#CardCorner: 1972 Topps Jose Pagan
Hall of Fame staffers are also baseball fans and love to share their stories. Here is a fan's perspective from Cooperstown.
Jose Pagan might have seemed like an odd choice for Topps to highlight as part of its “In Action” series in 1972, but as young collectors, we appreciated seeing anyone in an action shot. It didn't matter if it was a backup catcher like Bob Barton or Pat Corrales or a journeyman like Curt Blefary.
At the time, we were used to most players being featured in profile or otherwise posed shots on baseball cards; an action photograph was something that we treated like gold. Topps had introduced action shots onto cards only one year earlier, so it was still a novelty, something that created a stir when we could see a player photographed while in an actual game.
On the surface, Jose Pagan was only a utility infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time of this card’s release. He platooned with Richie Hebner at third base and came off the bench as a pinch-hitter. Once again, he appeared to be nothing special. But then I learned the full story of Pagan – and how he could have become the first Latino to serve as a fulltime manager in the major leagues.