Bump WillsMay 16, 2007
I don’t have a lot of valuables. I thought maybe this 1979 card that erroneously identifies Bump Wills as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, a team for which he never played, might be worth something, but according to an article on TradingCardCentral.com the corrected card, which is rarer (and which I don’t have, naturally), is worth considerably more than this version.
In a “Card Corner” note in a 2004 column by frequent Bronx Banter contributer Bruce Markusen, Topps president Sy Berger claims the error was due to a tip he’d heard that Wills was about to be traded to the Blue Jays. I am skeptical of this explanation because Wills is identified as a Ranger in a large-font heading on the back of the card, because Wills’ name is on the 1979 Texas Rangers’ checklist, and because Topps more often than not did not switch teams for a player even after they’d been officially traded in the off-season. And when they did switch teams to reflect a trade, they doctored the photos, which has not been done here, Wills still clearly wearing the cap and away uniform of the Texas Rangers.
No, as something of an expert in such matters, I feel compelled to offer the opinion that this was just a plain, old fuckup.
I work as a proofreader and dread this kind of mistake. Proofreading is easy if you only have to do a little of it, but when you spend a whole day trying to keep an eye out for errors your mind can wander. It’s frighteningly easily easy (proofreader’s note: the preceding typo was not intentional, and was only noticed several hours after this profile of Maury Wills’ son, the Texas Rangers’ all-time leader in stolen bases, was originally posted) to glide past a can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees mistake such as this one. I worry that some day I’ll inadvertently let a doozy slip through and then be ritualistically dressed down by upper management in a special hastily convened exit meeting.
“Your mistake cost us millions,” I’ll be told with measured corporate scorn.
Stripped of my employee identification card, I’ll ride the bus home at an unusual hour, my wandering mind continuing as ever to pollinate fantasies and mistakes.