10 June 2016

[Hobby Archaeology] 1978 Sports Photo Assoc(iation) 3-inch Pins

     Another area that is perhaps a bit neglected in the sports memorabilia hobby would be the various round, pin-backed badges produced by a variety of parties and issued though a multitude of avenues.  While some sets are very well documented, others just seem to coast along in an odd state of limbo.  One such set that is both very well known, yet very poorly documented would be the "1978" Sports Photo Association pins.  I put 1978 in quotes because, while almost all of the pins issued feature a 1978 copyright notice along the outer edge, the set clearly extended well beyond 1978.

     In addition to the set being extended across several years, there are also multiple sets that seem to overlap in that time period.  I will try to break them down as well as I can, with the relatively limited information I have, and try to put some order to the chaos.

    In 1978, the "Sports Photo Association" began issuing two sets of numbered pins, three inches in diameter, full color, and based on uncut sheets found on eBay, they two sets were printed together for at least part of the run.  One set featured contemporary players and managers, mostly featuring the individuals name, a facsimile signature and a small number.  The other set had "Baseball Hall of Fame" arching across the top, in a sort of gothic calligraphy, and featured the players name and a number beginning with 'HF' and showed a copyright of either 1978 or 1981.  The Hall of Fame set seems to have included 25 players as follows:

HF1Babe Ruth (1978)
HF2Lou Gehrig (1978)
HF3Jackie Robinson (1978)
HF4Hank Greenberg (1978)
HF5Lou Bourdeau (1978)
HF6Al Kaline (1978)
HF7Hank Aaron (1978)
HF8Yogi Berra (1978)
HF9Ernie Banks (1978)
HF10Eddie Mathews (1978)
HF11Whitey Ford (1978)
HF12Bob Feller (1978)
HF13Monte Irvin (1978)
HF14Roy Campanella (1978)
HF15Roberto Clemente (1978)
HF16Bob Lemon (1978)
HF17Sandy Koufax (1978)
HF18Willie Mays
HF19Bob Gibson (1981)
HF20Duke Snider
HF21Robin Roberts
HF22Joe DiMaggio (1981)
HF23Ted Williams
HF24Mickey Mantle (1981)
HF25Brooks Robinson

     The other main set was numbered from '1' to at least '363'.  The last two pins I've seen were of Pete Rose, and the second highest numbered was '344' and featured him in his Montreal Expos uniform  (these can be seen over at 4192cards.com).  Several players were included multiple times.  In some cases, as with Dave Winfield and Pete Rose, with different teams.  In other cases, players were included on multiple pins for the same team, including Reggie Jackson, Fred Lynn, George Brett and Johnny Bench.  The Fleer Sticker Project features an interesting post about this set as the pins were available as part of a promotion on 1981 Fleer wax wrappers.  The Sports Photo Association also seems to have beena resource for photos for Fleer for their inaugural sets.

1981 Fleer and Sports Photo Association Buttons

     Below is the checklist I have assembled so far (which will be updated as new pins are uncovered). Thus far, it covers 186 of the known 363 pins in the set:

1Ron Guidry (Yankees)
3Rich Gossage (Yankees)
4Thurman Munson (Yankees)
5Ed Figueroa (Yankees)
6Willie Randolph (Yankees)
8Billy Martin (Yankees)
9Reggie Jackson (Yankees)
10Lou Piniella (Yankees)
11Graig Nettles (Yankees)
16Bucky Dent (Yankees)
18Greg Luzinski (Phillies)
21Larry Christianson (Phillies)
22Larry Bowa (Phillies)
24Ron Reed (Phillies)
25Steve Carlton (Phillies)
26Tug McGraw (Phillies)
31Mike Schmidt (Phillies)
36Jim Rice (Red Sox)
39Carlton Fisk (Red Sox)
44Roy Smalley (Orioles)
45Fred Lynn (Red Sox)
47Carl Yastrzemski (Red Sox)
69Dave Parker (Pirates)
71Willie Stargell (Pirates)
81Rich Gossage (Yankees)
83George Brett (Royals)
84Bob Lemon (Yankees)
85Mike Flanagan (Orioles)
86Jim Palmer (Orioles)
87Eddie Murray (Orioles)
88Ken Singleton (Orioles)
89Frank Robinson (Orioles)
90Andre Thornton (Indians)
92Rick Manning (Indians)
93Rick Waits (Indians)
94Duane Kuiper (Indians)
96Dennis Leonard (Royals)
97Paul Splittorff (UER, Last Name Misspelled)
98Darrell Porter (Royals)
100Amos Otis (Royals)
102Al Hrabosky (Royals)
104Sparky Lyle (Rangers)
105Jim Sundberg (Rangers)
107Richie Zisk (Rangers)
108Al Oliver (Rangers)
109Jim Kern (Rangers)
110Buddy Bell (Rangers)
111Chet Lemon (White Sox)
112Don Kessinger (White Sox)
113Lamar Johnson (White Sox)
114Jorge Orta (White Sox)
116Dwight Evans (Red Sox)
117Dennis Eckersley (Red Sox)
118Larry Hisle (Brewers)
120Robin Yount (Brewers)
121Gorman Thomas (Brewers)
122Sixto Lezcano (Brewers)
123Ron LeFlore (Tigers)
124Mark Fidrych (Tigers)
125Jason Thompson (Tigers)
126Dave Rozema (Tigers)
127Rusty Staub (Tigers)
130Rick Cerone (Blue Jays)
133Frank Tanana (Angels)
134Bobby Grich (Angels)
135Don Baylor (Angels)
136Joe Rudi (Angels)
137Rod Carew (Angels)
138Matt Keough (Athletics)
140Dave Revering (Athletics)
142Butch Wynegar (Twins)
143Dave Goltz (Twins)
144Roy Smalley (Twins)
145Ruppert Jones UER (misspelled Ryppert, Mariners)
146Leon Roberts (Mariners)
147Bruce Bochte (Mariners)
148Dan Meyer (Mariners)
149Pete Rose (Phillies)
150Dave Kingman (Cubs)
151Bobby Murcer (Cubs)
153Bruce Sutter (Cubs)
154Ivan DeJesus (Cubs)
155Ted Simmons (Cardinals)
156Gary Templeton (Cardinals, no signature)
157Lou Brock (Cardinals)
158Bob Forsch (Cardinals)
159Ron Cey (Dodgers)
162Reggie Smith (Dodgers)
163Don Sutton (Dodgers)
164Tom Seaver (Reds)
165Johnny Bench (Reds)
166Joe Morgan (Reds)
167Dave Concepcion (Reds)
168George Foster (Reds)
169Ken Griffey (Reds)
170Phil Niekro (Braves)
171Jeff Burroughs (Braves)
172Gary Matthews (Braves)
173Biff Pocoroba (Braves)
174Bob Horner (Braves)
175Ross Grimsley (Expos)
176Gary Carter (Expos)
178Ellis Valentine (Expos)
180Vida Blue (Giants)
181Willie McCovey (Giants)
182Jack Clark (Giants)
183Gary Lavelle (Giants)
185Dave Winfield (Padres)
186Gaylord Perry (Padres)
187Rollie Fingers (Padres)
189J.R. Richard (Astros)
190Cesar Cedeno (Astros)
192Enos Cabell (Astros)
193Yogi Berra (Yankees)
194Bill Buckner (Cubs)
196Doug DeCinces (Orioles)
197Tommy John (Yankees)
198Steve Kemp (Tigers)
200Thurman Munson (Yankees)
200Thurman Munson (Yankees)
"The Captain 1947-1979"
201Craig Reynolds (Astros)
202Joe Niekro (Astros)
203Paul Molitor (Brewers)
204Scott Thompson
205Jerry Martin (Cubs)
206Ray Knight (Reds)
209Keith Hernandez (Cardinals)
211Brian Downing (Angels)
212Alan Bannister (White Sox)
213Ken Kravec (White Sox)
214Lance Parrish (Tigers)
215Willie Wilson (Royals)
218Rick Bosetti (Blue Jays)
221Lee Mazzilli (Mets)
222Fred Lynn (Red Sox)
223Carl Yastrzemski (Red Sox)
224Bucky Dent (Yankees)
225Rick Cerone (Yankees)
226Bobby Murcer (Yankees)
227Oscar Gamble (Yankees)
229Dale Berra (Pirates)
229Phil Garner (Pirates)
230Bill Madlock (Pirates)
231Omar Moreno (Pirates)
232Dave Collins (Reds)
233Johnny Bench (Reds)
234Junior Kennedy (Reds)
235Billy Martin (Athletics)
236Nolan Ryan (Astros)
238Cecil Cooper Brewers)
239Ben Oglivie (Brewers)
240George Brett (Royals)
241Joe Lefebvre (Yankees)
242Ruppert Jones (Yankees)
243Bobby Brown (Yankees)
244Jim Spencer (Yankees)
245Bob Watson (Yankees)
246Rudy May (Yankees)
250Rick Dempsey (Orioles)
251Maury Wills (Mariners)
253Mike Norris (A's)
254Rickey Henderson (A's)
257Jose Cruz (Astros)
258Jeff Reardon (Mets)
259Neil Allen (Mets)
260Alex Trevino (Mets)
261Len Barker (Indians)
266Dennis Eckersley (Red Sox)
267Jim Rice (Red Sox)
269Carlton Fisk (Red Sox)
270Manny Trillo (Phillies)
271Tug McGraw (Phillies)
273Bob Boone (Phillies)
274Larry Bowa (Phillies)
275Bake McBride (Phillies)
276Garry Maddox (Phillies)
277Dave Winfield (Yankees)
278Jerry Mumphrey (Yankees)
281Mookie Wilson (Mets)
283Hubie Brooks (Mets)
285Joel Youngblood (Mets)
287Reggie Jackson (Yankees)
289Dale Murphy (Braves)
295Fernando Valenzuela (Dodgers)
296Dave Winfield (Yankees)
304Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles)
324Bo Diaz (Phillies))
327Gary Matthews (Phillies)
330John Denny (Phillies)
335Don Mattingly (Yankees)
344Pete Rose (Expos)
363Pete Rose (Reds)

     To help confuse matters, unnumbered sets were issued for the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Pirates and Phillies.  These often feature the same photograph, but merely lack the small number on the front.  There were also a set of 4-inch pins issued for teams featuring multiple players.

SPA-1New York Yankees (1979)
SPA-2Los Angeles Dodgers (1979)
SPA-3Philadelphia Phillies (1979)
SPA-4Boston Red Sox (1979)
SPA-12Philadelphia Phillies (1982)
SPA-22Philadelphia Phillies (1983)

08 June 2016

Hensley Meulens International League Hall of Fame Induction

     Hensley Meulens spent parts of six seasons in the International League as a player, most notably 1988-1993 with the Columbus Clippers, and 1997 with the Ottawa Lynx.  Once his playing days were over, he returned as a hitting coach for the Indianapolis Indians from 2005-2008.   I don't take much time off work, but this week I made an exception and drove up to Columbus, Ohio, to witness the induction of Sir Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens into the International League Hall of Fame.  Below is my shaky cell phone video of the ceremony.

     It was a beautiful evening for baseball at Huntington Park, with a season-high crowd of 11,373 turning out for the event.  I guess some of them also showed up to see the Clippers face the Indians (not a good night for Ross Detwiler and the Clippers) or maybe for Sugardale Dime-A-Dog night (10 cent hot dogs!).  In any event, in honor of Sir Bam Bam, the team was giving away these canvas printed plaques covering his career with the Clippers:

     I had really hoped to get a chance to finally meet the man himself, but it just never happened, mostly because I got wrapped up in the game and didn't think to go hang out by the Hall of Fame plaque after the ceremony.  However, he did notice me!  I was sitting in the front row behind the plate, right by the Clippers dugout, wearing my Hensley Meulens San Francisco Giants 2010 World Series away jersey, and he saw me from the second level box where he was sitting with his family and sent this down to me:
     He did smile and wave to me when he came through the dugout onto the field.

     The I.L. Hall of Fame now occupies two of these plaques, so next year they will need to start on a third.  Out front of the stadium is a bronze statue of Harold Cooper, the business man who brought baseball back to Columbus after the Cardinals had moved the previous affiliate (the Columbus Red Birds) to Omaha following the 1954 season.  Cooper bought the International League team in Ottawa and relocated them to Columbus, establishing the Columbus Jets.  Fast Forward to 1970, and unable to work out a deal for improvements to their existing stadium the team was again sold and was moved to Charleston, West Virginia, and became the Charleston Charlies.  The Clippers began in Columbus in 1977, in the same stadium, and in 1984 it was officially renamed "Cooper Stadium".  Harold Cooper is in the upper left corner of the plaque below.  Hensley Meulens is in the lower right.

  Here is a closeup of 2016's inductees:

25 May 2016

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.  There were apparently separate contest for Cookie Crisp and for Honey Graham Chex as the prize enumerations are different on each box.  From the Cookie Crisp rules, 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.  From the Honey Graham Chex rules, the grand prize being a visit from "a baseball hero" to your school or a Little League game (meaning there were actually two chances at this). The other prizes were 100 Rawlings gloves; 200 personalized Louisville Slugger bats; 500 Rawlings baseballs and 25,000 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 125,000 posters, you could purchase one by sending in two non-winning game cards and $1 to Ralston Purina.  One has to wonder if the posters available for purchase came from the 125,000 instant win stash, or if there was a separate run of posters just for that.  I have to think it was all the same print run as I can't imagine Ralston Purina really thinking they would have to redeem 125,000 posters and still have people ordering more.

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 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.

[UPDATE - 25 May 2016]

     I finally found a Honey Graham Chex box and, as suspected, it had a smaller run than Cookie Crisp. The official rules for the promotion says of the prizes, "A total of 25,801  instant win prizes are available to be won in 1 million boxes of Honey Graham Chex 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 3,000,000 more cards were issued to cover the Chex production run.  Assuming all cards were issued in equal numbers, that puts each card at a print run of no less than 200,000 cards each.

    Combining the two products therefore gives us a total print run of actual cards as 800,000 per card and 125,000 posters.

     Both sets and uncut sheets are still readily available for cheap on eBay, usually under $10.  The checklist is as follows:

Card # Player Team
1 Nolan Ryan Houston Astros
2 Steve Garvey San Diego Padres
3 Wade Boggs Boston Red Sox
4 Dave Winfield New York Yankees
5 Don Mattingly New York Yankees
6 Don Sutton California Angels
7 Dave Parker Cincinnati Reds
8 Eddie Murray Baltimore Orioles
9 Gary Carter New York Mets
10 Roger Clemens Boston Red Sox
11 Fernando Valenzuela Los Angeles Dodgers
12 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
13 Ozzie Smith St. Louis Cardinals
14 Mike Schmidt Philadelphia Phillies
15 Ryne Sandberg Chicago Cubs

20 May 2016

More Team Issue Photo Card Goodness

     As I haven't really posted about these in while, I thought it was time to catch up with what the various MLB teams have been providing at the autograph lines at their annual fan fest events and in fan packs.  The lists here will be works in progress as I am able to find more to add.

Houston Astros

     For 2015, the Astros produced a very nice, clean design for their photo cards featuring a mix of current and former players.  Some cards have uniform numbers, some don't.  The back is mostly black with a phone number to call for Astros game tickets.
From The Quest for 660 blog
0 L.J. Hoes
6 Jake Marsnick
9 Marwin Gonzalez
11 Evan Gattis
12 Max Stassi
19 Robbie Grossman
21 John Singleton
27 Jose Altuve
28 John Singleton
37 Pat Neshek
66 Kevin Chapman
NNO Mark Appel
NNO A.J. Hinch
NNO Art Howe
NNO John Hudek
NNO Colin Moran
NNO J.R. Richard
NNO Asher Wojciechowski

      The Astros marketing folks spiced up the cards a bit for 2016, putting the players' names in an orange banner across the bottom of the card.

6 Jake Marsnick
12 Max Stassi
27 Jose Altuve
31 Colin McHugh
43 Lance McCullers
53 Ken Giles

Philadelphia Phillies

     The Phillies have been producing these 4"x 6" cards for years, usually as complete sets as stadium giveaways or for purchase at the merchandise stand.  As with most years, this set is fairly comprehensive, weighing in at 40 cards, including coaches.

2 Tyler Goeddel
3 David Lough
4 Andres Blanco
5 Steve Henderson (coach)
6 Ryan Howard
7 Maikel Franco
8 Juan Samuel (coach)
9 John McLaren (coach)
10 Larry Bowa (coach)
12 Mickey Morandini (coach)
13 Freddy Galvis
15 Emmanuel Burriss
16 Cesar Hernandez
17 Peter Bourjos
18 Darin Ruff
22 Bob McClure (coach)
24 Darnell Sweeney
25 Cody Asche
27 Aaron Nola
28 Vince Velasquez
29 Cameron Rupp
30 David Hernandez
33 Rick Kranitz (coach)
34 Brett Oberholtzer
37 Odubel Herrera
38 Andrew Bailey
39 Adam Morgan
40 James Russell
44 Edward Mujica
45 Pete Mackanin (manager)
46 Jeanmar Gomez
47 Charlie Morton
48 Jerad Eickhoff
51 Carlos Ruiz
53 Daniel Stumpf
57 Luis Garcia
58 Jeremy Hellickson
62 Bobby LaFramboise
94 Dalier Hinojosa
NNO Phillie Phanatic

Baltimore Orioles

    The Orioles also continue to issue a set of oversized 3.5"x 5" photo cards. The cards look nearly identical to the previous few years.

Pedro Alvarez
Brad Brach
Zack Britton
Dylan Bundy
Don Chiti
Scott Coolbaugh
Chris Davis
Bobby Dickerson
Ryan Flaherty
Yovani Gallardo
Kevin Gausman
Mychel Givens
J. J. Hardy
Ubaldo Jimenez
Adam Jones
Caleb Joseph
Hyun Soo Kim
Wayne Kirby
Manny Machado
Brian Matusz
T. J. McFarland
Darren O'Day
Jimmy Paredes
Nolan Reimold
Joey Rickard
John Russell
Jonathan Schoop
Buck Showalter
Chris Tillman
Mark Trumbo
Matt Wieters
Tyler Wilson
Vance Worley
Mike Wright

16 May 2016

1984 Greensboro Hornets Team Photo

   Once again, a chance eBay search strikes gold for one of my player collections.  I had no idea this existed, but I am now the proud owner of a 1984 Greensboro Hornets team photo, likely a stadium giveaway, sponsored by Goodys, makers of what are purported to be fine headache powders.  It measures 8"x 10" and is printed in color on thin, glossy paper.

    In 1984, Greensboro was a Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees in the South Atlantic League.  Of course, I picked this beauty up because a very young Roberto Kelly is featured in the second row, but as it happens, he is sitting right next to a young Cuban pitching prospect, one Osvaldo Canseco.

     There are a handful of other players in the photo that managed to reach the majors, to include Mitch Lyden, Brad Arnsberg, Bill Fulton and Mike Armstrong, and coach Bob Veale.  Also pictured, in the fourth row is current, beleaguered manager of the Atlanta Braves, Fredi Gonzalez, and in the second row, peaking over Ozzie cap is none other than Steve George.

"Steve who," you say?

Steve George!

This guy, masquerading as Al Leiter on a 1988 Topps card:

03 April 2016

Checklist Translations: 2008 TSC Sinon Bulls [In Progress]

      In 2008, for the second year TSC (Taiwan Sports Cards) issued a pack-based set for the Sinon Bulls.  The set featured 108 base cards, facsimile autographed parallels, and the usual smattering of autographs, photo cards (and memorabilia cards.  A subset, as card number 109, featured 200 different cards, each limited to 24 copies, dedicated to Tai-Shan Chang's 200 career home runs.

More details to come.

The set is described in this blog post:

The base set, parallels and examples of most of the inserts can be see here:

The standard base card front and back: