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This guy was everywhere


It's interesting how athletes from the past are remembered and whether they remain in the public conscious or not.

Hall of Fame players usually survive in baseball conversations long after they've played because they've been immortalized in Cooperstown. Then there are players who didn't reach the Hall but were still very good and somehow, some way, are still remembered.

Players like Dick Allen, Rusty Staub, Vida Blue and Mickey Rivers live on decades later as younger generations pick up on their legacies. Then there are all-stars like Bert Campaneris, who almost never get discussed anymore.

There is just one memory of Campaneris that younger fans most assuredly know. I don't even need to mention it. You know what's coming, even if Lerrin LaGrow didn't.

But there was much more to Campaneris than one momentary loss of reason.

A couple of months ago, when watching old baseball games on youtube hadn't gotten old yet, I was watching a World Series game from 1974, the Dodgers vs. the A's. Campaneris was the starting shortstop for Oakland at the time and there he was on my TV screen.

Then, days later, I dialed up the Pine Tar Game, between the Royals and Yankees, in July 1983. Leading off for the Yankees? There he was again, Bert Campaneris.

Then, I found a random baseball game between the White Sox and Angels. I think it was from 1980. I started watching it and who was bunting away for the Angels? Bert Campaneris!

This guy was everywhere!

My observation was appropriate because that was Campy. He WAS everywhere. And it showed on baseball cards, too.

Campaneris appears four times in the 1974 Topps set. Keep in mind, this was long before the days of throwing five different cards of the same player in the same set to feed the player-collector itch. But he's in the set ...



... with a base card ...



... an All-Star card ...



... one of the greatest night cards of all-time ...



... and a second World Series card, the Game 7 card no less.


Yet while the A's of that era -- think Reggie, Vida, Blue Moon and Catfish -- are featured in collections of collectors who weren't even alive for the Swingin' A's, Campaneris remains forgotten.


Look. He made Game 7 World Series cards in consecutive years! This one even features his name in the caption. I'm telling you, this guy was everywhere.

Campaneris thrived in an era of scrappy ballplayers. Even after he had left the A's behind and was getting on in years, bunting for hits remained a regular part of his game. He stole 649 bases in his career and led the league in stolen bases four successive years in the '60s.

I couldn't avoid him when I was collecting cards as a kid.


This was the second All-Star card that I saw when I was buying those packs in 1975, coming only behind the Steve Garvey.

Both of those All-Star cards I pulled in mini form. And for that reason, the regular-size Campaneris card will always look strange to me.

It's quite the distinctive photo, showing an apparently happy Campaneris (that shadow makes it tough to tell), casually perched at the end of a spring training dugout. I've said before, this might be the only time this pose has appeared on a baseball card.


This is a more typical Campaneris photo and also one of the first All-Star cards I saw from the 1976 Topps set.

Is Topps telling you that Campaneris liked to bunt here?


I'd say they were.



Kellogg's, too.



The arrival of free agency in 1976 broke up the Oakland A's dynasty as players couldn't wait to get away from owner Charlie Finley. Campaneris was no exception, signing with the Texas Rangers and receiving one of the many airbrushed cards in the 1977 Topps set.

It's interesting that Topps gave Campaneris a card number ending in 5 or 0 throughout the 1970s. That's a testament to what '70s baseball followers thought of Campaneris, he certainly left an impression. Topps even went so far as giving Campaneris card number 620 in the 1979 set even though he batted less than .200 in 1978.

Campaneris' skills declined shortly after signing with the Rangers, but he lasted a few more years, then signed with the Angels so he could appear on cards in the '80s. And then he showed up with the Yankees on card in '83 and '84.

Then the Senior League came around at the end of the decade and there was Campaneris again! On cards again!


He's everywhere!

Then the retro set craze began and Campy started appearing in those sets, too. All-Time Fan Favorites and All-Time Heroes. Super Teams and Swell. Upper Deck Decade and the Ted Williams Card Company.


Campy bunting again.

I used to write a blog series called "Best of the '70s," dedicated to readers voting for the best Topps card of some '70s star. This would be the perfect opportunity to do that with Campaneris, give him a little more acknowledgement.

But my blog isn't that conducive to polls now. I'm not sure if people would go through the effort to find the poll. However, if you want to vote in the comments here, I'll show all of Dagoberto's 1970s Topps cards right now and you can choose which one you like best:


Campaneris actually can't be confined to his '70s cards. He was lucky enough to receive a monster rookie trophy on his 1965 Topps card and he has cards for half that decade, as well as for half of the 1980s.

But somehow we only hear about him once every Oct. 8th, when he threw that bat.

Comments

Chris said…
Honestly I didn't know Bert threw a bat in a playoff game. I know about the Marichal/Roseboro incident, Delmon Young, and others but somehow I didn't know the one thing everyone knows about Campy. I did know he stole a ton of bases and played a key role on those A's teams... didn't know he ended his career with the Yankees and took part in the Pine Tar game.

As for which Campy card is the "best"..my vote goes to the '72 single.
The older the better, I like the 1970.
gcrl said…
I thought the one campy thing was that he played all nine positions in a single game. Didn't know about the bat throwing. I'll always think of his 1965 topps card first, followed by his 78 and 76 cards.
Always liked Campy. Didn't really see him play, but he always looked like the kind of ballplayer I admire.
Old Cards said…
Except for the 77, Campy had some great looking 70's cards. Tough choice, but I agree with the logic of The Angels in Order. Therefore, I vote for 1970.
I'm liking the 76 here.

When I think of players bunting on cards, Brett Butler always comes to mind. His career started right around the time Campaneris was wrapping up his, so maybe there was a passing of the torch there.
Fred Pike said…
1975 Topps. A very unique pose on a baseball card.
Jamie Meyers said…
I like the '74 best, barely beating the '73. '76 is nice too. Had to be an Oakland card for me. They were the champs when I first started learning about baseball and I loved those funky uniforms.
I really like cool candid photos on cards, so my vote is for '75.
Brett Alan said…
As GCRL said, the first thing I think of with Campy is his playing all 9 positions in a game. Especially with a headline like "He's Everywhere"!

Very tough choice, but I think I have to go with 1974. If the 1972 were pulled back a little more to show more of the bunting style, I probably would have gone with that.
hockey kazi said…
73 here. What's not to like.
arpsmith said…
Love this post thanks. I too remember Campy for the all 9 positions in a game in addition to the bat throwing incident.

I have read a couple books on baseball in the 70s and The Swingin' A's and it is amazing how valued and appreciated he was and now any talk of him has virtually disappeared. I think it has to do with the expectations changing around shortstops once the Ripken's, Nomar's and A-Rod's emerged with the big bats to go along with the gloves.

As for my favorite Campy card of the 70s, I struggle between 72 and 75, both are colorful which matches the A's of the mid-70s well. I think I will lean towards the 75 since it has the All-Star star.
Billy Kingsley said…
75 for the unique pose.
Sean said…
He was even over here in Japan (he coached for the Seibu Lions in the 80s after retiring as a player).
Elliptical Man said…
Voting for '72.

I know a lot more about Campy now.
steelehere said…
My vote is for 1976 Topps
bbcardz said…
I don't recall the Campaneris bat incident and I was into baseball a few years before that incident--hmmm.... Anyways I've voting for the '72 card.
kcjays said…
When I think of Campaneris it's the fact he played all 9 positions during a game, the first to do that I believe. Not aware of a bat incident.
My vote is for the 1975 card.
David said…
Campy is also shown on Bob Oliver's '73 card. He WAS everywhere!

My vote is for the '75 card. The All-star, the unconventional pose, and the shiny green jacket all exude confidence. When you pulled that card, you knew you had something special.
GCA said…
Pencil me in to the "all 9" club, didn't know about the LaGrow thing either.
I like the '73 with honorable mentions to '76 and '70.
He's one of my player guys, so you stole my thunder showing all the '70s Campys. I should put up all the rest, including his '60s and oddball stuff.
TraderJack said…
I vote for the 1970 Campy. Love the placement of the anniversary patch.
Fuji said…
It's a tight race between 73, 74, 75, and 76... but I'll go with my first reaction and vote for the 75 card. I like the candid shot and the fact that his arms and legs are intact. Plus who doesn't love the 1975 Topps baseball card design and the star representing the all-stars that year.

As for Campy himself, I had him on my All-Time A's team back in 2018. Tejada was my starting shortstop, but I had Campaneris as my utility player since he was one of the first guys to play all nine positions in a single MLB game.
gregory said…
The '72 provides a great look at that classic A's uniform, not to mention the equally classic bunting pose. I also like the '74 because the colors are so vibrant. But then the '73 is interesting because you have a batting pose OUTSIDE OF the batting cage. Ultimately, I think I'd have to vote for the '72.
Campy put a scratch in my great uncles Model T fender, he was climbing into the back seat for one of the A's victory parades in the early 70s. Somewhere I have a picture of Campy in the back seat while George drove
And here I thought (based on the headline) that this post was going to be about Campy playing all 9 positions in the same game.

(as Cesar Tovar also did)
I'm partial to 1975. I spy Campy cameos on 1973 cards - Rich Hand (398), Bob Oliver (289), George Scott (263). Love this blog!
Jeff S said…
1975. Love the All Star Shortstop designation.
Jeff said…
7 cards with a bat, 2 close ups, and 1 sitting down. The man stole bases and played defense!

Give me the oddball, 75 it is.
Jason T. Carter said…
I'd have to go with 1973 if I could pick only one from the 70s.

One of my favorite cards when I first started collecting was actually his 1983 Topps Traded. Not because it was particularly special, but it was the first Traded card I ever got that wasn't a part of a complete set. I loved the bright cardstock.

JT, The Writer's Journey
I like the 1970 Topps, with the vest away uniform, the colorful green sleeves, and the gold trimmed letters. And, you can't beat the facade of the old Yankee Stadium in the background of a baseball card.
Nick said…
I'd probably go with the '75. It's such a weird photo unlike anything else in that set.
Angus said…
The posed 76 card is probably my favorite since it seems familiar from the first set I ever bought packs for.

However, not far behind would be the 72 card for the uniform, or the 73 for the batting cage.
acrackedbat said…
1974 - The design compliments the uni to make an attractive card.
Brian B said…
1975

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