From SABR member Don Drooker at MastersBall on September 29, 2012:
OK, this is just between us, so you can admit the truth. When one of your fantasy pitchers gives up a bunch of runs, you immediately look to see if his team made any errors, praying to the Fantasy Gods that some of the runs were unearned. In fact, you’re not even upset if he made one of the errors himself, as long as your ERA doesn’t take it in the shorts. So, sometimes, errors can be good or bad and it also works that way with baseball cards.
In collecting parlance, an “error card” is defined as one with erroneous information, spelling or depiction on either side of the card. While most errors aren’t corrected by the producing card companies, on occasion they notice the mistake soon enough to make changes and then resume the print run. In these cases, both the error card and the corrected version are defined as “variations”. Many collectors feel that they don’t own a complete set of a particular year and brand unless it includes all the variations, but some of these cards can be relatively scarce. In the early years of modern baseball cards (the 50’s & 60’s), quality control from Topps and other companies left a lot to be desired but you’ll find numerous examples in every decade.
Originally published: October 1, 2012. Last Updated: October 1, 2012.