub 4.00 ERA on May 24, but his fortunes turned, and the Mets made what must have been the difficult decision to release Spahn on July 17. Two days later, the fourth-place Giants picked him up, and his veteran leadership helped guide the team to 95 wins and a second-place finish behind the Dodgers.
Spahn announced his retirement following the 1965 campaign, but early iterations of the 1966 Topps second-series checklist catalogued him as card 115 in the set. This was soon corrected, and he was replaced on the checklist by Bill Henry of the Giants.
Over the years, this has led to tantalizing speculation that there might have been a 1966 proof card created picturing Spahn in a San Francisco uniform, but nothing has ever turned up in the Topps archives.
The only sighting of Spahn in the 1966 set is his apparitional appearance on this variant checklist…