Thursday, August 22, 2013

no. 204 - brewers rookie stars

Who is the man: Both Bernie Smith and George Kopacz received their first taste of major league baseball in 1970, but with different teams. Smith played 44 games for the Brewers, while Kopacz participated in 10 for the Pirates.

Can ya dig it: Kopacz is cap-less because he was acquired by the Brewers from the Pirates in October, 1970, mere months before the set went to press.

Right on: Smith had a pretty good 44 games for Milwaukee. He hit .276 with an on-base average of .382. He homered once and knocked in six runs.

You see these rookies are bad mothers: No. Not only are they rookies, they are rookies for an expansion team that had played just two years at the time this card was issued.

Shut your mouth: Neither of these players would have another Topps card.

No one understands him but his woman: Smith was one of several former African-American players that were the subject of a book, "A Bitter Cup Of Coffee," by Douglas J. Gladstone. It revealed how hundreds of former players did not receive pensions or health insurance from Major League Baseball.

(A word about the back): Kopacz was named MVP of the International League with his performance in 1970. Kopacz's son, Derek, played in the Tigers, White Sox, Padres and Diamondbacks organizations.


  1. This card - and the Gura card, for that matter - is in about as good of condition that a '71 could be in...very nice. Hope more are to follow.

    1. There will be more. But my '71 collection is very hit-and-miss, condition-wise.

  2. Actually it wasnt Kopacz first taste of MLB in 1970,in 1966 he had a cup of coffee with the Braves.

  3. Kopacz actually shared the I. L. MVP award with Roger Freed, another player who put up awsome AAA numbers but didn't make it in the bigs. Another interesting fact is Kopacz was returned to Pittsburgh before the season started, so he never appeared in regular season game for the team he represented in his only card.