Card of the Moment #45
September 4th, 2010 by slangon

1970 Topps Story Booklets #19 Cleon Jones

Todays Card of the Moment came to me a while back thanks to a trade with the always generous Chris from Project ’62. It is a Topps Story Booklet of Cleon Jones from 1970.

These booklets were inserted into packs of 1970 Topps. They were actually the second of 3 insert sets that Topps put in their packs that year. The first were the Scratchoffs and the third were the Player Posters. The Story Booklets consisted of 24 card-sized comic books, each telling a condensed version of a players life story. It’s a pretty interesting checklist since it completely runs the gamut from Hall of Famers, like Willie Mays and Bob Gibson, to dudes that I never really heard of, like Mike Epstein and Denis Menke. (Although, I just looked up Mike Epstein on Baseball Reference and found out his nickname was Superjew. That’s pretty funny.)

Although this particular Cleon Jones booklet that Chris sent my way is in really good condition, it is really fragile. You can see how thin the paper is in all these scans. I was a little afraid to try and scan all the pages because I was concerned that they would split when the booklet was opened all the way, as would be necessary to scan it. Fortunately, with a little care and patience I was able to work it out without doing any damage.

As you can see from the opening pages, Cleon was also a big football star when he was in high school. I’d imagine his coaches and teammates were none to pleased with his disregard for his uniform. That’s pretty awesome though that he was teammates with Tommie Agee and then went on to win a World Series with him.

In the next spread, we learn that Cleon was so good at the foosball that it landed him a scholarship to Alabama A. and M. Interestingly, Topps decided to illustrate this tidbit by showing some corporate looking suit signing a white dude. And he’s not even from Cleon’s team. Weren’t their jerseys orange? Then we see Cleon literally turning his back on the sport that provided him with an education in favor of the orange and purple fires of a career as a professional baseball player.

Finally, Cleon finds himself in the big city, reunited with his buddy Tommie. Apparently he was hitting so well that he stole Babe Ruths crown and started using a sawed off plank for a bat to give the other team a chance. Very sporting of you, Cleon.

The whole comic really reminds me of just one extended version of the crazy trivia comics that had been appearing on the backs of Topps cards for years, except for the fact that in the booklet they seem to at least make an attempt to make the drawings look like the player that they’re talking about.

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