The Globetrotter-Baseball link is well known. The team’s founder, Abe Saperstein, was extremely active in Negro League Baseball (SABR bio here). Ernie Banks and Bob Gibson played for the Globies in the ‘50’s
and Fergie Jenkins did the same a decade later.
Mookie Betts was drafted by the Globetrotters in 2020, but in a head-scratching career move stayed a Dodger.
But the Globie-baseball card connection? I’ve got it covered.
It’s hard to overstate the cultural pervasiveness of the Trotters during the 1970’s. They’re an anachronism now, still out there, but playing to slim crowds, a nostalgic relic. In the first half of the ‘70’s, the Globetrotters were an ABC Wide World of Sports highlight, not to be missed. There were books about them
they had their own Saturday morning cartoon show
they starred in a Scooby-Doo movie
and they had not one, but two, trading card sets.
The 1971 Fleer Globetrotter set was 84 glorious cards, a simple photo on the front and well-written prose on the backs. They must’ve come in packs of 8. I just finished the set but started with 56 cards I’d bought back then (8 cards per pack is the best math I can come up with). Each pack had a team logo sticker, which I both don’t remember and, shockingly, have none of. If I bought 7 packs back then, I should have at least 6 intact stickers around, I don’t.
The second set is a shorter version of the first, 28 cards, but with facsimile autographs on the front and the Cocoa Puffs logo added to the back.
So what’s this got to do with you? I’ve written before about finding baseball cards in non-sports sets. The Fleer and Cocoa Puffs sets both have two cards of the Globies “Baseball Play” skit.
Card #70 (#3 Cocoa Puffs) is a complete baseball card. It’s got Meadowlark Lemon sliding and the back referencing the act.
Card #71 (#7 Cocoa Puffs) is half a baseball card, but it’s a great photo. The back has 1970-71 Highlights, no baseball stuff.
There are scads of hysterical Meadowlark Lemon memories, but I’m pretty sure my favorite may have been part of the baseball act. Lemon would slide and start howling “My leg! My leg!” The trainer and concerned teammates would come out and minister some aid to the injured leg.
“It’s my other leg!” Lemon would wail. A great punchline. It might be from a different skit, but I like it my way.
The Globies are still doing there thing . Here’s the baseball play, with a special Yankee guest.