Saturday, June 29, 2024

Cards That Never Were: Clay Kirby Topps 1977

Cards That Never Were is a recurring series in which I create virtual trading cards for players missed in various sets. It is a concept I borrowed from far too many to list, but I appreciate all of their efforts.
One such creator is Gio from When Topps Had (Base)Balls. Gio has made hundreds of awesome cards for players missed, along with special edition cards. Basically, his site is awesome for baseball card lovers like me.
Pitcher Clay Kirby was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1966 MLB Draft. The newly-formed San Diego Padres selected him in the 1968 Expansion Draft. He made his MLB debut in 1969, going 7-20. After the 1973 season, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, then traded to the Montreal Expos after the '75 season. The Expos released him after the '76 season, thus ending his MLB career. He did pitch in the minors for the Padres in '77.
In his career, Kirby went 75-104. He also came close to a no-hitter in 1970. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, the Padres trailed 1-0, despite Kirby not allowing any hits. San Diego Manager Preston Gomez pinch hit for Kirby. The Padres failed to score and then lost the no-hitter in the ninth. It was a controversial decision, considering how bad the Padres were.
For his efforts, Kirby received Topps cards from 1969-76, including a '76 Traded. That left only a 1977 'career capper" to be made. Like several other times, when I set out to make this card, I discovered Gio had already done it brilliantly. Since I couldn't do better than Gio's masterpiece, why waste my effort.

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