05 November 2012

1989 Topps/LJN Baseball Talk series

    In the late 1980s and early 1990s, companies were trying all kinds of ideas to draw in more customers.  About that time, LJN was a company fairly well known for electronic toys and video games.  For 1989, LJN teamed with Topps to produce this set of talking baseball cards.  Each oversized card featured a recording in the form of what amounted to a miniature vinyl record attached to the back.  Rather than go into any further detail, feel free to peruse the Wikipedia entry on the set and player.

     The in addition to the cards mentioned below, the player also came with an order form that would let you order more sets of cards at the full retail price of $5.95 (minimum 2 packs), which is a good 96¢ more than most actual stores charged.

There was this important notice card about the care and feeding of the player.

    Then there was the instruction booklet, optimistically titled "Series 1".  At roughly $25 for the player and $5 per pack of 4 or 5 cards, I think Topps and LJN greatly overestimated the willingness of anyone to actually drop that much coin to collect a full set.  As a result, it is no surprise that there was no second series.  The box the player came in also advises collectors to be on the lookout for an upcoming NFL series, and the side flaps also include the licensing logos for the NBA and NHL.  The inside of the instruction booklet included an introduction to the main narrators, Joe Torre, Don Drysdale and Mel Allen.

    Then, of course, the obligatory instructions on how to use the player and keep it in working order.  As mentioned in the Wikipedia article, the latter was not necessarily an easy task.  Having played with this thing for a few days now, I can understand why, especially if it was expected to be a child's toy.

    There is also a good description and more photos of the player at the THE INTERNET MUSEUM OF FLEXI/CARDBOARD/ODDITY RECORDS.

     Just before SanJoseFuji put up his post about this set, I happened to pick up a lot of these cards and the player on eBay after making a comment on Net54 about how someone ought to post all of these recordings to YouTube so the world could hear what they missed. These are the cards that were included with the player when it was available in stores.  Those cards are:

The checklist (which is an introduction to the set)
Henry Aaron 
Orel Hershiser
Don Mattingly

     I'll be posting recordings of all of the cards I own to this playlist on YouTube:


  1. I actually put this set together in 1990 by picking up the packs at ridiculously discounted prices at Toys'R'Us stores. I think they had slashed the prices to $1 a pack in their desire to move them out. Can't remember what I paid for the player - probably something like $5 to $10.

    I'm pretty sure that they were 4 cards to a pack.

  2. Great post... thanks for sharing the recordings!