#CardCorner: 1985 Topps Virgil Father-Son
The 1985 Father-Son cards filled the prescription nicely – perhaps none as well as the Ozzie Virgil card.
Featuring an usual horizontal design, the Father-Son cards highlighted those players then active in the big leagues who had fathers who also played at the game’s highest level. A total of 13 such cards were produced, including the likes of Gus and Buddy Bell, Tito and Terry Francona and Vern and Vance Law.
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A photo of the active player was used on the right side of the layout, but the real bonus was on the left. There, Topps reproduced a card of the father in question, featuring Topps sets from the 1950s and 60s. In the pre-internet era, it was a rare chance to see designs of cards that may have predated your collection.
Osvaldo Jose Virgil was the name of both the father and son depicted on card No. 143 in 1985, but the elder Virgil was identified as “Ossie” in his playing days compared to “Ozzie” for the son. The reverse of the card provides some basic bio information and stats on both players. But for Ozzie Sr., the story was a bit incomplete.
A utility player for the Giants (both in New York and San Francisco), Tigers, Athletics, Orioles and Pirates over nine seasons from 1956-69, the elder Virgil was born on May 17, 1932 (the Topps card lists the year as 1933) in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. He moved with his family to the United States at the age of 13 and grew up in the Bronx, signing with the Giants prior to the 1953 season after serving in the Marines.
After toiling in the minor leagues for four seasons, the Giants purchased the contract of Virgil on Sept. 22, 1956, and he made his big league debut the following day. Virgil hit .265 with 10 homers and 67 RBI for Triple-A Minneapolis in 1956, and news sources throughout the country reported the transaction that sent the prospect to New York.
Together, the Osvaldo Virgils left quite a mark.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum