Recently, Jeff Katz revealed on the blog how he stores the 1984 Fun Foods pin set by using pocket pages designed for stamps. In a vain attempt to keep up with the “Katzes,” I completed my set and used tobacco card pocket pages to store mine. The pin subject reminded me that I have around 20 pins from the 1969 MLBPA pin (photo button) set.
This set consists of 60 pins measuring approximately 7/8”. There are 30 players for each league, with the American League featuring red borders and the National League blue. The photos are all “floating heads” in black and white without cap emblems. The unnumbered pins were distributed in vending machines for 10 cents apiece.
Included in the set are most of the greats and near greats
of the era. The set does not include players from the four expansion teams that
began play in 1969-alas, no Seattle Pilots!
However, there is a George Brunet on the Angels which sort of counts.
Printed along the bottom is the following: “1969 MLBPA MFG. R.R. Winona, MINN.” The reason I point this out is that a similar version of the pins was released by persons unknown in 1983.
The unauthorized pins are easy to spot.
The photo and the pin themselves are smaller.
Players from either league show up in blue or red.
The player’s name appears above the photo and team name below-just the opposite of the originals.
Some hats include team logos whereas no 1969 hats do.
There is no manufacturer printed on the pin. “1969 MLBPA USA” does appear, but the issue was not sanctioned by the union.
The make up of the “bootleg” set is quite different. Only 13 of the 60 players from the original issue show up in this 36-pin set. The remaining 23 pins are all time greats including Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, and Satchel Paige. I found no reference to how the pins were distributed, but the gumball machine method seems logical.
A complete set of the originals in excellent condition is quite pricey. On the other hand, you can pick up off grade singles at a reasonable price.
Since this set is not exactly aesthetically pleasing, I’m
hoping this scintillating post doesn’t spur Jeff Katz to put the set
together. I don’t want to become mired
in a “cold war” pin race. Meanwhile, I will make a fashion statement by pinning
Tony Horton to the lapel of my leisure suit.
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.
With SABR 49 about to unfold in beautiful San Diego, I offer
a look at Padres’ cards from the Pacific Coast League era, which ends with the formation
of the Major League Padres in 1969.
The original Hollywood Stars moved to San Diego in 1936. The
city fathers constructed a wooden ballpark, Lane Field, near the train station
on the water front. From there, the team
would move into the Mission Valley in 1958 to play at Westgate Park and,
finally, San Diego Stadium in 1968.
According to PCL historian, collector and dealer Mark MacRae,
the first set of Padres collectibles were team issued photos in 1947. However, this set does not show up in the Standard
Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards. This
publicity photo of manager “Ripper” Collins from 1947 may be an example, but
I’m by no means certain.
Two years later, Bowman issues a PCL set in the same format
as their MLB cards. The small, square
cards were issued in packs with a total of 32 in the set. The five Padres players are Xavier Rescigno
(pictured), John Jensen, Pete Coscavart, Lee Handley and Tom Seats. The cards were issued as reprint set in 1987
by the Card Collectors Company. The
reprints are distinguished by wider, white borders.
Bowman wasn’t the only company to issue PCL cards in 1949. The Hage’s Dairy company begins a three- year run with a 107-card set-with at least 26 different Padres. This initial set and the subsequent issues are filled with variation cards. Some players have up to four different poses. They were distributed in boxes of popcorn at Lane Field. Cards were added or removed when the rosters changed. The 1951 cards come in four different tones: sepia, blue, green and black-and-white. This set includes Luke Easter, manager Bucky Harris and John Ritchey, who broke the PCL color barrier in 1948.
Incidentally, the Bowman cards used many of the same photographs as Hage’s. For example, Bowman simply cropped this photo of John Jensen.
Hage’s comes back in 1950 with a 122-card set that has at
least 28 Padres. This time, all the cards are black-and-white. Also, Hage’s ice
cream is advertised on the back. This
set has manager Jimmy Reese as well as two variations of Orestes “Minnie”
Minoso. Among other recognizable names
are: Al Smith (famous for having beer poured on his head by fan in ’59 World
Series), Harry “Suitcase” Simpson, and Tom Tresh’s dad, Mike.
In 1951, Hage’s produces a much reduced 54-card set, with
all but 12 of them being Padres. The other cards are comprised of seven
Cleveland Indians and five Hollywood Stars. They were printed in the following
tints: blue, green, burgundy, gold, gray and sepia. Harry Malmberg is an example of the many photo
variations. The two cards above are both
from 1951. Some familiar names in this
set are Ray Boone, Luke Easter and “Sad” Sam Jones.
Like an ice cream bar left in the warm California sun,
Hage’s Dairy cards melted away in 1952, leaving Globe Printing as the card
producer for the Padres. This 18-card,
black-and-white set features manager Lefty O’Doul, coach Jimmy Reese, Memo Luna
and Herb Gorman. I’m not sure how the
cards were distributed.
1952 is a big PCL card year-due to the introduction of the fabulous Mother’s Cookies set. The 64-card set was distributed in packages of cookies on the West Coast. Padres’ manager, Lefty O’Doul, has on a beautiful satin jacket in his photo. Some of the recognizable players include Memo Luna, “Whitey” Wietlemann and “Red” Embree.
Mother’s Cookies returns with a 63-card set in 1954. Of the seven Padres in the set, the most interesting is Tom Alston. He would integrate the St. Louis Cardinals in 1954 after being purchased for $100,000. Unfortunately, mental illness ended his promising career in 1957. Also, Lefty O’Doul is back, and former MLB player Earl Rapp has a card.
I was unable to locate any evidence of Padres cards from 1953-60, but in 1961 the fantastic Union Oil set showed up at West Coast 76 stations. The sepia tone cards measure 3”X 4” and featured 12 Padres. Among the players available are: Herb Score, Harry “Suitcase” Simpson, Mike Hershberger and Dick Lines.
The Major League Padres arrive in 1969, but cards from the PCL era would emerge in retrospective sets. In 1974, PCL historian and fan, Ed Broder, self-produced a 253-card set, modeled after the Seattle Rainiers popcorn cards. He used players from 1957-58. There are 31 Padres cards in the set, including future Seattle Pilot, Gary “Ding Dong” Bell, Bob Dipietro, and Jim “Mudcat” Grant.
Another retro set was produced by TCMA in 1975. The 18-card set has PCL players from the mid-1950s,
one of which is Padre Cal McLish. The cards are “tallboy” size-like early 1970s
In recent years, the late Carl Aldana self-produced several
Padres cards in the Mother’s Cookies format.
The players he chose are: Ted Williams, Luke Easter, Max West, Al Smith
and Jack Graham.
Please let me know if there are other years that PCL Padres
cards were produced or if you have a 1947 team issued photo.
SABR convention goers will assemble at glitzy Petco Park for
a Padres game against the Cardinals. Not too far away, a humbler structure once
stood, Lane Field. Though small and
termite infested, it was “big time” to fans in a simpler era with limited entertainment
At the game, I plan to buy a box of popcorn to see if a Hage’s Dairy Memo Luna card was magically inserted amongst the kernels.
Mickey Mantle was the quintessential “baby boomer” icon in
post-war America. His good looks,
athleticism and strength personified the American concept of
exceptionalism. “The Mick” was the
ultimate hero for the white American male, who controlled all the levers of
power. It is not a stretch to state that
Don Drysdale was the pitcher who complemented the slugger.
To commemorate the SABR Baseball Committee’s 400th blog post, members were tasked with coming up with a post that tied in the number 400. In 1969, Topps assigned Drysdale card number 400 in the set. Many of you know that Topps gave superstar players the “hundred” numbers. The card turned out to be Don’s last regular issue card. This post celebrates our blog’s milestone by examining the Big D’s cardboard legacy.
Most of you remember that 1968 was a record-breaking year for Don-while 1969 had a tragic ending. 1968 saw him set the record for consecutive scoreless innings with 58-2/3 (since broken by Orel Hershiser with 59 in 1988). Unfortunately, starting 35 or more games for nine straight seasons finally caught up to Drysdale. Ongoing shoulder issues culminated with a diagnosis of a torn rotator cuff. After 12 starts in 1969, Don was forced to retire.
Standing 6’3’ and weighing 190, Don was a prime physical specimen and the epitome of the sun-splashed, California athlete. Being handsome, well-spoken and playing in Los Angeles resulted in advertisement opportunities and TV appearances. People of a certain age remember the Big D as a guest on “The Donna Reed Show,” “Leave it to Beaver,” “Beverly Hillbillies” and the “Brady Bunch.” The alliteration of the double D’s in his name contributed his recognition in and out of baseball.
My favorite Drysdale card was issued in 1967. The posed, follow through shot at Shea
Stadium exudes confidence and command.
Don had mid-century America by the horns, and he knew it.
The early cards depict a young man still developing into a prime athlete. Drysdale’s first Topps card in 1957 shows him with the Brooklyn “B” in the “Bums” last season in Ebbets Field. The shift to LA in 1958 results in an airbrushed “LA” on the cap. The Hires Root Beer card from that year makes him look rather cherubic.
1959 and 1960 are great, mostly due to the backdrop of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The massive football stadium-turned ballpark is certainly distinctive.
Drysdale shows up on specialty cards as well. In 1959, Don joins teammates Johnny Podres and Clem Labine on a cool, multi-player card captioned: “Hitters Foes.” Podres is back in 1963, but this time Drysdale’s fellow superstar teammate, Sandy Koufax, joins him on the card titled: “Dodgers Big Three.” Additionally, Drysdale has 1960 and 1962 All-Star cards and is on numerous league leaders.
Fleer attempted to break the Topps monopoly in 1963. Topps successfully sued to stop future production, but Fleer managed to put out at least a portion of its set. Don plays in “both ends of a double dip,” showing up in both sets.
Topps chose Don to represent the Dodgers in the 1967 poster
insert and the 1968 large posters, which were sold individually, one per
pack. Both are excellent photos and the
designs are superb in their simplicity.
As one of baseball’s top stars, Don is featured in every Topps insert or test issue set. He shows up on Bazooka boxes, Post Cereal, Salada coins and many other oddball sets.
Receiving a “hundred” number in a Topps series in 1960s was to be recognized as a true icon. Don is a man certainly worthy of our 400th post. I’ll leave you with a photo of my Drysdale shrine in my memorabilia room.
To learn all there is to know about Don Drysdale, I highly recommend Joseph Wancho’s BioProject entry.
At a recent card show, I purchased three Mother’s Cookies
team sets from the ‘80s. As far as “give-away” cards go, Mother’s Cookies are
near the top of the quality list. The
sharp photos on glossy stock combined with a simple design, featuring rounded
corners, produces a very attractive card.
The company produced team sets for the West Coast and Texas clubs during the ’80s and ’90s. The 28-card team sets were primarily composed of players from the year of issue. Sets, packed in envelopes, were given away at the stadium as promotions. Fans received approximately 90% of a set. Each envelope contained several duplicates to trade with other fans to secure the missing two or three cards. Additionally, an individual card from the local team was inserted into retail bags of cookies.
Mother’s Cookies used a different criterion for two of the
sets I picked up at the show. Both the
’86 Astros and the ’87 Athletics are All-Time, All-Star sets. One card was produced for the All-Star
representatives over the years. In
Houston’s case, it starts in ’62 with Dick “Turk” Farrell of the expansion Colt
.45’s. Oakland kicks off with Bert Campaneris in 1968-the year they moved from
The Astros cards are unique and quite striking in
appearance. Each card is a colorfully
painted portrait with stylized depictions. However, the artist* does an
excellent job of making the players recognizable. This is a great choice, since “photo realism”
would have made the whole exercise superfluous.
(*Richard-with a last name beginning with W-is the artist
signature. I was unable to identify
Houston’s colorful uniform history adds to the visual appeal. Starting with the wonderful Colt .45’s uniform, you see a progression to the “starburst” Astros, the primary color switch to orange, and finally the famous “Tequila Sunrise.”
Although the A’s didn’t use painted portraits, their colorful uniform history is on full display. Plus, the set has most of the principal players from the ’71-’75 dynasty era. The vest style uniforms give way to the polyester pullover jerseys and beltless pants in bold Kelly Green, California Gold and Wedding Gown White combinations.
The A’s set is from just before the “Bash Brothers” era, but
Jose Canseco shows up twice. Also, there
are cards from the lean years of the late ‘70s and the resurrection during the
“Billy Ball” era.
At five dollars per set, I couldn’t go wrong even if the
cards were less than stellar. So, I am very pleased with this purchase. By the way, the third set I bought is the ’84
Padres. This set is very colorful as
well with the NL champion Padres sporting the “chili dog” accent colors on the
I am sufficiently inspired to collect more of these
relatively inexpensive gems. Of course,
I have the complete Mariners run.
For those of us whose minds tend to gravitate toward the obscure and trivial, baseball cards can serve as a stimulate for this brain disorder. For example, the magic mushroom that sent me falling down the rabbit hole recently was a 1961 Seattle Rainiers’ popcorn card of Ted Schreiber.
I’ve had the card for several years, but recently purchased an off grade 8×10 glossy of the same photo as appears on the card. Curious to know more about Mr. Schreiber, I sought out online information on the infielder. Of course, it didn’t take the “men from to chessboard to tell me where to go.”
Since I couldn’t “go ask Alice,” The SABR Bioproject was my destination. Bioproject is an invaluable resource. The forgotten and obscure players are given the same scholarly treatment as the all-time greats. Mr. Rory Costello’s biography of Schreiber is well written and provides some surprising information. After reading it, I felt like I was “given the call” to tell you about Mr. Schreiber, aided by a look at his few, but wonderful, cards. By the way, Topps never issued a card for him.
Though no “Red Queen” ever tried to “off” Schreiber’s head, he did make “off” from his Brooklyn home in the late 1950’s destined for Queens-where he donned the “red” of the St.John’s Redmen. Ted played basketball for legendary coach Joe Lapchick and baseball for long-time coach, Jack Kaiser. Since my son graduated from St. John’s, I’ve developed an interest in the school’s sports history. This connection heightened my interest in Schreiber’s story.
Mr. Costello’s biography provided a great piece of trivia. Ted hit two home runs at Ebbets Field in 1959. Turns out, St. John’s played three home games there against Manhattan College.
Schrieber’s exploits on the diamond for the Redmen drew the attention of scout Frank “Bots” Nakola. If your “mind is moving low” and this name doesn’t ring a bell, he is the Red Sox scout who signed Yaz, Rico Petrocelli and Chuck Schilling out of the New York area. After a workout at Fenway Park, Ted signed with Boston.
In 1961 and 1962, Ted played in Seattle-the Red Sox AAA affiliate in the Pacific Coast League. From 1954 to 1968, the Rainiers/Angels issued smallish, glossy cards in boxes of popcorn. For reasons unknown, there are two variations of Schreiber cards in both 1961 and 1962. The 1961 “action” card misspelled Ted’s name. If you want to know more about popcorn cards, here are links to my previous posts
During the off season, the Mets selected Schreiber in the Rule 5 draft. Since his route to Boston was blocked by second sacker, Chuck Schilling, this was a good break for Ted. However, Ron Hunt won the starting job at second base for the Mets. As a bench player Schreiber appeared in only 39 games, but he did take center stage in a piece of Mets history.
On September 26, 1963, Ted pinch hit for his old St. John’s teammate, Larry Bearnath. He promptly hit into a game ending double play, thus making the last out in the history of the Polo Grounds. Though Topps never produced a card for Schreiber, there is a team issued photo from 1963.
Returning to the minors in 1964, Schreiber would never make back to the “show.” His one year in the “bigs” secured a card in Larry Fritsch’s 1983 “One Year Wonders” set. Also, Ted shows up in the 1966 Elder Postcards, 1976 SSPC set commemorating the ’63 Mets and in the 1971 “Wiz” Mets set.
Since “logic and proportion has fallen sloppy dead,” and you would rather hear “the White Knight talking backwards” than continue with me chasing rabbits, I will stop. But remember what the Bobby “Doerr-mouse” said: “Feed your head” with Bioproject.
Today’s card collectors are familiar with the bonus cards,
posters, coins and other products that are inserted in blaster, hobby and retail
boxes. Autographed cards, relics and
“buy backs” are common examples.
In 2010, Topps inserted Manufactured Commemorative Patches
in “blaster” boxes. The cards feature
all-time greats accompanied by patches for All-Star games or World Series in
which the player was a participant. A
few cards feature contemporary players with patches matching those wore on
The cards consist of a small player photo placed to the side
with an embroidered patch in the center, filling most of the space. The cards are extra thick to accommodate the
patch. There are 100 different cards,
with the first 50 distributed in “blaster” boxes for series one of the base
set. The second series base set contains
the last 50. An additional 50 cards were
issued in the Update “blaster” boxes.
There is an ersatz nature to some of the patches, which
might raise the hackles of some curmudgeonly purists. Since official logos were
not issued for World Series and All-Star games until at least the 1970s, Topps
had to create the patch-but not necessarily from “whole cloth.” Fortunately, they used the press pins issued
at the time as the models. Thus, most of
the logos are accurate to the event.
Dizzy Dean’s card is beautiful example of the use of the press pin design. As you can see, the patch is derived from Cardinals press pin issued at Sportsman’s Park at the 1934 World Series but with the word “press” removed. The card back shows a printed version of the patch logo
The 1948 World Series logo is unique in that “Chief Wahoo”
is facing forward, as seen on this Larry Doby card. Once again, the emblem closely matches the
One of my favorites is the Juan Marichal card featuring the
1968 All-Star patch. Held in the
Astrodome, the game was broadcast for the first time in prime time. This is the first All-Star game I remember
watching on TV.
The Bob Gibson card is confusing at first since it features the Twins logo on the patch. However, this is a faithful reproduction of the 1965 All-Star game press pin.
I am drawn to the design of the 1972 All-Star patch on
Carlton Fisk’s card. The Braves’ simple
feather logo-which was worn as a sleeve design on their uniforms-is especially eye
There are a few patches that were created without historical
artifacts as inspiration. The Jimmie
Foxx card has an inaugural All-Star game patch of modern origin. Nonetheless, the designer uses Art Deco
elements to match those of the 1933 World’s Fair, to create a decent period
An example of a contemporary players’ cards in the set are
Mariano Rivera and Justin Morneau. The patches commemorate the opening and
closing of ball parks. These are replicas of sleeve patches.
In 2011, Topps continue with the patch theme, but this time
went with vintage team logos. Most of
the cards have modern players paired with past team logos. A few old timers are thrown in as well. I have a few of these, including-of
course-Ichiro with a Pilots logo. I like
these as well but not as much as 2010.
Of course, Topps can’t leave well enough alone, and produced
inserts in 2010 with cap logo patches and vintage players. Subsequent sets have also featured patch
themed inserts and bonus cards.
In closing, I will break the hearts of Red Sox fans by
showing the 1967 World Series patch with Orlando Cepeda and mend the organ with
a 1915 Tris Speaker. Suddenly, I’m
hearing a James Taylor song.