As an inveterate collector, I have saved almost every sports related piece of memorabilia though all of life’s transitions. The one big exception is the loss of my Chemtoy “superballs” with imbedded baseball player photos. My brother and I easily had 60-70 of these 1” diameter “high bounce” balls. With the exception of Lou Brock and Don Mincher, the collection is lost.
Many of you may remember that the balls were sold in vending machines as well as at drug, candy and variety stores. My only source was a drug store in the “big city” of Yakima, WA, which had the mixed box of AL and NL players. Chemtoy also distributed the balls in separate NL and AL boxes or regionally by teams. The balls sold for 10 cents each. 1970 was the only year of production, but the balls lingered in stores for several years
Each team had 11 or 12 players and a manager. The inch diameter picture disk was a head shot without any MLB insignia on the caps. Obviously, Chemtoy only bought rights from the MLBPA. The backs were blue for the NL and red for the AL and contained the player’s name, team, position and an inventory number.
The pliable, clear plastic material served to magnify the picture when viewed straight on. Unfortunately, the balls tended the turn “cloudy” with age, obscuring the picture. I remember that excessive bouncing could lead to the ball splitting at the center seem leaving you with a 1” baseball card.
Over the years, I’ve collected eight Seattle Pilots, paying up to $25 (ouch!) each. I was recently narrowly outbid on a banged up Gene Brabender.
Chemtoy produced an AFL and NFL set in 1969 as well.
Here is a link with more information on these quasi-cards.