Monday, February 13, 2017

0 for 2 With Recent Mysteries

Another mystery with no solution...

The 1975 Cubs team card was a non-floater, with an nondescript team photo.

Or so I thought.

Lynn P. left a comment on my post on the 1974 card, with this question on the 1975 team card, "On the 1975 Team Card, They have a team picture, but one of the players in the upper right has face whited out. Do you know who that player was?"

She is referring to the player in the top row, far right.

This closeup shows the faded face.

I never noticed that before.

My curiosity was piqued.

Before I move ahead, a word about the picture Topps used.  Two things.

First, this is definitely a picture from 1974.  Bill Madlock is in the front row, fourth from the right.  The 1974 season was his first with the team, so this must be a 1974 picture.  Second thing, I believe the original picture was in black and white and the Topps artists colored it.  The grass, the ivy, the red C, the lack of any pinstripes, the blue sky above the wall instead of bleachers or the catwalk; I believe those are all signs that the picture was colored.

So how can I find out who the player is, knowing that the Cubs used a floating head picture in 1974?

A search of both eBay and Google images turned up nothing.

But it gave me a clue.  As I searched for Cubs team photos, I occasionally found traditional team pictures of Cubs team in years when there were floating heads sold at Wrigley.  A little more digging revealed that the traditional team pictures came from the Sporting News Official Baseball guides.

If I could get my hands on a 1974 guide, I might find the team picture used on the 1975 card.  Not only that, but the team guides always listed the names of the players from the photo.

I was able to get a 1974 guide for just five bucks.  I was very excited when it came.  I immediately thumbed through to find the Cubs page.  And there is was.... the traditional tam picture...

...of the 1973 Cubs.  Rats!  The 1974 guide covers the 1973 season.

If I want to find the 1974 team picture, I need to get the 1975 guide.

Five bucks and a week later I had the '75 guide in hand. Again I quickly flipped through to the Cubs page and...

...RATS!!!  The Sporting News used the floating heads!!!!

The mystery remains unsolved.

I can't identify the blurry player.  But I did find the phantom player instead.

More on that tomorrow!


  1. Wow, you're really into this solving these mysteries! I don't think I would have went as far to purchase a Sporting News Baseball Guide, let alone two!

  2. I hope that you eventually figure out who the blurry player is. I can't stand cliffhangers ;)

  3. Kind of looks like Cubs bullpen catcher Don Pinkus.