Welcome to Ripken in the Minors, where Cal is always in the Minors! This site was developed in an effort to provide Ripken fans and collectors with information on Cal's baseball cards produced while in the Minor Leagues. From Bluefield to Rochester, this is your minor league home for all things Cal Ripken, Jr. On this site you will find information about the 4 minor league sets that produced a card of Cal Ripken, Jr.:
1) 1980 WBTV Charlotte Orioles Team Issue (Blue)
2) 1980 Charlotte Orioles Police Issue (Orange)
3) 1981 TCMA Rochester Red Wings
4) 1981 WTF Rochester Red Wings
Information can be very tough to find on these team sets. With that being said, this site was developed in an effort to provide information received from other Ripken collectors and from personal experiences and research. It is our hope that visitors to this site will also pass on any information they have to be shared with fellow collectors.
In addition to information about Cal's minor league cards, you will receive information on how to differentiate between an authentic and counterfeit 1980 WBTV Charlotte O's Ripken and 1981 WTF Rochester Ripken. You will also find information on past sales of minor league memorabilia related to Cal's stops in Bluefield, Miami, Charlotte and Rochester.
Steve Kozel, creator of the 1981 WTF set, has been very gracious to share his recollections with RITM. In November of 2011, Steve came across the actual photographs used to create the legendary minor league set. The photographs were given to Steve from the Rochester Red Wings the day before the cards were scheduled to be printed. The pictures were taken by the local newspaper and were for their files. The pictures were not specifically taken for the 1981 WTF set. On the backs of the photographs you can see a % which is a notation from the printer on how far to reduce the picture to make it the correct size for the cards. The biggest issue with the short time available was figuring out what to do with the card for Silver Stadium and what to do about missing/inaccurate pictures. You will notice from the scans that the Silver Stadium card actually features Ken Boyer. The Steve Luebber card used his image from the 1980 TCMA set. The picture of Don Welchel is actually John Hale. The picture was marked incorrectly by the Red Wings.
RITM thanks Steve for his willingness to share this behind the scenes look at the production of the 1981 WTF cards! To take a look at the image gallery for the photos, please visit the gallery at http://www.ripkenintheminors.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=12539055
When looking for an adjective to describe Cal's minor league memorabilia, rare is an appropriate choice. However, Bob Shomper has something that goes well beyond "rare". What Bob owns is the only one in the world. Bob is the owner of an uncut sheet of 1981 WTF cards. For those of you who have followed the site you may already know that the sets were printed one to a sheet and that 50 sheets were left uncut.
When the Red Wings agreed to give Steve Kozel permission to print the cards it was on the stipulation that he would provide Doc Edwards promotional cards to be given out during the 1981 season. When the sheets were printed they included three copies of the Doc Edwards promotional card. In all, the sheet measured 17 3/8 by 23 inches. The promotional cards of Edwards were the first cards cut from the sheet. When the sheets were being printed, Steve went to preview a copy and kept a sheet to be given to Tom Huber to display in his local card shop. When Tom moved out of the country, he asked his best customer, Bob Shomper, if he wanted a souvenir as a reward for being a good customer and as a gesture for being a good friend. Bob chose the uncut sheet.
Obviously Bob is thrilled, telling RITH the following: "To have in your possession the only true copy of this uncut sheet of cards is an awesome feeling and truly for a fan of Cal Ripken it remains the diamond in my collection. If it didn't contain the Cal Ripken card, then its importance would of course be minimal."
To take a look at the sheet, please visit our gallery at the following: http://www.ripkenintheminors.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=11166913
When Steve Kozel received permission to print the 1981 WTF Rochester Red Wings set is came with a condition. The condition was that Steve would provide 3,000 cards of Doc Edwards for an Eastman Kodak Underprivileged Day during the 1981 season. The quote included a quote on the back from Edwards. In reality, Doc did not want to be bothered so the quote was attributed to him but chosen by Steve and then Co-General Manager Bill Terlecky. It was the first time the Kodak logo was ever put on a trading card and the people at Kodak were not happy. For whatever reason, possibly rain, the cards were never handed out. In March 2011 a copy surfaced at auction. The card was sold by Kevin Johnston of Clubhouse in Rochester. Kevin was Clubhouse Manager for the Wings in 1981 and had no clue how he received the card. The card was printed on the same sheets as the 1981 WTF set but has a picture cropped fifferent from its WTF counterpart.
Thank you for visiting our site! If you have any additional information, or if you have a question, please feel free to send an e-mail at any time to email@example.com. You can also find RITM on facebook! Have a great day!
visitors since October 19, 2006