Friday, February 13, 2015

Actual Error Cards From The Past To 2015 Topps Series One Baseball

It’s Free Dress Friday here on All About Cards. That means anything goes, like last week when we introduced you to Puppy Bowl Trading Cards. So put on your casual clothes and let’s look at the lighter side of Sports Cards.

Collectors love to chase rare cards. Nowadays that can be low numbered serial cards, short printed cards or a host of other cardboard oddities. But the one rarity that collectors have chased that has withstood the test of time is the error card. This is when the manufacturer misses something and that mistake finds it’s way into packs. Sometimes these errors are eventually corrected. Sometimes they are just accepted and left that way.

Here are some examples.

This is one seasoned collectors will instantly recognize. It’s an iconic error card, a 1990 Topps Frank Thomas card. Can you find the mistake?
What if I show this same card in corrected form?
This error card is rare and commands a hefty sum. It was easy to spot, but the next may be a little bit more difficult.

This is a 1957 Topps Hank Aaron card. Can you spot the error?
This is a classic early example of an error card that is less likely to happen nowadays. The photo negative that was used for this card was flipped which is why Aaron, a righty hitter is portrayed as a lefty. The Braves where still in Milwaukee at this time so the “M” on Aaron’s cap is mirror image but looks fine. It’s the backwards 4 of his uniform number 44 that is the other giveaway.

That one was a bit more difficult. How about this one? It’s a 1969 Topps Aurelio Rodriguez.
The error here is this is Aurelio Rodriguez’s card but that’s not Aurelio Rodriguez. The photo is of the Angels’ bat boy, Leonard Garcia. 

With an emphasis on quality control these days, errors occur less frequently causing companies to create short printed cards to feed collector’s need for rarity. In an attempt to keep things interesting they are using sparkles and photo variations. 

But I say if you are going to make a short prints like a photo variation why not make error cards. ACTUAL error cards. Not player cards that contain errors but cards that contain player’s errors.

Here’s what an "Actual Error Card" would look like.

This is Matt Holliday’s 2014 Topps regular base card. It’s a great looking card.
But who can forget Holliday’s classic error during a 2008 playoff game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. So here is Matt Holliday's 2014 Actual Error Card.
And who WOULDN’T want to get their hands on this card?

Certainly there are plenty of great error photos from which to choose. There are certainly plenty of rookie errors. Here is a 2014 Topps Billy Hamilton.
There could easily be an SP error parallel. 
I think I like the error card better than the actual base card.

Star players are also fair game. Here is Josh Hamilton’s memorable base card from 2011 Topps.
And here is his Actual Error Card.
And we can’t leave out a powerful error combination. How about the Mets and Luis Castillo? His 2010 Topps card is not terrible.
But you have to admit, this error SP is pretty collectable.
Now here’s my fear. Just a simple SP error photo variation may not be enough in the age of unlimited variations. So let’s take Luis Castillo again, but I’ll stop making fun of the Mets. Marlins, you’re up.

Here one of Castillo’s earlier cards, his 2003 Topps base.
Now instead of his error, let’s change it up and make it an error that he was involved in.
Yes, for those that remember, and I’m gathering that’s a good percentage of Chicago, the ball that Bartman went after came off the bat of Luis Castillo. And while we are at it, we might as well replace the insert photo too.
That’s better.

Now I did promise you a 2015 Topps Series 1 Actual Error Card. Perhaps this is not what you were expecting when you first saw the headline. Next time just try to remember that on Free Dress Fridays anything goes. Please check back next Friday for more causal fun. Until then, I leave your with this, Mike Trout’s amazing 2015 Topps Series 1 base card.
And here is his Actual Error Card… with a sparkle thrown in on his elbow.


  1. A few other historical suggestions:
    Maybe an 1986 Topps Bill Buckner is in order?
    A Tobacco card depicting "Merkle's Boner" (that was a baserunning mistake for all us giggling like 9 year olds)?
    A 1993 Topps Jose Canseco with the ball bouncing off his head?