A baseball card mystery: Gerry Moses and Dave LaRoche

Were these two separated at birth? Or was this simply a case of mixed-up identities? I’ve looked closely at these two 1972 Topps cards and I can’t decide for sure.

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Gerry Moses and Dave LaRoche look nearly identical in these photographs, in contrast to their 1971 cards, which show them to have differing facial features. (Moses has a strong chin; LaRoche has a weaker jawline.)

On the 1972 cards, Moses and LaRoche look like they could be brothers: the same sideburns, the same hair, and the same noses.

Now, it’s possible that the unusually low angle used in taking both of the 1972 photos, which shows the underside of their caps in an upturned fashion, makes the two players look very similar. Camera angles can play tricks with the eyes.

And if that’s the case, who knows if the right photograph was matched up to the right player. It’s possible that Moses’ photograph was placed on LaRoche’s card, and LaRoche’s photo on Moses’ card. Then again, maybe it’s possible that the same photograph was used for both players.

Any of these potential mix-ups seems understandable. Moses and LaRoche played as teammates in 1971—both were with the California Angels. Furthermore, their card numbers are lumped closely together, with LaRoche’s card listed as 352 in the set and Moses’ card at 356.

And then there’s another possibility: Moses’ card is correct, LaRoche’s card is correct, I’m full of canal water, and Topps had it right all along.


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Bruce Markusen is the manager of Digital and Outreach Learning at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He has authored seven baseball books, including biographies of Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Ted Williams, and A Baseball Dynasty: Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s, which was awarded SABR's Seymour Medal.
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diskojoe
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diskojoe

Those are two different pictures. Dave’s picture has hair right on top of his ear, while you can see the whole of Gerry’s ear.

RIch
Guest
RIch

If you look at the left front tooth,you will notice that Dave’s has a small problem and is not aligned exactly with the other teeth.  That is a difference that even a haircut won’t fix.

John
Guest
John

If you look real close, you’ll see a gleam in Dave’s eye that will turn into two mediocre infielders.
This gleam doesn’t show up on the Moses card.

Craig
Guest
Craig

The sideburns are different. LaRoche’s wider at the bottom

Bruce Markusen
Guest
Bruce Markusen

Great line, John.

So it’s definitely not the same photograph. Here’s the question: did they match up the right photo to each player? Is LaRoche really LaRoche, and is Moses really Moses?

Rick Ver Mehren
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Rick Ver Mehren

Jerry Moses
http://www.tradingcarddb.com/Images/Cards/Baseball/71/71-205Fr.jpg

Dave LaRoche
http://www.tradingcarddb.com/Images/Cards/Baseball/71/71-174Fr.jpg

It appears they have the right guys on the cards shown in the article.  Check out the eyes on both of Moses’ cards.

Frank Jackson
Guest
Frank Jackson

These low-angle photos really looked cheesy, but if a player got traded, at least he wasn’t seen wearing the wrong team logo on his cap.  If you’ve ever seen any of those woeful attempts to change the colors and logos on the caps of traded players, you’d have to admit that this option is not nearly as bad.  Of course, taking pictures of players not wearing caps was also popular at the time, but aesthetically that left a lot to be desired.  Not much more to say except…thank God for Photoshop!

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