I'm not sure how well you'll be able to see the details of what we're presenting here . . . the site that hosts this blog comes up short in regards to WYSIWYG.
Based on a report and scans provided by Illinois collector Eric Loy, I'm considering adding a variation to the 1973 Topps listing in the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. Actually it would be a variation of a variation.
Currently "the bible" lists variations for 13 of the teams' manager/coaches cards. Most of these involve an early version on which the background of the coaches' photos was printed in brown, and a later version on which the background was rendered in orange, presumably to make the portraits stand out better.
These variations have been recognized for more than 30 years, though collectors generally do not place a premium value on them.
Perhaps it was A's manager Dick Williams' election to the Hall of Fame in 2008, but recent scrutiny of his 1973 card by Loy has revealed what is indubitably three versions of card #179.
Version 179a has the earlier muddy brown background behind the bug-sized portraits of the staff. What we will now call version #179b has the coaches' backgrounds changed to orange, but in the process, many of their ears were deformed or nearly removed.
The #179c version retains the orange backgrounds, but the coaches' ears were restored to a more normal appearance.
Loy points out that in #179b, Vern Hoscheit's right shoulder is considerably bigger than it is in #179c, while Irv Noren's left shoulder is noticably larger in #179b than in #179c.
I believe I'm going to hold off making this addition until the 2012 edition, as I have a feeling that closer inspection of all 1973 manager/coaches cards by today's more focused and communicative variations collectors may turn up further variations that are candidates for inclusion.
On the other hand, I'm going to delist three variations from the 1973 Topps set. Currently for cards #20 Stan Bahnsen, #31 Buddy Bell and #504 Earl Williams, the book lists "a" versions that have complete black frames around the photos, and "b" versions that have small gaps in the frames. It now appears that this type of anomaly occurs much more frequently in the '73 set (and others, as well) and probably more accurately comes under the heading of printing error, rather than design variation.
Post a comment or email me -- with scans -- if you find other unlisted variations among the 1973 manager/coaches cards.