Mike Cosgrove – 1975 Topps
December 2, 2010
There’s A Font Problem Here, People.
Look at the lettering on the back of Mr. Cosgrove’s uniform.
Now look at this:
(Sorry for the crooked scan, but lefties are always a bit cockeyed, aren’t they.)
This has to be at Houston’s spring training complex. Actually, it looks like they rented out a high school field in June to take these shots, but no matter. They’re in the same place – same team – same POSE even.
But look at the name on Cosgrove’s back, and look at the name on Scherman’s back.
It had to be taken in Spring of 1973. According to this post on Uni Watch (which you should read because if you’re geeky enough to collect baseball cards, you obviously care about uniforms and sartorial eloquence, amirite?) the Astros had NOB in 1973 (and 1972). Cosgrove was in the Astros chain and got promoted to the bigs in late 1972 but may not have been in major league spring training in 1972, as he spent 1971 in the FSL and made it to the bigs after good work in AA and AAA in 1972.
He made the club out of the spring in 1973 and was sent down in May to get more work in at AAA, but made it back up to the bigs later that year. In 1974, he was a prime candidate for the majors (though he did start the year in AAA).
Scherman wasn’t an Astro until 1973. He spent his big league career (starting in 1969) in Detroit. Billy Martin probably over-used him a bit in 1971 when he was their ace reliever and his stats began to slip. After the 1973 season he was sent (along with cash) to Houston for Jim Ray, a reliever also on the downside of his career, and Gary Sutherland, who would become the Tigers everyday second baseman in 1974 after spending two years playing in AAA for the Astros organization.
There was no reason not to expect Scherman to make the big club.
They both look like the Astros major league uniforms. So why the different fonts on the back?
Was it because they knew that they would have NNOB in 1974, and just slapped some letters on Scherman’s uniform in the spring because everyone else had them? Or did they just run out of the good letters, or what?
This is a mystery, and I won’t quit thinking about it until it’s solved…
…or something else occupies my brain.