Mets Card of the Week: 1968 Tom Seaver


1968 Seaver regular

Tom Seaver shared his 1967 Topps rookie card with Bill Denehy.

Of course, Seaver won the Rookie of the Year award that season, earning himself the privilege of not just a stand-alone card in 1968, but also one numbered with the coveted divisor of 5 (45), and adorned with the all-star rookie trophy.

In the portrait photograph selected for his 1968 card, Seaver looks impossibly young. His hat looks impossibly blue. And the sky looks only slightly less-impossibly blue. It is an impossibly beautiful and simple card.

But if the scheming Seaver had had his way, the aquarian star-children of the day would have pulled something quite different from their first-series packs.

You see, back in spring training of 1967, before he’d thrown a pitch in a big-league game, the sly rookie tried to pull a fast one on the Topps lensman, and posed in a follow-through motion as a left-handed pitcher.

And as it happens, Topps initially chose a picture from this session for Seaver’s 1968 card, going so far as to run at least one proof sheet with this layout. He would have gotten away with it too, if not for some meddling proofreader who pointed out that Seaver was indeed a right-handed pitcher.

There is only one known copy of this proof card extant, so all I can share is a degraded iPhone snap of a reproduction of a second-generation scan:

1968 Seaver

It turns out that Seaver wasn’t the only right-handed future Hall of Famer who tried to pull this stunt in 1968– Bob Gibson also appeared as a lefty on his initial proof card. Not sure if they were in cahoots, or if there was just something southpaw in the air that year…

Bob Gibson

6 comments for “Mets Card of the Week: 1968 Tom Seaver

  1. August 13, 2014 at 9:18 am


    Now it makes sense why they gave him such crappy cards until 1974.

  2. August 13, 2014 at 10:32 am

    That’s right up there with the infamous “Aurelio Rodriguez/Angels’ batboy” prank of ’67 and the Juan LeBron/Carlos Beltran mixup from the early ’90s.

    • Doug
      August 13, 2014 at 10:49 am

      And let’s not forget the 1988 Topps Al Leiter/Steve George debacle…

  3. August 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I did not know anything about this. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Patrick Albanesius
    August 13, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Awesome story, as usual!

  5. SNAP
    January 8, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    The 1962 Clete Boyer batting lefty (picture not reversed). 1969 Larry Haney…….same pic as ’68 only reversed making him a left-handed throwing catcher.

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