Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In!

One of my personal favorite sets, from the relatively barren late ‘70’s when there wasn’t a ton of product, was the 1977 Padres team issued set of schedule cards. It’s a weird little set of a bad little team, 49 cards total.

Of those cards, 40 have schedules on the back and a line “One in A Series of 40 Player Photos.”

Some greats:

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Some not so greats:

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One had, what for me will always be the DP combo of the future:

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The other 9 had blank backs:

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Weird that in a 1977 issue, there’s a McCovey card (he was already back on the Giants by way of the A’s) and a Washington card (that franchise move a dead issue by ’77).

A nice group of cards, filed away, complete, at least until I stumbled on this post a few years ago – https://clydes-stalecards.blogspot.com/2013/07/1977-san-diego-padres-schedule-cards.html  *

It turned out that I only had slightly more than half the set, what are referred to as Type 1 (those 40 cards) and Type 3 (the blank backs). Of course, the Type 2s are harder to come by.

Type 2s also total 40 cards, with the same info as Type 1s on the back, EXCEPT there’s no “One in A Series….” line. There are also two types of fonts used for the fronts, a thin player name and a bold one.  It’s also got a slew of players not contained in either of the other types (Miller and Norman are thin font, Beckert is thick font):

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And this guy (who looks suspiciously like Rollie Fingers!):

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While all of this seems haphazard, there’s a good (though bad) reason for the confusion. Andy Strasberg, former head of PR and VP for the Padres can explain:

I created the set with each card having a Padres sepia photo on the front and a calendar of promotional game dates on the reverse. A few different cards were given away for free for each home game at Padres program stands.

Unfortunately the credibility of the cards flew out the window when a couple of local collectors replicated the format with different photos and flooded the collectors market to undermine the validity of the true Padres team issue card set.

The team issued cards are the Type 1s. All other types are ripoffs of Strasberg’s original idea.

Frustrating to find out about, and, seemingly an impossible group to find, I set out on a mission to find the Type 2 subset. Not a very exhaustive mission; I created an eBay search. Last week, after years, it finally happened! A full Type 2 set was listed, not marked as such, but the pics showed that to be the case. I was the only bidder. There were even some doubles, which I’ll list.

It’s a strange feeling, to know for sure that you’ve got every card, only to find out you’ve been mistaken for over 40 years. Thankfully, it’s not the biggest mistake I’ve made since 1977 and one that was relatively painless to fix.

*NOTE: Clyde’s post states the Jones/Kuhn card isn’t a blank back, but the one I have is. Not sure if that means there are two versions, but I doubt it.

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.

14 thoughts on “Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In!”

  1. Another interesting article. And relevant for me as a collecting friend gave me one of these in ‘77. As you noted, there weren’t many options in that era, so I tried to order one from the Padres and asked for info. They said they were sold out. Along with your eBay experience, it strikes me that these could be legitimately scarce. (Not that there’s a huge demand)

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      1. I own the San Diego Padres Schedule cards (Type 2 of 9 blank back cards, Type 3 of 40 missing the “One in a Series of 40 Player Photos” and Type 1 of 41 with “One in a Series of 40 Player Photos”. The 41st card of Type 1 is the Jones / Kuhn card, which is also one of the blank-backed cards. So both cards exist and there are 41 Type 1 cards as opposed to the listed set of 40.

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  2. Thanks for the write-up on this set. I’d seen the Freisleben pic with the Washington uniform before, but I’d never realized it was on an actual card. As you say, that’s an odd choice for his photo, even if it takes what would otherwise be a common and turn it into one of the most interesting cards in the set.

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      1. Are that card and the McCovey part of the original Padres issue, or are they only part of the counterfeit set? The latter would make more sense, but if I understand your article correctly it sounds like both are in fact part of the original also.

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      2. They’re Type 2s. so. according to Andy S. not part of the original set. The only original cards are the ones with schedule backs and “One in A Series of 40 Player Photos.”

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  3. I should add, that IIRC, you only had to include a SASE and they would send you one. But I was interested in ordering more. I received nothing.

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