Thursday, February 22, 2018

The most error-filled card back ever

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:


  1. Good research. Same Millville High School as the "Millville Meteor" Mike Trout?

  2. Terrible. So bad it's funny. There's a NASCAR card in 2000 MVP that reads like the writer does not know English at all. Unrelated words, sentences with no end, factual errors, it's bad. Can't remember if I've ever posted about it.

  3. I find it intriguing that the Acquired field on the Jones card reads "F.A." but on the Milbourne it reads "Free Agent". Given that everything else is identical, I wonder why that part differed.

  4. Good research on that. It just goes to show, sometimes the card backs are more interesting that the front.

  5. I'm surprised that Topps didn't correct this error as they made corrections in the late 1980's on errors that were a lot more trivial.

    My guess is that it was 1985 and they were too busy printing money (I mean the first year of Garbage Pail Kids cards) to stop the presses.

  6. Yes, and that error card should be listed and worth $10.00, lol.

  7. Just a bit off. Topps would have made less errors had they just left the back of the card blank.

  8. That's an interesting cartoon on the back of the 1980 card. His brother Monty looks annoyed to be watching from the stands.

  9. UERs don't count. Always like learning about these kind of things though.

  10. I love finding undocumented errors like these. I wonder if it would be a good subject for a blog? There's even a lot of wrong photos that have come up in my interviews that are not noted in Beckett.

  11. Argh matey! You couldn't show the front of the '80 Milbourne too? LOL I went nuts and HAD to Google it 'cause I had to know what it looked like.

  12. Hmmm. I'm conflicted. Trying to decide whether I'd want a card with complete players statistics that's filled with errors in the vital stats and the player write-up or an error free card that has partial statistics and a player's social media information.