When my first book, The Kansas City A’s and the Wrong Half of the Yankees, came out in 2007, I wasn’t as focused on getting book-related cards as I would be for Split Season 1981. In all fairness, it was easy pickings to find sets from 1981 that I didn’t have – Topps Foldouts, Scratch-offs, Coca-Cola, Stickers, Giant Photo Cards, Drake’s, Squirt, Kellogg’s. (Here’s the post). Not as easy for the A’s book.
As I often do, I found myself at Baseball Nostalgia in Cooperstown and came across a 1955 Rodeo Meats reprint set, a 1976 issue. Affordable ($4) and filled with guys I had been researching and writing about. The back of the header card explains the originals better than I can:
It’s not that exciting a set, but fun to have:
The backs are plain and informative:
But, hold on:
The originals are in glorious ’50’s color!
The 1955 set, coinciding with the A’s arrival from Philadelphia, has 38 different players with one error – Bobby Shantz’, one spelled “Schantz,” the other “Shantz.” There are players with two backgrounds – Cloyd Boyer (blue and pink), Joe DeMaestri (pea and light greens), Arnie Portocarrero (pink and yellow), Bill Renna (dark and light pinks), Wilmer Shantz (orange and purple. Why couldn’t they get those Shantz brothers done correctly?), Elmer Valo (yellow and purple) and Bill Wilson (yellow and purple). All in all there are 47 cards.
The 1956 set was reduced to 13 cards. The backs are different too. Here’s a 1955 back, featuring a scrapbook offer):
If you’re thinking that these are real beauties and that you’d like to pick a few up, beware! They are super pricey. As a result, I’ll settle for my black and whites.
Disappointing, sure, but not as disappointing as being a KC A’s fan and watching them trade all your favorite players to the Yankees, or, worse, parking them until New York called them back.
Intrigued? Read the book.