Food for Thought

Now that I’m (mostly) past the flu, my thoughts turn back to food, and food issues. I’ve realized that, though I think I pursued every sort of card in the 1970’s, the reality is that, when it came to cards, what I ate, and how I ate it, was the leading indicator.

I’ve written about 1961 Post (though it predates me), 1970’s Kellogg’s 3-D (right in my wheelhouse) and, of course, Hostess, the pinnacle of my taste and card preferences. Here are five other issues of the ‘70’s, and how I approached them.

1971 Bazooka (but really all Bazooka)

All of the Bazooka cards, starting in 1959, are nice enough, but I never, never, collected them, even when my gum chewing days began (let’s guess 1967). Why? Because I we didn’t conceive of buying gum by the box! Gum was an impulse purchase, and impulse easily satisfied for a penny.

That being said, I used to see those full boxes of Bazooka at the supermarket and they were glorious. Imagine, and entire box of gum, at home! It was too much to process and I don’t recall asking for it.


1971 Milk Duds

I have never met a single child who had Milk Duds at the top of their candy list. Even in 1971, they seemed like the preferred candy of the 1940’s. I’ll assume adding cards to the back of nickel boxes was an attempt to entice kids away from better candy, but I can assure you that it didn’t work on me. I have never bought Milk Duds voluntarily. They end up always being part of a Halloween assortment bag, and I eat them when there’s no better alternative. To be fair, they are worlds better than Tootsie Rolls, which is the Devil’s candy.

Looking at them now, I find it hard to believe I never bought a single box, even if it meant tossing the candy and keeping the card.



1972-1975(?) Slurpee Cups

When we moved from Brooklyn to Long Island in December 1971, there were innumerable culture shocks. It felt like I time-traveled from 1971, long-haired and fringe-jacketed, to 1961, crew-cutted, Gentile, and mean. There were good things to come, some took time, others were immediate. 7-Eleven was immediate.

I’d never seen or heard of 7-Eleven before moving to the middle of Suffolk County, but it was a looming presence out there, and the Slurpee ruled. Not only were they the best icy drinks (Coca-Cola Slurpees are the pinnacle of man’s inventions), but Slurpees cups had baseball, football and basketball players, even Hall of Fame baseball cups (which portrayed players as old men. Weird.)

Not only did they let me pick the cup I wanted (thereby avoiding doubles), but they’d sell empty cups. Maybe they were a quarter? I ended up with towers of Slurpee cups.



1974-75 Sugar Daddy

Though not a baseball player to be found, these cards do tip their cap to the 1938 Goudey “Heads Up” cards. Both years have 25 card sets, with a mix of football, basketball and hockey. The ‘74’s are pretty simple looking; the ‘75’s have a shield as background and are commonly referred to as “All-Stars.”

In those two years, I ate 7 Sugar Daddys. I know this because that’s how many of the cards I have. Funny, I’ve grown to love Sugar Daddys, but, back then, they were only a slightly better option than Milk Duds.


1977-79 Burger King Yankees

All of the above deserve a main course. The BK Yankee cards were great. Most mirrored the regular issue Topps sets, but often there was a new picture of another Yankee free agent signing. Those cards made the sets extra special.

For some reason, I didn’t get any 1977s, but the 1978s and 1979s were plentiful and, if memory serves, you could get extra packs at checkout. Maybe they charged, maybe not. Either way, it was easy to put a set together. (And, there was even a poster in 1978!)


Author: Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.

13 thoughts on “Food for Thought”

  1. I did buy Milk Duds-one of which is still stuck to a molar-but I cut the cards off the boxes. I then proceeded to write ’71 stats on the back of Boog Powell, Luis Aparicio, Jim Palmer and Gaylord Perry. Thanks for reminding me of my youthful foibles. Good post, as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic! My mom bought “Flaked Corn” and “Crispy Rice” instead of “Corn Flakes” and “Rice Krispies,” so I got completely shut out of the Kellogg’s game. Ditto for all Hostess products, which were verboten in our home.

    Aside from regular packs of cards, the “food” issues that made up the bulk of my diet were Sugar Daddies (a couple years after the ones you show), 1979 Topps Comics and the 7-Eleven Slurpee magic motion coins of the mid-1980s. It’s a really good thing I didn’t know about the Steve Garvey Baseball Tips series on 1978 packages of Post Raisin Bran, or I would have become a massive shoplifter.

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  3. I remember buying some Milk Dud cards. Still have the Redsox ones along with a couple complete boxes. I think I bought one box of Bazooka as a kid 1971 which I cut out and still have. I have quite a few of the Sugar Daddy cards all thre sports. Didn’t have any 7-11’s around me in 70’s. There all over now . I do have a few BK Yanks. My LCS had sets, I added them to my Topps sets for the corresponding yr. loved the post

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  4. If I remember correctly, BK also had a set for the ’79 Phillies. I seem to remember getting a Pete Rose which was not available with the original Topps release. Am I misremembering? I have no idea if I have these cards anymore.


  5. Good article Jeff. On the ’77 Burger King Yankees, is there a known explanation of why the photos of Reggie Jackson and Mike Torrez differed from their standard Topps releases?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Since this post I’ve completed both Sugar Daddy sets and the 1972 and 1973 Slurpee Baseball Cups sets (including Hall of Famers). Slurpee Cups were issued from 1972-73.


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