A lot has been made this year of Orioles rookie catcher Matt Wieters not being named to the Topps All Star Rookie team. It got me thinking and looking at all the old cup cards I could find. I love the rookie cup, especially the old style with the gigantic trophy on them. Many cup rookie players have been well deserved, played in multiple All Star games and now reside in the Hall of Fame. There have been a few though that had to have family working for Topps. My first case in point is brought to you by 1969 Topps, card #464 of Giants outfielder Dave Marshall.
The 1968 Topps All Rookie Team featured a Hall of Fame catcher in Johnny Bench, as well as a few names that most folks have heard of like AL ROY Stan Bahnsen, Bobby Bonds, Del Unser, Jerry Koosman and Bobby Cox. The player who sticks out like a sore thumb on the team is probably Johnny Bench because he was so great, but his “teammate” Dave Marshall also doesn’t seem to fit for other reasons. Since I wasn’t born yet in 1968 I don’t really know what the rookie crop was like. Bench won the NL ROY and Jerry Koosman took second place as the only other player to receive a vote, Bahnsen took the honor in the AL and Del Unser was the only other player mentioned.
I just have to believe that there was someone better than Marshall. He was an outfielder with the Giants, playing both left and right field in an outfield that starred Willie Mays, Jesus Alou and Bobby Bonds. Marshall only started 45 games that year. The rest of his action was as a pinch hitter. Being a left handed bat, he was valuable off the bench for his skipper, Herm Franks. The back of the card touts: “A promising young outfielder, Dave was selected to the 1968 Topps Rookie All Star team. As a pinch hitter last year, he was 7-23 with 5 RBI’s!”
Call me crazy, but batting .304 is nice as a pinch hitter, but is it nice enough to be on the All Rookie team? For the season Marshall batted .264 with 1 homerun and 16 RBI. He stole 2 bases and scored 17 times. Those numbers just don’t strike me as All Rookie Team material. What am I missing here?
He did improve the following season, in 1969 he played in 110 games, doubled his home run and RBI totals, but his average dropped to .232. He would be traded to the Mets next year and his playing career ended in 1973 with the Padres after 7 big league seasons. I don’t mean to knock the guy-playing 7 years in the Majors is no small feat, but I just don’t think he was worthy of the coveted Gold Cup Trophy on his card-the same one that Johnny Bench, Rod Carew and so many other great players earned. Marshall’s final numbers are as follows: 16 homeruns, 114 RBI and 13 stolen bases. He batted .246 over his career with 258 hits, 41 doubles and 4 triples. The back of the card also mentions that "in 1965 Dave smashed 13 triples to pace the California League". That year he would also hit 8 homers and bat .260. Two years after leading the A-level Caly League in triples he was in the Majors with the Giants. Sorry Mr. Marshall, I don’t mean to pick on you, congratulations on the honor. I love this hobby! Troll out.