In the late 1980s and early 1990s, baseball cards could be found in or on the packages of numerous food and other consumer products. In 1987, the budget minded gravitated to the prepared food isle where Kraft Macaroni and Cheese boxes featured two card panels. The “crafty” Kraft folks-utilizing a pun- called the series, “Home Plate Heroes.”
For the past 32 years, ten intact boxes have languished in my collection, generally taking up space. Recently, I made an executive decision to separate the panels form the boxes. The panels fit perfectly in four-pocket pages. I kept two boxes intact, since they were duplicates.
This process piqued my curiosity as to the number of panel combinations and total cards in the set. It turns out that 48 different players appear on panels in five different combinations each. As you can see, Mattingly had multiple partners in the hedonistic 1980s.
The last Mattingly panel pairs him with Mike Schmidt. Notice that the two cards are in numerical sequence. Each player in the set has a combination panel like this. This means collectors could put a set of 24 panels together to form the complete set of 48 players. Hobbyists didn’t have to cut out the cards-individually-to order the set by number.
If you are the obsessive type who believes that a complete set is possessing all the panel variations, it will require the accumulation of 120 separate panels.
After cutting the boxes, I checked eBay to see if a complete set existed. There was a 24-panel set in numerical sequence for around $6 with postage, which I bought.
As far as oddball sets go, this one is not bad. It harkens back to the Post cards of the 1960s. However, not gaining MLB rights to show logos is a strike against them. Still, there are numerous Hall-of-Fame members and notables from the era.
The macaroni in the box still looks good and the cheese powder is perfectly preserved by salt and chemicals. I plan to cook up a box and eat it all while pondering the majesty of Eddie Murray.