Card of the Day: 1967 Topps Dennis Ribant

Today’s Card of the Day choice doesn’t match up to the busy day you can read about in the daily history article. We instead take a look at the 1967 Topps card of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dennis Ribant. We recently learned that he passed away in late April at 81 years old. As is a tradition here, one that I’d gladly like to not do again for a long time if the baseball gods are listening, we pay tribute to players who have passed away with a Card of the Day article.

Ribant has two Card of the Day choices that show him as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I went with the 1967 Topps card. The other one is from the strange and disturbing to some (I’ve seen the comments) 1967 Test Stickers set, which some call the floating head set. I’m not a fan of the 1967 Topps set, it’s a boring design that doesn’t use team colors or include a team logo. It’s almost like the design team forgot they had a set coming out and had five minutes for a presentation. That being said, it’s much better than the Test Sticker set, especially when you’re doing a tribute article.

Ribant is a high numbered card in the 1967 Topps set, making his card more difficult to find than you’re average card from the set. I’ll take more about that in the pricing section below. For now, let’s take a look at card #527 in the 609-card set.

Here’s the front of the card:

I wish there was another Pirates option for Ribant. It’s not just because I dislike the 1967 Topps set, but it appears that all of his cards have a minor printing flaw in the form of a black dot on his face. I don’t see that mark there in any other pictures of him, so it appears that Topps just had a photo flaw. I actually looked at multiple scans of this card, as if those 3-4 random scans/specific cards could have the exact same flaw.

It’s a good thing that Ribant wasn’t an early card for this set. The Pirates acquired him on December 6, 1966, in a four-player trade with the New York Mets. If he was part of the first series for this set, he would have been shown on the Mets. The Pirates traded him to the Detroit Tigers on November 28, 1967, so he didn’t get into the 1968 Topps set on the Pirates, though the photo certainly looks like it was taken during Spring Training in 1967. That’s the same time this photo on the 1967 Topps card looks to be from.

Topps got a nice shot of Ribant, who has a random tiny man hanging on his left arm for good luck. That was a common practice in 1967 if you believe everything someone tells you.

Here’s the back of the card:

The back of these cards were nice enough to use black ink on whitish backgrounds for the stats, making them easier to read. They also included full minor league stats. There was a small bio section, as well as cartoons talking about how well he did in Class-D ball, which was six steps below the majors at the time.  He won an ERA crown, though that fact loses some luster when you see the next cartoon that shows league batters facing the wrong way and using bats weak enough that a baseball goes right through it. Not going to lie, that 1.86 ERA sounds high when you factor those two things in…

That perfect game mentioned is actually pretty interesting. Davenport had their biggest crowd in history (up to that point) due to a sponsored ticket giveaway. There were so many people (10,762) that some fans were in a roped off section of the outfield, reminiscent of early baseball days whenever the crowds were huge. Ribant had 13 strikeouts in the game. The final batter was a pitcher batting for a different pitcher. The top two hitters in the opposing lineup were future big league players, Marv Staehle and Dick Kenworthy.

As for the price of this card, the high mark is a PSA 9 for $105. Knock off one grade and a PSA 8 can be had for $50-$85, with five choices in that range. If you want a common in decent mid-grade shape (ungraded), you’ll want to be around $10. If you don’t mind lower grades, you can get it cheaper from multiple sellers. A common card from earlier in the set will be readily available for $2-$3 in decent shape.