There is a clipping pinned to a bulletin board at work just as you walk into the sports department.
It is a copy of a high school sports game write-up from another newspaper. It's your typical roundup item, two paragraphs long. But those two paragraphs are so error-filled -- nine lines of text and about eight things wrong with them -- that the correction that the paper ran the next day is twice the size of the original roundup item.
This amused me so much that I had to pin both items side-by-side onto the bulletin board. In the newspaper world, this is one of our greatest fears, that you will attempt to correct an error and just make things worse. So in typical black-humor fashion, I posted one of our greatest fears for all to see.
I have never witnessed so many errors committed in one tiny space.
Until I came across this Larry Milbourne card that I recently posted on my 1985 Topps blog.
The back of that card is a treasure trove of mistakes.
First, let's address the write-up on the bottom.
Larry Milbourne is not a graduate of Milville High School. He is a graduate of Millville High School. Yeah, I know it's just a difference of one "l" but spelling is key.
Also, there is no Port Jervis, New Jersey, that I know of. Port Jervis is in New York. It's where you can stand in one place and be in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey all at the same time. When my folks drove me to see my great grandma in New Jersey, we'd stop in Port Jervis and my brothers and I would stand in that one spot. It was a hoot.
Anyway, Millville High School is actually in Millville, New Jersey. Milbourne was born in Port Norris, New Jersey, which is south of Millville.
So, are we keeping track of mistakes? That's technically three mistakes already.
We're not done.
Take a look at the vital statistics up top and note where Milbourne was allegedly born. How come I said he was born in Port Norris, New Jersey and the write-up says Dallas, Texas? Because the vital stats are wrong, that's how come.
Milbourne was not born on March 12, 1955 either. He is a Valentine's Day baby, born on Feb. 14, 1951.
He was not drafted by the Royals in 1973. He was signed as a free agent by the Orioles in 1969.
The back says he bats left, yet he's batting right on the card front!
He is not even 5-10, 170 pounds! He is 6-feet, 165 pounds!
What the heck is going on?
Well, if you read my 1985 Topps blog, you know what happened. Thanks to some research by some commenters, it's been discovered that the vital stats used for Milbourne's card are actually the vital stats of former Mariners teammate, Ruppert Jones.
Here, let's pin those two card backs side-by-side on the bulletin board:
You can see that both sets of vital stats are the same.
I'm counting at least 8 or 9 mistakes (you could make a case for double digits) on the Larry Milbourne card back.
I've lost so much faith in that Larry Milbourne card back that I had to double-check the family information. I was able to find some public record information of a Chris Milbourne from New Jersey who is related to Milbournes named Larry, Consuella and Terra, so I think at least that info is correct. And Topps got the playing stats right, thank goodness for playing stats.
It's a good thing that baseball cards don't issue corrections like newspapers do. The size of the corrected 1985 Larry Milbourne card would be three times the size of the original.
Oh, and for those who are curious, here are Milbourne's actual vital stats: