You already know all about the 1966 Topps Don Mossi baseball card, right?
It’s probably the most famous among all the three dozen or so cards that Mossi appeared on during his Major League career, after all.
That 1966 Topps card is the one where Mossi’s substantial ears are displayed to full effect, courtesy of an up-close headshot showing the 56-year-old in his Kansas City A’s cap and even granting us a bit of a smile.
It’s the Mossi card that’s shown up on all sorts of “best of” and “worst of” and “other of” lists over the years.
You know all about it.
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Except, that 1966 Topps Mossi holds a beauty that’s more than just skin deep.
For one thing, Mossi was not, in fact, 56 years old when he suited up for the Athletics in 1965. He was just thirty six.
For another, Mossi didn’t actually appear on the card during his career.
And, though cardboard history has branded him forever a K.C. dude, the truth is, Mossi was a star-level starter and swingman with the Indians in the late 1950s, and the Tigers in the late 50s and early 1960s, before short stints with the White Sox (1964) and A’s to wind down his career.
Those 17 victories he put up for Detroit in 1959, for example, ranked tied for fourth in the American League, and his 11 saves for the Tribe in 1956 tied him for second in the Junior Circuit.
Mossi walked away from the game after 1965, though, returning to California to raise his family and build a more “normal” life away from the lights of the diamond.
And, were it not for his inimitable looks, the hobby might have largely forgotten about him, like we have many pitchers with comparable records — Al Brazle, Billy O’Dell, C.J. Wilson.
We’ll never forget Don Mossi, though, and that 1966 Topps baseball card is a big reason why.
But if you flip that baby over, you’ll see something else — or realize something else — that 101-80 record you see there on the “totals” line, and that 3.43 ERA … they’re the same numbers you’ll find when you look up Mossi over on Baseball Reference.
Because, this wasn’t *just* the last Don Mossi baseball card.
It was a career-capper, an honor that has eluded many (maybe most) greats of the game — Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Stan Musial … none of them appeared on a Topps (or other major-brand) card showing all their accomplishments the year after they retired.
And Mossi almost didn’t, either, seeing as how Topps skipped him in their 1965 issue.
For a good, long while there in the spring of ‘65, it looked like Major League Baseball agreed with Topps assessment of the situation, too. Because, after the Sox released him in October of 1964, Mossi sat on the shelf until May 28 the next spring.
That’s when Kansas City came calling, and that’s when Mossi answered.
The “comeback” was afoot, and hobby destiny lay straight ahead.
If Mossi had stuck around for another year in Kansas City, he might have worn a pair of pants like these (for sale on eBay):
According to the seller, these pants were game-worn by an A’s player in 1966.
Check out the full listing on eBay right here (affiliate link).