You just never knew where you’d find Rocky Colavito in the 1960s.

It all started with the famous challenge trade that sent Rocco, the 1959 American League home run champ, from the Cleveland Indians to the Detroit Tigers in April of 1960.

Heading to the Tribe in that deal was reigning batting champ, Harvey Kuenn.

Kuenn lasted just one season by the lake before Cleveland traded him to San Francisco that December.

Colavito, on the other hand, stayed with the Tigers for four seasons, continuing to mash along the way. To wit, he cranked out 35, 45, 37, and 22 dingers from 1960 through 1963 before the Tigers flipped him to the Kansas City A’s as 1964 dawned.

Heading into his 30s, the power dip might have raised some concerns about Colavito’s future, but he responded with 34 homers and 102 RBI for K.C in ’64.

And the club, in turn, responded by … trading him. To the Indians.

Alas, Rocky found out that you can go home again, but also that the reunion might not last forever.

After two solid seasons with the Tribe, the slugger’s power tanked in 1967, and he was on the move again, traded to the Chicago White Sox in late July after mustering just five homers in 216 plate appearances.

Colavito appeared in 60 games down the stretch for the ChiSox, managing just three long balls as Chicago fell short in their attempt to capture a pennant (they finished three games back of the Red Sox, in fourth place).

And that’s where we find Colavito, sort of, on his 1968 Topps card:

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Sure, it says White Sox, but I’d lay commons to donuts that’s an Indians collar peeking up from the bottom of the card.

And that no-hat treatment?

Yeah, it’s partly that Topps didn’t want to bother snapping a new pic of Rocky in his new uniform during the last part of the 1967 season.

But it’s also — surely — that Topps didn’t want to bother snapping a new pic of Rocky in his new uniform during the last part of the 1967 season when there was a good chance he would be on the move AGAIN.

After all, he’d already played for four teams in the previous five seasons, and his 1967 results were something less than awe-inspiring.

Sure enough, the White Sox had seen enough, and they sold Colavito’s contract to the Los Angeles Dodgers in March of 1968, well before most fans or collectors got their first glimpse at his burlap card.

But wait … there’s more!

In forty games with L.A., Rocky produced just a .204 batting average and three homers, and they released him in July.

The New York Yankees, looking to bolster an aging, faltering team, came calling four days later, and Colavito managed another five long balls on .220 hitting in 39 games before the Bombers cut him loose in September.

All along the way, collectors from coast to coast were stuck with the hatless Rocky with the wrong team.

But, really, thanks to Topps’ foresight (read: dullness), that card could tag the aging slugger to any team. All you needed was a bit of squint, or a couple of pen scribbles.

It was a blank slate, and one that provides an ironic twist all these years later — because Colavito retired after the Yanks released him, this capless wonder of a card turned out to be as close as he got to a career-capper.

Today, the 1968 Topps Rocky Colavito sells for about $10 in PSA 7 condition, $20 in PSA 8, and a few bucks in decent raw condition.

And, whatever price you pay, you’re buying the chance to imagine the could-have-been Hall of Famer with whatever team strikes your fancy.

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