The Time Managers Were Traded and Topps Airbrushed Their Baseball Cards

Frank Lane was infamous for making many trades, including players like Norm Cash, Rocky Colavito, Roger Maris, Red Schoendienst, and Early Wynn. Among the over 400 trades he made in his career included one for managers. In 1960, when he was the GM of the Cleveland Indians, he sent Joe Gordon to Detroit and brought Jimmy Dykes over to the Indians in the middle of the season.

Many baseball fans may remember Joe Gordon more for playing with the Yankees and Indians. He was the MVP in 1942, a 9x All-Star, 5x World Series champion, and entered the Hall of Fame in 2009. He began his managing career with the Indians in 1958 but had a rocky relationship with Frank Lane. So Gordon, in 1959, said he wouldn’t return to the team the following year, so Lane fired him. However, he rehired him shortly after that. Gordon was 49-46 with Cleveland in 1960 when Lane sent him to Detroit.

1960 Topps #216 Joe Gordon – Front
1960 Topps #216 Joe Gordon – Reverse

Gordon would go 26-31 with Detroit in 1960 but wouldn’t re-sign as their manager. Instead, he became Kansas City Athletic’s coach for the 61 season, where he went 26-33 before being fired and replaced by Hank Bauer. So we never got a Topps Baseball card with Gordon in a Tigers uniform. Gordon would be a head coach again in 1969 for the Kansas City Royals, going 69-93 before resigning.

For his 1960 card, Topps used the same photo from the 1959 Indians Picture Pack. They then used the same image, with a little airbrushing, for his 1961 Topps card as the Athletics Coach.

1959 Cleveland Indian Picture Pack – Joe Gordon
1961 Topps #224 Joe Gordon – Front
1961 Topps #224 Joe Gordon – Reverse

Jimmy Dykes was also a player before becoming a manager. He played for 22 years between 1918 and 1939 before becoming a manager between 1934 and 1961. He was the player/manager for the Chicago White Sox from 1934 to 1939. As a player, he was a 2x All-Star and 2x World Series champion.

Dykes had a record of 44-52 with the Detroit Tigers in 1960 before being sent to the Indians, where he would go 26-32. He stayed on as the Indian’s coach in 1961, going 77-83 before retiring.

1960 Topps #214 Jimmie Dykes – Front
1960 Topps #214 Jimmie Dykes – Reverse

Topps used the same photo they used for Dykes’ 1960 Topps card for his 1961 card. I haven’t been able to find a team photo or type 1 for the 1960 Dykes card; if you have one, please leave a comment down below.

1961 Topps #222 Jimmie Dykes – Front
1961 Topps #222 Jimmie Dykes – Reverse

It wasn’t uncommon for Topps to reuse and airbrush images throughout the vintage post-war era. But, as far as I know, this is the only case of a trade involving a pair of managers forcing Topps to do a little of their magic airbrushing. Happy Collecting!

Leave a Reply