Weird Card Wednesday: Charles Gipson aka “Fred Rivers”

Thanks again to Ryan Morrison for suggesting another card this week.  There’s nothing too odd about the actual numbers on this card of “Fred Rivers” except for perhaps the single column ‘2’.  The strange thing is that his name is not really Fred Rivers.  It belongs to a player named Charles Gipson, a utility man who played around the turn of the century for mostly AL teams.

Why the different name?  For one reason or another, the MLB Players Association protected Gipson’s name to be used in licensing agreements such as games like APBA.  A good many of the “fake name” cards belong to those who were replacement players.

You can find a list of most APBA cards that have fake names here.  While the names that the APBA Co. used are fake, they all had a baseball “feel” to them.  There is a “Ruth”, a “Grove” and even a “Bleacher”… but just with different first names.

Season Totals
2001 Totals 94 14 72 64 16 14 2 2 0 5 1 4 20 .219 .282 .313

Provided by View Original Table

Generated 8/2/2017.

You may notice that not only is the name fake but there is no stats listed on this card.  Those who have played APBA for more than a few years will remember when the player result was placed on a dice result each year (instead of at 23 like it is now).  That is how APBA fans could determine what year a card set was published.

There is a 12 Publication list put together by Doug Burg which not only lists which number the 12 is at for each year but other publishing info for each set.  Here it is if you want to check it out.  I get requests from many APBA fans who want to identify older sets or cards and this is the first thing I suggest.

One piece of interesting trivia… As I was checking out info on the 2001 set, I realized that APBA put the 12 on the 21 (as seen above) twice in three years.  They did so in 1999 and 2001 on both of the original sets.

thanks Ryan!!


  1. Here’s a related question. My 1957 set, as well as my 1950s “decade” set (both purchased in the 90’s)has several player with only initials. Eddie Mathews, Country Slaughter, and Gil Hodges come to mind. Is this still done?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *