Sunday, April 3, 2011

Range of Top Trophies O-Royals doubled

For many years the Modern Minor League section of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards has carried checklisted listings for 1975, 1976 and 1977 Top Trophies Omaha Royals.

Generally sharing a large format (8-1/2" x 11" in 1975, 8-1/4" x 11" in 1976 and 7" x 10-3/4" in 1977), these "cards" are blank-back, black-and-white (blue highlights in 1977) with portrait photos and advertising from the sponsor.

Because Omaha was the top farm club of the Kansas City Royals, there are lots of former and future major leaguers in the series, i.e., U.L. Washington, John Wathan, Clint Hurdle.

We've now received confirmation from collector Jeff Osterkamp that similar cards were issued in 1978, 1979 and 1980. All are in similar format. While the size of the 1978 issue is undocumented, the 1979 cards measure 7-1/8" x 11" and the 1980s are 7-5/16" x 11".

Osterkamp is able to provide only the beginnings of checklists for the three issues. His theory for the lack of documentation for the latter three years' cards is eminently plausible.

He believes that all of the Top Trophies cards were originally issued as scorecard inserts. He has seen the earlier cards offered as complete sets, paper clipped together, and believes they may have been offered in that form by the team. Because the 1978-80 cards have only been seen as singles offered here and there over the years. This argues against the latter cards having ever been issued as complete sets.
Actually, if there is some validity to Osterkamp's theory, it is not impossible that there are individual cards remaining to be added to the 1975-77 sets. The known checklists for those stand at 18 in 1975, 27 in 1976 and 19 in 1977.

Here are the players thus far reported for 1978-80:

1978 Top Trophies Omaha Royals: Donald Martin, Jim Sadowski

1979 Top Trophies Omaha Royals: Dave Cripe, Jim Nettles

1980 Top Trophies Omaha Royals: Keith Drumright, Tom Mutz

There are no superstars remaining to be found on the rosters of the 1978-80 Omaha Royals, although there may have been issued players such as Randy Bass, Tim Ireland, Joe Sparks, Onix Concepcion, Ken Phelps, etc.

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