Thursday, November 26, 2020

An anachronistic trip to 2013

This week is turning into a bit of a series of posts featuring Topps cards, so why not continue on that theme?

In 2013, Tony Gwynn had already had cancer treatment and surgery for the mouth cancer that would lead to his death in 2014 at the young age of 54. He was still coaching the San Diego State baseball team, but was finding it difficult to maintain his duties while so poorly. The account of his treatments in He Left His Heart in San Diego is a difficult read.

Trading Card Database lists 307 Tony Gwynn baseball cards released in 2013, which is a surprisingly high number considering it was 12 years after he retired, six years after his induction in the Hall of Fame, and was the year before he died.

Of course, most of the cards in the 307 listed on TCDb are short print memorabilia cards. He appeared in a few Panini sets as they started to experiment with baseball cards and used their licensing agreements with the Hall of Fame to issue some sets, including one card with a picture of Tony's running spikes on

Topps also released quite a few cards featuring Tony across their various sets, including these two.

Card Number 502: Topps Archives 2013; #83-TG

Topps reused the template from the All Star cards in their 1983 set for certain players.

It's a very nice looking card. It triggers my anachronism radar, though. Tony wasn't an All Star in 1983. He was an All Star in so many seasons, they could have given this card to a player who was actually an All Star that year. (I mean, I'm not complaining that this Tony Gwynn card exists, but, well, you know what I mean...)

The back is similarly anachronistic as it talks about the All Star game in San Diego in 1978, which was the year Tony started college in San Diego, six years before his first All Star Game appearance. 

The losing pitcher was Yankees player, Rich "Goose" Gossage, who would later play several seasons alongside Tony as a Padre. 

I have a pennant for that All-Star Game pinned to the wall in my upstairs home office. It's in the room I have been working in since March, when my work team all started working from home due to the pandemic, so I get to see it every day.

I found this pennant quite randomly in an Oxfam charity shop several years ago, along with a whole load of other Major League Baseball pennants of a similar vintage. I wish now I had bought all of them, but I only bought this one and the Padres team one that they had. (And yes, I know, I probably shouldn't have pinned it to the wall, but hindsight is 20:20.)

Card Number 503: Topps Gypsy Queen, 2013; #287

As I've been blogging about Tony Gwynn cards I've been thinking quite a lot about the use of old-time tobacco brand names. This one is another jarring one, considering Tony was undergoing treatment for cancer caused by chewing tobacco the year it was released.

The baroque borders make this card look nice, but I have to admit I find the Gypsy Queen sets all tend to blur into one.

The back has a unique write up, though. I wonder if Greg Maddux knows he was singled out for scrutiny in this way.

Total: 503 cards


  1. I hadn't thought about it until I started reading this post, but it popped into my head. My buddy was able to get Gwynn to sign a bat early in the 2014 SDSU season when they came up to San Jose. I bought it off of him... and just a few months later he passed away. Super sad.

  2. Very cool pennant! And I like that Gwynn All-Star card even though nothing about it matches chronologically.

  3. Fuji - that's poignant timing.
    Chris - I like the card too, even though the anachronism gives me a slight brain-itch