A Klingon In The 1964 Topps Baseball Card Set & Other Strange Musings

Some Random Observations On 1964 Baseball Cards and Players

Joe Torre 1964 Topps looks angry

Take away the cap and Joe Torre is not a ballplayer. He looks like a tough Brooklyn badass who you wouldn’t want to mess with.

The 1964 Topps baseball card set could be known as the mug shot set. Boring head shots predominate with few players pictured in full body or action poses.

Here are some of the cards that are noteworthy.

First off, There is no truth to the rumor that the Star Trek TV show based the look of the Klingons on Wally Moon.

Dodger klingon Wally Moon Topps 1964

Wally had a very good 12 year career with a lifetime batting average of .289. He passed away in 2018 at age 87.

Latman 1964 ToppsWhen a player’s status with his team was in doubt the photographer would subtly ask the player to take a picture without their hat. If the hat was in the photograph and the player’s team had changed in the interim, Topps artists would clumsily airbrush away the insignia and uniform of the player’s previous team.

Whoever took this photo of Barry Latman must have had an idea Latman would not be with the Indians in 1964. You can imagine the photographer tell Latman, “Now move your hat higher Barry. No, higher. A little bit more. Perfect.”

We get a good look at what the underside of a pro baseball cap looks like and now, no Angels fan will see the Indians symbol. But Topps didn’t bother to retouch the photo. That is clearly an Indians uniform.

The future master of the spitball, Gaylord Perry is saying “Here, check if there’s any Vaseline on my fingers.”

Gaylord Perry 1964 Topps

No, Tigers manager Chuck Dressen is not at a hog calling contest. He’s just hollering. And the Tigers apparently aren’t listening to him. They ended up finishing in 5th place in 1963 and 4th in 1964.

Topps 1964 Chuck Dressen

Boog Powell never looked more svelte. Maybe that is what enabled him to hit two triples in both 1962 and 1963. Over the next 14 years of his 2042 game career Boog tripled only seven more times. His weight is listed at 235 pounds in this 1964 card.

Boog Powell 1964 Topps looking trim and slim

Three players in the 1964 Topps set wear eyeglasses.

On the back of every card there is a blurb extolling some positive value of the player no matter how routine.

The best thing they can say about Carl Sawatski on his 1964 baseball card after an 11 year major league career is, “Released by Cardinals in December 1963” That is sad.

So here is Carl. He looks more like your father’s friend who is “good with tools and can fix anything,” rather than a catcher.

Ken Mackenzie was an original New York Met, pitching for the hapless team in 1962 and 1963. Miraculously, Ken had a winning record both seasons going 5-4 and 3-1. In those two spartan seasons the Mets won only 91 games while losing 231.

It could be the haircut or maybe the glasses but Rich Rollins reminds me of grandpa in this photo. He is only 25-years-old.

Rich Rollins eyeglasses ballplayer

Al Luplow’s expression says he knows being a “highly touted minor leaguer” does not necessarily translate into major league success. In his 7 year career, Al batted .235.

Finally, many of us know of the great Duke Snider. So what about “Duke Carmel”? Isn’t that a great name for a ballplayer? Much better than Leon James Carmel. Unfortunately this Duke born in New York City, bounced between the majors and the minors from 1955-1967. He never got in a full year at the majors, playing in just 122 major league games over four seasons and posting a .211 batting average. Duke did have the distinction of playing for both the Mets and the Yankess.

2 thoughts on “A Klingon In The 1964 Topps Baseball Card Set & Other Strange Musings

  1. Rick

    Why is Duke Carmel wearing a Yankees cap? He didn’t play there ’til ’65. And what does the second sentence of his blurb even mean?

    1. B.P. Post author

      It is a Mets cap. The second sentence was supposed to read “equally at home in the outfield or at first base.” There was a real lack of proofreading at Topps. Some of these blurbs are priceless. The facts on the back of the cards in 1964 were uninspired to say the least.


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