Here is the delightful tidbit that Topps provided us with on the back of Dickie Noles’ 1988 card: “Was traded by Cubs to Tigers for player to be named later, 9-21-87, as this card was going to press.” The fact that the transaction had taken place is indicated on the card FRONT as well – crazy.
I learned a lot from this little piece of card back splendor. First of all, 1988 Topps was actually going to press DURING the 1987 season. That genuinely surprised me. I figured they waited at least until after the season ended. Or maybe that’s only for sets that have World Series subsets. Or maybe in the late 80’s they needed a few months to print the billions of extra cards they needed.
Reading up on this card led me to the outstanding 1988 Topps Blog where I then also learned that Dickie Noles actually returned to the Cubs in October 1987 – his third go-round with the club. However, he never played for them again. Baseball Reference tells me that he only ended up pitching in 3 more games in his career, 2 for Baltimore and 1 for Philadelphia.
Read those card backs. Enlightenment will surely follow.