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Shortest Tenure of a Player on a card of a Team?

PaulMaulPaulMaul Posts: 4,707 ✭✭✭✭✭

Awkward statement, but the question is: what is the shortest amount of time a player who is featured on a card of a given team actually spent in that franchise?

Don’t think I’ve ever heard that question asked before. It came to mind when I found out that Larry Hisle, whose 1972 card has him on the Dodgers, was acquired by the Dodgers on October 21, 1971 and traded to the Cardinals five days later. Pretty big coincidence that his card would have been designed during that particular five day period!

Fun fact….the same photo (from his days as a Phillie) was used in 1973 when he was a Minnesota Twin.

Can anyone beat five days?

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    82FootballWaxMemorys82FootballWaxMemorys Posts: 1,292 ✭✭✭✭✭

    tangentially related the 72 and 73 Mickey Rivers use same photo with slight cropping differences

    Unless otherwise specified my posts represent only my opinion, not fact.

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    Mickey71Mickey71 Posts: 4,232 ✭✭✭✭

    Orlando Cepeda had 3 Plate Appearances for the Oakland A's in 1972. He was on a card in 1973 with the A's.

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    georgebailey2georgebailey2 Posts: 1,045 ✭✭✭

    Would this count?

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    stevebaystevebay Posts: 289 ✭✭✭

    1 plate appearance?

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    frankhardyfrankhardy Posts: 8,046 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't know if this counts or not but I will give this a shot. 1959 Topps Bob Miller is featured as a Cardinals player. He never played for them because he retired. So the answer to this one is zero.

    Shane

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    stevegarveyfanstevegarveyfan Posts: 579 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Isn't there a 1977 Topps Burger King card of Reggie Jackson?

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    totallyraddtotallyradd Posts: 928 ✭✭✭

    Ralph Gagliano appeared in one Major League Baseball game for the Cleveland Indians on September 21, 1965, during which he recorded no at-bats. He has no "official" fielding position since he entered the game as a pinch-runner.

    Gagliano entered his only MLB game in the ninth inning agasinst the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. With one out, Larry Brown hit an infield single to third base and Gagliano pinch ran for him. The next batter, Richie Scheinblum, grounded into a force play, second baseman Bobby Richardson to shortstop Bobby Murcer, and Gagliano was retired.

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    totallyraddtotallyradd Posts: 928 ✭✭✭
    edited August 15, 2023 11:30AM


    JamesOn Curry was selected with the 51st overall pick of the 2007 NBA draft. However he was wavied on July 31, 2008.

    On January 22, 2010, Curry was signed by the Los Angeles Clippers. He was subbed into a game on January 24, 2010, playing just 3.9 seconds. Curry was released by the Clippers on January 26. That was the only time Curry would ever play in an NBA game and is the shortest NBA career in terms of time played.

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    PaulMaulPaulMaul Posts: 4,707 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 15, 2023 1:24PM

    These are all interesting examples. But I still say the Hisle is the most unusual because of the very short window where he was in any way associated with the Dodgers. Retirements are a little different, and even with little or no playing time these players were still part of the franchise shown on the card. The Lemaire is kind of akin to a Washington National variation.

    Piazza comes closest…but I’m curious…were the Piazza Marlin cards issued after he was already a Met? Or did they just issue cards in May specifically because he became a Marlin?

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    RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 796 ✭✭✭✭

    @PaulMaul said:
    Retirements are a little different, and even with little or no playing time these players were still part of the franchise shown on the card.

    Ron Cey's '87 cards show him in a Cubs uniform.
    He was traded to the A's in January '87, and was released by the A's in July '87, then retired from baseball.
    Topps released the '87 Traded Set in the late fall, showing Cey in an A's uniform, months after Cey's retirement and affiliation with the A's.

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    RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 796 ✭✭✭✭

    Donn Clendenon never played a single game with the Houston Astros.
    Donn Clendenon played out the 1968 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, which explains his uniform (sans airbrush) in the photos. However, at season’s end he was selected by the Expos in baseball’s expansion draft. Still, that was a good six months before these cards hit the shelves so there was time for a plot twist.

    Three months after becoming an Expo, Montreal traded Clendenon, along with Jesus Alou, to the Astros for Rusty Staub. Based on the trade, Topps skipped Montreal altogether and led off their 1969 offering with Clendenon as an Astro. But alas, Clendenon refused to report to Houston, where several black players had experienced racism on the part of the team’s manager, instead threatening to retire and take a job with pen manufacturer Scripto. Ultimately the trade was reworked, Clendenon was able to remain an Expo, and he even got a raise and a new Topps card for his trouble.

    (Info stolen from sabrbaseballcards blog)

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    Chicago1976Chicago1976 Posts: 459 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Honorable mention: Hoyt Wilhelm spent only 2 months with Cubs, pitching just 3.2 innings in 1970.

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    mrmoparmrmopar Posts: 1,032 ✭✭✭✭

    Not challenging the shortest tenure, but this thread reminded me that I once used this RC Cola sheet to speculate when they were designed/made. Gary Thomasson was traded to the A's on March 15, 1978. On June 15, 1978, he was traded to the Yankees. That is a 3 month window for which Thomasson was associated with the A's. Sure looks like a Giants cap he is wearing too, so no time to use an A's picture (even though logos were airbrushed off).

    That sheet, if not the entire set, would have needed to have the players selected to represent each team, been assembled/manufactured and likely issued before he was traded, although it is possible that RC Cola or whoever was handling this promotion didn't care enough or maybe it would have been too costly to correct it after the trade too. I didn't do a deep dive on other sheets to see if any other timely trades/signings might help strengthen this theory.

    I collect Steve Garvey, Dodgers and signed cards. Collector since 1978.
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    gemintgemint Posts: 6,069 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That Clendenon situation cost me on my immaculate grid. I put him in an Astro-Pirate box and it rejected. I had to look up why it was not acceptable.

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    miwlvrnmiwlvrn Posts: 4,226 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm guessing there are tons of prospects on RC cards that never actually made it to the top team. But for established players who were in the league, there are a couple impressive options in this thread already.

    One more for honorable mention: it can't compete with the shortest spans discussed above, but here is what I believe is Gretzky's only card with a Blues sweater, having played only 18 games with that organization:

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    miwlvrnmiwlvrn Posts: 4,226 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Also, there are several cards of Brett Hull with the Phoenix Coyotes, even though he only played 5 games with them (in order to wear the same number his dad did with the same program when they were in their prior location as the original Winnipeg Jets, and to retire wearing his dad's retired number there).

    And, there is at least one card that I know of picturing Chris Chelios with the Atlanta Thrashers, where he played 7 games.

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