Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Vintage Fridays: Merv Rettenmund, 1972 Topps #235

Before I got totally sidetracked and stopped updating my website for a year or more at a time, Orioles' uniform numbers were kind of my thing. But I need some help with this one, folks. As you can see, Merv Rettenmund is posing in his best batting stance among the palm trees in sunny Florida. But I can't say for certain which Oriole is standing behind him near home plate. Mystery Bird is wearing number one, but that number was last worn in the regular season by 29-year-old rookie shortstop Chico Fernandez in 1968. Fernandez had two singles in 18 at-bats and was never heard from again. Al Bumbry would come along later in 1972 and wear #1 until he and the team parted ways in 1984, but there's no way that blurry orange name plate says "Bumbry".

I think it's Chico. Merv debuted with the O's in 1968, and he and Fernandez were both still in the Baltimore organization in 1969, though the latter played just four games at Rochester that year. I would never suggest that Topps was recycling three-to-four-year-old pictures on their cards back in the day, but...okay, that's exactly what I'm saying. I seem to remember hearing that the card company ran up against some resistance from Marvin Miller and the MLB Players' Association in the early days of the union. In the pursuit of better compensation for the use of player images, Miller urged the players not to pose for new photos. This was especially noticeable in the 1969 Topps set, which was chock-a-block with early-to-mid-1960s player shots.

If my guess is right, I'm sure Chico Fernandez would have been thrilled to appear on a baseball card three years after his pro career ended.

1 comment:

Commishbob said...

Gotta be Fernandez. The only other possibility I could see was the guy being one of the 'extra' coaches teams will have in camp, usually batting instructors and such but I'd put money on Chico.

Funny thing is I went to the Orioles Baseball Almanac page for 1968 and it lists two numbers for him, 1 and 59.

And I looked in the O's '68 Media Guide and he's listed with 'other players in spring camp', and not on the 40 man roster page. He looks to have had a gap in his appearances that season so maybe he switched numbers during the year.