22 November 2009

David Mark Winfield's oddball "pre-rookie" card


     I won't bother with the usual rundown of drafting and what not.  Who doesn't already know Big Dave was drafted by four pro teams in three different sports, skipped the minors completely and led his team to the 1973 College World Series?  What everyone may not know is that he actually had a "card" released in his rookie year of 1973.

     Ok, so not actually a card, but from 1973-1977, Dean's Photo Service of San Diego produced a set of 5.5"x8.5" black & white photos of the Padres as stadium give-aways.  Much like my local minor league hockey team does, a small selection of photos were released at a time in tandem with a post-game signing session by the players & coaches in question.  These were very nice pieces, with great posed photos on the front and a surprisingly detailed player biography and complete career stats on the back of the later years.  I snagged this photo in one of the rare appearances of this set on eBay:

     At the time of release, Nate Colbert was the heavy hitter and star of the Padres.  Unfortunately for the team, after a good 1973 season, in 1974 he would injure his back and be out of baseball by 1976.  However, the timing couldn't have been better for the entry of the a young Winfield, who would be joined by Willie McCovey to replace Colbert's lost power.

     Annoyingly, I missed the set the first time I saw it and it went for just around $30.  Naturally Winfield is the only pricey part of the set.  Recently both the 1973 & 1974 sets popped up on eBay, but the BuyItNow was well over $100 for each, so I'll just have to be satisfied with catching a glimpse.

     Oddly, neither Beckett nor the Standard Catalog list all of these sets, so it took some detective work to realize all these sets even existed.

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