1985 MSA Thom McAn / JOX
JOX were a line of running shoe produced by Thom McAn.
For some reason, Beckett has long over-valued many of the discs in the set, and despite them being readily available for <$5 on eBay, they have neglected to adjust their pricing. For example, the Dave Winfield is still listed in the $20 range (and has been for a decade). I've owned three in the last 5 years and never paid more than $3. Yet because of the "book value" I've been able to sell them for $5 or more to people who still believe Beckett.
1985 MSA Subway
Despite how tough the JOX issue was to obtain in the pre-eBay era, the Subway disc is still every bit as elusive. I started a post about these awhile back, attempting to elicit the assistance of all of you in the hobby with assembling an accurate checklist for the set. The story goes that some Subway employee found the discs in a Subway warehouse in the Baltimore area and that they were never actually used with a promotion in the sandwich shops. The cards are basically identical to the JOX discs, but featured blank backs. To me, the blank backs sort of lend credence to the story as you would expect Subway to actually print some sort of advertising on them if they were actually going to use them in a promotion.
1985 KAS Potato Chips
1985 Kitty Clover
1986 Jiffy Pop Discs / Promos
In 1986, Jiffy Pop, the seller of stove top popcorn for the lazy, jumped into the MSA game and included baseball player discs. Dave Winfield was even used as the example shown on the packaging. Prior to the issue of the set, MSA distributed a mock-up version of the Jiffy Pop discs with information on the reverse about using these sort of inserts as ways to drive sales. Until this disc arrived among a lot I picked up on eBay, I didn't know this promo existed. Again, Beckett has neglected to complete their checklist, and they only include 8 players in the set they call "1986 MSA Discs Jiffy Pop Test". The Standard Catalog does include the full set, which mirrored the full 20-disc run of the regular set issued in 1986. Almost all the discs can be found on eBay on any given day.
The only reason I list this is because the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards has Dave Winfield listed in the set of 1986 jumbo discs that could be ordered from Sportflics. Packs of 1986 Sportflics cards came with offer inserts to order the discs. The only offer coupons I ever got were of Don Mattingly and Dwight Gooden, but SCD lists coupons for every player in their checklist of the set. I do not believe their checklist is accurate as I know of no one who has ever seen a jumbo Sportflics disc of Dave Winfield. My guess is that people confused this oversize 1985 7-Eleven disc (seen here next to the regular size 7-Eleven disc for scale) that was part of the in-store display with a Sportflics disc.
From 1987-1990, MSA took the easy path and just re-branded the same disc design for several of their licensees. These discs came in perforated sets of three discs; two players and an offer disc selling a facsimile autographed team ball from the team of your choice (for only $4.70 in 1987) and a poster version of the complete disc set (in exchange for 8 offer discs and 50 cents shipping & handling in 1987). As these are all strictly regional issues, some can be more difficult to find than others. For whatever reason, I had very little trouble finding any of the Winfields. I think the Weis disc took me the longest of the 1987s.
1987 Key Foods
1987 MSA Iced Tea (Baseball Super Stars)
1987 Our Own Tea
1987 Weis Winners / Weis Markets
1987 Topps Coins
Briefly breaking with the MSA trend, 1987 saw the beginning of something of a nostalgic kick at Topps. The base 1987 Topps set design was a call back to the popular wood-grain set of 1962. Another idea they brought back were these metal "coins", last seen as inserts in packs of cards in 1964. While they were purported to be popular with collectors, they were not issued again until 1971, and then nothing until 1987. While they were inserts in their earlier incarnations, in 1987 they were sold in packs of three. I only remember seeing them at Toys R Us and KayBee/Circus World in the mall or at at Jennings Collectibles in town. I never remember seeing Topps Coins in any less kid-oriented retail outlets.
When browsing eBay you might encounter items listed as uncut "proofs" for this set. These are actual cuts from a promotional uncut sheet that was distributed at a 1987 confectioners' convention organized by the National Association of Convenience Stores. I assume this sheet was intended to be used as an advertising piece and, while intact copies can be found on eBay, as with many similar items, many have subsequently been chopped to pieces to sell as square "proofs".
1988 Jiffy Pop
With other players rising to upper echelons of baseball superstardom, Winfield was left out of several 1988 MSA discs sets. With a 20 player checklist, I suppose that's understandable. So for most of these sets, it was out with Winfield, in with Puckett:
1988 Fantastic Sams
1988 Key Food
1988 King B
1988 Our Own Tea
Watch this space for Part 3!