COMC mail day part one.

Just before Christmas a package arrived in the mail from COMC. I know I recently posted about how I committed to getting at least 20% of O-Pee-Chee’s 512 Twins cards – roughly 105. In addition to these, I also bought nearly the entire 1970 team set and that’ll be it’s own post(image overload much?) but here’s the few I picked up issued before 1970.






Dwight Siebler, 1967 O-Pee-Chee.
A long time reliever, Dwight Siebler is pictured here in his first O-Pee-Chee card! His Topps flagship card would be his fourth year, and third individually having shared his 1964 Topps with Gerry Arrigo as “Twins Rookies”. In 48 career appearances across 117.1 innings pitched, Dwight sported a 3.45 ERA, having allowed only 45 earned runs with 71 strikeouts and 44 walks.

Remaining 1967 O-Pee-Chee Twins:
15 Earl Battey
50 Tony Oliva
98 Rich Rollins
133 Ron Kline
137 Rookies Stars – Ron Clark & Jim Ollom
164 Dwight Siebler
194 Bob Allison

Ted Uhlaender, 1968 O-Pee-Chee.
In his first O-Pee-Chee issued card, Ted’s pictured here before/after taking hacks in the cage – probably in spring training. Topps flagship had pictured him in 1966 with Andy Kosco, and 1967 by himself. 1968 Topps and by nature, O-Pee-Chee was plagued with a player’s strike, so many of the photos that were used are from previous years, sometime’s many years.

Ted Uhlaender’s 1968 season saw him finish 28th in MVP voting as he batted .283/.324/.389 having hit 21 doubles, 7 home runs, and 52 RBIs and a career high 111 OPS+. Known as a much better hitter than a defender during his career despite the .991 fielding %, his -4.7 dWAR and 6.1 oWAR tell the truth. He was traded along with Graig Nettles, Dean Chance and Bob Miller to the Indians for Luis Tiant and Stan Williams on December 10, 1969. Tiant’s no slouch, but imagine the 70s Twins with both Graig Nettles. May have been a better latter half of the decade. Ted would briefly serve under Charlie Manuel’s coaching staff with the Indians, as well as a scout for the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Giants until his health took a turn for the worse having been diagnosed with multiple myeloma bone marrow cancer. Ted passed away shortly after in February 2009.

Remaining 1968 O-Pee-Chee Twins:
4 1967 RBI Leaders – Carl Yastrzemski/Harmon Killebrew/Frank Robinson
6 1967 Home Run Leaders – Carl Yastrzemski/Harmon Killebrew/Frank Howard
10 1967 Pitching(Wins) Leaders – Jim Lonborg/Earl Wilson/Dean Chance
12 1967 Strikeout Leaders – Jim Lonborg/Sam McDowell/Dean Chance
28 Ted Uhlaender
44 Frank Kostro
64 Jim Merritt
67 Checklist #1-109 – Jim Kaat
80 Rod Carew
91 Jim Ollom
111 Rich Reese
137 Minnesota Twins
165 Tony Oliva
181 Jerry Zimmerman

Ted Uhlaender, 1969 O-Pee-Chee.
Another of Ted, this time from 1969. Ted followed up a solid 1968 by equaling most of his previous year’s totals posting 18 doubles, 8 home runs, 62 RBIs, and a .273/.328/.356 batting line in 152 games, a career high. A year later, according to his SABR post:

In 1970 Uhlaender struck a blow for players’ rights. On behalf of professional baseball players, he sued Kent L. Henricksen and the Nemadji Game Company. The case sought to enjoin a manufacturer of a “scientific” baseball board game from using players’ names and statistical records without payment of royalty or licensing fees to the players.

A federal judge in Minneapolis agreed with the players, holding that a player’s “name, likeness, statistics, and other personal characteristics, is the fruit of his labors and is a type of property” entitled to protection from unauthorized commercial use by others. The court rejected the claim of unlawful antitrust action by the players’ union in demanding royalty fees for the use of the players’ names and statistics. Once a ballplayer, always a ballplayer, in the eyes of the law.

Citing this as a source, where would the current state of cards be if the federal judge had ruled otherwise? No stats, name, or images? R.I.P. Panini’s baseball division. Speaking of outside-of-baseball ties, his daughter holds two Olympic gold medals in skeleton racing, as well as having worked on her acting chops in this episode of friend-of-the-blog Watch The Breaks Youtube series.

Rich Reese, 1969 O-Pee-Chee.
Rich’s second O-Pee-Chee card here, having been previously featured the previous year and having been snubbed for a 1965 Topps “Twins Rookies” counterpart(with Joe Nossek, John Sevcik). Forever blocked by Don Mincher, Harmon Killebrew, Vic Power, and Bob Allison as Twins first basemen in the 60s, Rich was beginning his second full season in the majors in 1969. Rich finished the campaign with 16 home runs, 69 RBI and having batted .322/.362/.513. Compared to the Twins other decade first basemen, in 1969(or in Power’s case, 1965, the last year he played in MLB games), Reese finished 2nd fiddle in most categories to Harmon Killebrew’s 1969 AL MVP season. With an assist from Baseball-Reference, I ranked each of the below categories from top to last, and awarded five points for 1st among the group, 4 points for second, etc, etc. As you can see, he handled himself well among his peers, just dwarfed by an otherworldly Killer.

As far as the card, it wouldn’t be an O-Pee-Chee release without horrible cropped cutting and centering issues. I love these quick posed shots though, probably spring training with some underpaid kid running around snapping photos – “Hey Rich, pose for a quick one!”.

Remaining 1969 O-Pee-Chee Twins:
1 1969 AL Batting Leaders Carl Yastrezemski/Danny Cater/Tony Oliva
30 Bob Allison
56 Rich Reese
77 Ron Perranoski
99 Rookie Stars – Graig Nettles & Danny Morris
121 Joe Grzenda
146 Jim Perry
194 Ted Uhlaender
218 John Roseboro