25 June 2015

1992 or 1993 New York Yankees postcard set (update)

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UPDATE - 25 June 2015

     I'm now thinking this is actually two or three separate sets, or the set was issued continuously over two or three years.  This morning on eBay I caught an auction with previously unseen cards of Danny Tartabull in a portrait shot, another Kevin Maas with a different photo and a Roberto Kelly.  Kelly wasn't even on my radar for some reason, even though he was an All-Star for the Yankees in 1992, so I don't know why I was surprised.  Checking the same seller's completed auctions turned up another lot that included Buck Showalter, Mark Conner and new-to-me cards of Clete Boyer and Yankee Stadium.

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UPDATE - 15 January 2013

I saw the Maas postcard on eBay, so the set is now up to 26.  I'm going to start posting images of each postcard as I find them so collectors might have a slightly better chance of recognizing them.  I suspect the black & white cards are copies of the originals, but until I find color versions, these are all I have to work with.
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UPDATE - 09 December 2011

     A couple more of these showed up on eBay recently, but they are no help in narrowing the set down to a single year as all six individuals were with the team from 1992-93.

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UPDATE - 04 December 2012

A much larger assortment of these has hit eBay, bring the checklist up to 25.  I finally have verification of most of the starters of the team.

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     The postcard arrived today, all the way from Los Angeles. It was interesting to see that as soon as I got my shipping notice, the seller immediately had a second one posted for sale. Considering he said he was given these as a gift, and he only had the Meulens, Showalter and Howe, he probably has a stack of them from an in-person signing from way back when. I have to revise my date estimate to either 1992 or 1993 as those were the only years Meulens and Howe were on the team together with Showalter at the helm. By 1994, Meulens would be playing in Japan and out of the Yankees system altogether.

Here are the front and back together:



     No joy on Googling SPORTSPRINT/ATLANTA aside from more references to that 1994 Greenville Braves set. Ditto for the photographers and what was presumably the outfit that provided the photos.


03 June 2015

Ralston Purina 1987 Collectors' Edition


     1987 saw a ramping up by a variety of companies using baseball cards as an enticement for purchasing their product.  Popcorn, breakfast cereal, iced tea and even the big mac & cheese lobby would get into the baseball card printing act.  Three years after their "First Annual" card set, the Ralston Purina Company produced a new set of 15 cards, in packs of three, buried in specially marked boxes of regular and vanilla Cookie-Crisp, and the less well known test run of Honey Graham Chex.


     Along with the cards was an instant win card for a "Win A Hero For A Day" contest.  The grand prize being a visit from "a baseball hero" to your school or a Little League game.  Other prizes were 500 Rawlings gloves; 1,000 personalized Louisville Slugger bats; 10,000 Rawlings baseballs and 100,000  complete uncut sheets of the card set.



     As mentioned in an earlier post, lots of sets produced by Michael Schechter Associates (MSA) for various companies were also available in poster or sheet form as a mail-in offer.  If you weren't lucky enough to win one of the 100,000 posters, you could purchase one by sending in two non-winning game cards and $1 to Ralston Purina.  I have to assume there were separately identified contest cards for Cookie Crisp and Honey Graham Chex as there were uncut sheets branded for each.

1987 Cookie Crisp Limited Edition Collectors' Sheet
1987 Honey Graham Chex Limited Edition Collectors' Sheet
     As with all of the previous MSA uncut sheets, a variation of the card set was introduced as collectors began to chop up the sheets into individual cards.  The actual cards were printed on gray cardstock, similar to that used for the cereal boxes.  The posters were printed on a lighter, beige cardstock and were also missing the "1987 COLLECTORS' EDITION" wording on the left side of the crossed bats on front.  So, again, not a "RARE VARIATION", just a piece of a chopped-up poster.


     An interesting bit of text on the side of the box partially reveals the print run for this set.  The official rules for the promotion says of the prizes, "A total of 111,501 instant win prizes are available to be won in 3 million boxes of Cookie Crisp brand cereal."  It then goes on to list the prizes, totals and odds of winning.  As the cards were issued three per box, that means at least 9,000,000 cards were issued.  Assuming all cards were issued in equal numbers, that puts each card at a print run of no less than 600,000 cards.  The rules also mention that any unclaimed prizes would never be awarded, which invites the assumption that the unredeemed card sheets were eventually destroyed (assuming they didn't make it out the back door of the warehouse), so there are likely far fewer than the mentioned 100,000 sheets in circulation.  And that's just including the cards issued with Cookie Crisp.  I'll update the numbers if I can find a good scan of the side of a Chex box.

     Both sets and uncut sheets are still readily available for cheap on eBay, usually under $10.

25 May 2015

Hobby Archaeology: 1979-1983 Coral-Lee Postcards




     The semi-recognized nature of the 1979-83 Coral-Lee Postcard set has bugged me for awhile. Mainly what bothered me was the seemingly random ordering of the checklist by Beckett. Oddly, Beckett no longer includes this set in their database at Beckett.com.

Here is what the checklist looked like as of the 2004 Beckett Almanac:

1 Dave Lopes
2 Billy Martin MG
3 Willie Mays / Ronald Reagan PRES / Ed Stack
4 Pete Rose /issued in 1979
5 George Steinbrenner OWN / Billy Margin MG / Reggie Jackson / Thurman Munson
6 Fernando Valenzuela / Jose Lopes Portillo PRES / Nancy Reagan
7 Dave Winfield /UER Name spelled Windfield
8 Carl Yastrzemski / Jimmy Carter PRES
9 Bobby Grich /Card numbered as number 8 on back
10 Reggie Jackson
11 Joe Morgan /Phillies
17 Lou Piniella /Batting

     According to Beckett, they just listed the cards alphabetically, which is clearly not the case. After browsing around eBay for about 5 minutes, it also becomes clear that this is not a single set, but a mish-mash of multiple sets stuffed under a single heading. Coral-Lee Postcards were issued for a very wide variety of subjects, sports just being a minor component of that. However, judging from the backs of the cards above, all but three of them were part of a specific C/L Sports set that had their own numbering, while those three in question were from two other sets entirely. And it's odd that they actually numbered Piniella as #17 (the actual number on the card) instead of 12.

     The first Standard Catalog edition I own that recognizes the set is from 2005 and didn't make quite the hash of it as did Beckett. According to SCD, cards 14 and higher are all larger format 4"x 6" while all the rest measure 3.5"x 5.5". It could be the 'C' indicates the larger cards. The SCD checklist is missing cards 13 & 17, but still includes the two 'Reagan set' cards as #69 (Mays) and #81 (Valenzuela).

In an hour or so, I've reconstructed the C/L Sports checklist as follows:

1 Pete Rose (Phillies)
2 Davey Lopes (Dodgers)
3 Dave Winfield (Yankees)
4 Billy Martin (Oakland)
5 Billy Martin / George Steinbrenner / Thurman Munson / Reggie Jackson
6 Reggie Jackson (Angels)
7 Bruce Kison (Angels)
8 Bobby Grich (Angels)
9 Rod Carew (Angels)
10 Tommy John (Angels)
11 Dick Howser
12 George Brett
13 Brooks Robinson
14-C Cal Ripken Jr.
15-C Carl Yastrzemski
16-C Joe Morgan (Phillies)
17-C Lou Piniella (Yankees)
18-C Graig Nettles (Yankees)
19-C Lyle Alzado (Raiders)
20-C Dan Marino (Dolphins)
21-C Cliff Branch (Raiders)
22-C Don Shula / Dan Marino (Dolphins)
23-C Joe Theismann (Redskins)
24-C John Riggins (49ers)
25-C Jim Plunkett (Raiders)
26-C Marcus Allen (Raiders)
27-C Joe Montana (49ers)
28-C Joe Namath (Jets)


     I'm not sure if this is complete, but I have completely re-worked the baseball checklist in the Inventory Manager over at SportsCardForum.com. The presence of the later football cards makes it clear this was intended as a multi-sport set and not just baseball.

     Of the three oddball cards, the Willie Mays and Fernando Valenzuela cards actually belong to a larger set about Ronald Reagan. The Carl Yastrzemski postcard is listed as "CL-LTD. SER#100/57" and seems to come from a Jimmy Carter postcard set.

22 May 2015

Hobby Archaeology: 1980 Chicago Tribune Sox & Cubs Scrapbook

     As they did in 1977, in 1980 the Chicago Tribune again issued series of quarter-page sized photos of  players, along with a limited set of statistics for the players' entire career.  The series kicked off on 22 June and was set to run until 17 July, concluding with the teams' managers, but it actually didn't finish until 18 July.  Maybe they missed someone and inserted a new pair of players or simply miscounted the number of days.  In any case, the series ran for 27 days and covered 52 players and both managers.  The complete checklist is below.


22 June - Edward Farmer (Sox) / Bruce Sutter (Cubs)

23 June - Chet Lemon (Sox) / Jerry Martin (Cubs)

24 June - Michael Squires (Sox) / Bill Buckner (Cubs)

25 June - Bruce Kimm (Sox) / Barry Foote (Cubs)

26 June - Thad Bosley (Sox) / Scot Thompson (Cubs)

27 June - Lamar Johnson (Sox) / Dave Kingman (Cubs)

28 June - Robert Molinaro (Sox) / Mike Vail (Cubs)

29 June - Richard Dotson (Sox) / Dennis Lamp (Cubs)

30 June - Ken Kravec (Sox) / Doug Capilla (Cubs)

01 July - Kevin Bell (Sox) / Clifford Johnson (Cubs)

02 July - Wayne Nordhagen (Sox) / Ken Henderson (Cubs)

03 July - Richard Wortham (Sox) / Bill Caudill (Cubs)

04 July - Britt Burns (Sox) / Rick Reuschel (Cubs)

05 July - Steve Trout (Sox) / Mike Krukow (Cubs)

06 July - Greg Pryor (Sox) / Mike Tyson (Cubs)

07 July - Harold Baines (Sox) / Larry Biittner (Cubs)

08 July - Todd Cruz (Sox) / Mick Kelleher (Cubs)

09 July - Ross Baumgarten (Sox) / Lynn McGlothlen (Cubs)

10 July - Mike Proly (Sox) / Willie Hernandez (Cubs)

11 July - Lamarr Hoyt (Sox) / Steve Dillard (Cubs)

12 July - Ron Pruitt (Sox) / George Riley (Cubs)

13 July - Jim Morrison (Sox) / Ivan DeJesus (Cubs)

14 July - Guy Hoffman (Sox) / Dick Tidrow (Cubs)

15 July - Randy Johnson (Sox) / Tim Blackwell (Cubs)

16 July - Ricky Seilheimer (Sox) / Lenny Randle (Cubs)

17 July - Jesus Figueroa (Sox) / Preston (Mike) O'Berry (Cubs)

18 July - Tony LaRussa MGR (Sox) / Preston Gomez MGR (Cubs)


20 May 2015

Hobby Archaeology: 1963 Chicago Tribune Autograph Album

From the Chicago Tribune Archives


     In 1963, the Chicago Tribune ran a series of photo profiles on the Cubs and White Sox in the daily sports section which ran from 04 July to 04 August.  The series alternated Sox/Cubs players every other day and concluding with the teams' managers.  Each day a new player was presented with a facsimile autographed photo and a short biographical sketch of their accomplishments.   There was a small blurb on the front page of the July 4th issue announcing the series, saying they used the latest photos taken by Tribune cameramen.  Here is the checklist.

04 July Nelson Fox Chicago White Sox
05 July Ron Santo Chicago Cubs
06 July Floyd Robinson Chicago White Sox
07 July Ken Hubbs Chicago Cubs
08 July Juan Pizarro Chicago White Sox
09 July Larry Jackson Chicago Cubs
10 July Ray Herbert Chicago White Sox
11 July Dick Ellsworth Chicago Cubs
12 July Pete Ward Chicago White Sox
13 July Ernie Banks Chicago Cubs
14 July Ron Hansen Chicago White Sox
15 July Andy Rodgers Chicago Cubs
16 July Mike Hershberger Chicago White Sox
17 July Bob Buhl Chicago Cubs
18 July Camilo Carreon Chicago White Sox
19 July Richard Bertell Chicago Cubs
20 July Dave Nicholson Chicago White Sox
21 July Glen Hobbie Chicago Cubs
22 July Jim Landis Chicago White Sox
23 July Billy Williams Chicago Cubs
24 July Charlie Maxwell Chicago White Sox
25 July Lindy McDaniel Chicago Cubs
26 July J.C. Martin Chicago White Sox
27 July Lou Brock Chicago Cubs
28 July Hoyt Wilhelm Chicago White Sox
29 July Don Landrum Chicago Cubs
30 July Jim Brosnan Chicago White Sox
31 July Don Elston Chicago Cubs
01 August Gary Peters Chicago White Sox
02 August Paul Toth Chicago Cubs
03 August John Buzhardt Chicago White Sox
04 August Al Lopez / Bob Kennedy

15 May 2015

1986 Meadow Gold Dave Winfield

    One of the more frustrating aspects of being a player collector is chasing a card that, by all appearances, should be fairly easy to find yet ends up being one of the most elusive.  In 1986, Meadow Gold Dairy, a subsidiary of Beatrice Foods at the time, produced three series of baseball cards printed on the packaging of their various Double Play products.  The sets were produced in cooperation with MLBPA's main licensee, Michael Schecter Associates (MSA), so the logo-less photos are all familiar from other 1984-1986 MSA issues.  If you search eBay, you can usually find the boxes and wrappers for all of the 1986 Meadow Gold products.

     The first set issued came in packages of BubbleGum Coolers and Assorted Jr. Pops (basically popsicles and fudgesicles). The cards from this 20-card set came two cards to a box on a perforated strip, two cards folded around an offer card. These were what became known in the hobby as the "1986 Meadow Gold Stat Backs" because they feature biographical and statistical information on the backs of the cards.  These are by far the most common of the 1986 Meadow Gold issues.  Dave Winfield was paired with Pete Rose, but I haven't decided whether or not to pick up the intact cards, yet.


    The second set issued came printed on one of the end flaps of half gallon boxes of Double Play ice cream.  As anyone who grew up in the 1970s-1990s can tell you, those old rectangular boxes of ice cream were a real pain to scoop from, and when doing so, you almost always ended up getting ice cream all over the back of your scooping hand and all down the handle of the scoop.  Needless to say, the end flaps would be thoroughly coated in sticky, half-melted ice cream.  As a result, it should come as no surprise that this series is a little more difficult to find.  This 16-card set became most commonly known as the "1986 Meadow Gold Blank Back" set.  Not really surprising, given that the back of the card was part of the inside of an ice cream box.


    According to the 2004 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (I just don't feel like pulling a newer copy off the shelf at the moment), Willie McGee was reportedly the toughest player to find from the set, but it took me the better part of a decade to track down Winfield without having to purchase a complete set of boxes.  I was lucky enough to find two flat boxes, so I can cut the card off one, and keep the other intact.  Most of the cards in these two sets feature the same photos, but the Blank Back cards have the backgrounds replaced with an empty sky blue backdrop.  Most of the cards use the same photos for both sets, but the Winfield card uses the older image for the Stat Back (seen earliest on his 1983 Topps Glossy Send-In card) and the Blank Back uses a newer image (seen first on the 1985 General Mills MSA issue, and later on his All-Star card, #717 from the 1986 Topps base set).  This card effectively completes 1986 for my Dave Winfield collection.


    Winfield wasn't part of the third Meadow Gold set of 1986. It was printed as line art versions of the player photos from the other two sets, and was printed on the backs of milk cartons.  This set was limited to 11 cards and was less popular than the other two sets, being both messy and ugly.