Kids all over Seattle shouted “hot diggity dog” when they discovered that Seattle Rainiers wiener cards were back in 1963. Garbage can raiding and dumpster diving would once again be the norm in alleys across the city. Kids “dogged” their mothers to not “wienie out” and buy the cheap franks. Frankly, they would only settle for the “card-carrying” brand: “Milwaukee Sausage Company.”
For those of you who were able to “digest” my previous “all-meat” offerings, you remember that Hygrade and Henry House were the companies who included cards in wiener packages. If Seattle was the norm, minor league teams must have frequently changed official hot dog providers. Looking through Rainiers programs from the late 1940s to mid-1960s, I count six different companies who claimed top dog status at Sicks’ Seattle Stadium.
As a side note, I see an omen in the fact that “Milwaukee” was the name of the company. Of course, the Wisconsin city would soon play a part in dashing the Northwest’s claim of big-league status. I will now remove my tin foil hat made of discarded hot dog wrappers.
The Milwaukee Sausage cards measure 4-1/4” square, feature a larger photo, and have less biographical information than the previous two iterations. A total of 11 cards comprise the set. As with the other wiener brands’ cards, the black and white photos are the same as those issued on the popcorn cards for that season.
To illustrate the rarity of finding cards today, a Paul Smith card-in fair condition-is currently offered on eBay for $1,899. The seller does allow for installment payments-if you are salivating at prospect of owning one of these “puppies.”
In 1963, the Rainiers were affiliated with Boston. The eleven cards in the set include a few players who saw limited action in Boston. The biggest name-by far-is the manager, legendary Red Sox hurler Mel Parnell.
Pete Smith sipped some coffee at Fenway in 1962 and 1963. He started in his first game at Detroit on 9/13/62. He lasted 3 and 2/3 innings giving up 8 runs, all earned.
Although I couldn’t find Milwaukee Sausage cards for Pete Jernigan, Bill Spanswick and Archie Skeen, each made it onto a Topps Rookie Stars cards. Spanswick has the distinction of being the other guy on Tony Conigliaro’s rookie card. By the way, Skeen never played in a major league game.
Other featured players with big league experience with other organizations include coach Elmer Singleton, Billy Harrell (13 games with Sox), George Spencer, and the aforementioned Paul Smith.
Well, after force feeding you more hot dogs than Joey Chestnut eats on Independence Day, it’s time to put away the mustard and sauerkraut. Hopefully, you have come to realize that America is a better place for having had a photo of Mel Parnell enclosed in a package of wieners.