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A Few More Topps Baseball Card Printing Errors

I’ve been on a bit of a sports card error kick lately, last week writing about a few of my favorite Vintage Football Error Cards. Today, I’ll focus on some unique post-war baseball card errors that Topps made in the printing process.  

1957 Topps #20 Hank Aaron

If you take a close look, you might notice something odd about Hank Aaron’s 1957 Topps baseball card; he’s batting left-handed. Topps simply made an odd printing mistake when they transposed the photograph they used to make the card. Topps never corrected the error in the print run of the immensely popular 1957 Topps set.

1957 Topps #20 Hank Aaron

1959 Topps #440 Lou Burdette

Topps made a pair of mistakes on the uncorrected 1959 Lou (Lew) Burdette card. First, they spelled his name as Lou when it was Lew, and second, Burdette was a right-handed pitcher, but he put his glove on the opposite hand and fooled the photographer and Topps editors. This card was also never corrected.

1959 Topps #440 Lou Burdette

1969 Topps #209 Larry Haney

There haven’t been many left-handed catchers in MLB history. And contrary to his 1969 Topps baseball card, Larry Haney wasn’t one either. Topps again accidentally reversed the photo negative they used for the card. There’s a bit more to the story; it’s the same photo Topps used in the 1968 set…even though he was on a different team!

1969 Topps #209 Larry Haney
1968 Topps #42 Larry Haney

1974 Topps Washington Errors

Topps printed 15 1974 San Diego Padres cards with Washington and “NAT’L LEA.” printed on them. They anticipated the team’s move to Washington from San Diego, but that didn’t happen. Topps halted production, but not before an error set of 15 cards (13 player cards, the team card, and manager) was inserted into the newly crafted singe series packs.

1974 Topps #32 John Grubb Washington Error
1974 Topps #32 John Grubb San Diego Corrected Version

Many other printing errors in the post-war era resulted from technical problems in the printing process. Examples include the green-tinted cards in the second series of 1962 Topps and the plethora of variations and errors made in the 1967 Topps set, but I’ll leave those for a later post. 

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