Did you know that Don Drysdale had a career-capper baseball card?

A card issued right after the big righthander retired, one that showed his career accomplishments?

Well, he did. Right there in the 1970 Topps baseball card set.

Don’t remember a Drysdale card in that issue?

Here, take a gander …

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Right.

That’s not a Drysdale card.

But, also, it is.

All the way over there on the righthand side, standing in the middle(ish) row, towering over the dudes around him — yeah, that’s Airedale himself, good ol’ Number 53.

Here’s the blowup:

A blurry shot, sure, and kinda scary at this resolution, what with that shadow beast looming behind Drysdale.

Still, that’s him, pretty much as he appeared during his last season in 1969.

That summer hadn’t been Drysdale’s best, as he stepped off the mound after an appearance on August 5 with a 5-4 record and 4.45 ERA, well below his career standards (209-166, 2.95 ERA).

As it turned out, that loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates would be Drysdale’s last game in the majors, a torn rotator cuff knocking him from the game he loved just a few days after his 33rd birthday.

With such an early exit to the season, and to his career, Big D gave Topps plenty of time to realize he wouldn’t be around in 1970.

And plenty of time to cut him from their gray-bordered checklist, which they did.

Except …

There he was, part of the team he helped define for 14 mostly amazing seasons.

But is this really a career-capper? Where is the laundry list of Drysdale’s accomplishments?

Well …

Turn the thing over, why don’t you?

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I can hear you now.

“Uh …”

Again, right.

Drysdale doesn’t even appear in the list of Dodgers team record-holders. Not directly.

But do you think the Dodgers would have won five pennants between 1956 and 1966 without Drysdale?

Or, do you think Babe Herman would have hit .393 in 1930 without Drysdale?

Save your “uh”s and just focus on that first one.

Drysdale’s legacy is written all over those great Dodgers teams from the late 1950s and into the 1960s, even if his name isn’t.

And, if the man couldn’t get a proper career-capper, featuring him as a member of that team one last time seems a reasonable — if inadequate — proxy.

Today, this card sells for about $20 in PSA 8 and $50+ in PSA 9. It’s just about impossible to find in PSA 10.

But not quite as impossible as any other form or Drysdale career-capper.

Sometimes, you just have to make do, especially where vanishing legends are concerned.

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