1968 TOPPS TOM SEAVER
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:
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…