25 February 2015

Inconsequential Variations (Part the Fourth): TCMA Collector's Kit Reprints

   In the late 1980s, it was fairly common to see a variety of "Baseball Card Collecting Kits" being sold in all manner of retail outlets.  I recall seeing them in bookstores, grocery stores, hobby shops as well as Wal Mart and KMart.  I believe the main three early companies to produce them were Hygrade, Treat and Collector's Marketing Corp. (CMC).  The typical kit would include a 3-ring binder (usually a 1-inch for cheaper kits, and 2-inch for "deluxe" kits), 20 or so 9-pocket plastic sheets, some penny sleeves, an guide on card collecting (usually containing a brief history of the hobby, glossary and a rough grading-guide) as well as a fairly random assortment of baseball cards to get you started.   These were usually some old Topps, Donruss and O-Pee-Chee cards, some reprints of well known candy and tobacco cards, some of the orange or green bordered Hygrade All-Time Greats cards and occasionally a small stack of cards from TCMA.

    The TCMA cards were themselves a wide assortment of various All-Time team cards and minor league issues from about 1978-1986.  While most of the cards in these kits were either obvious reprints or genuine commons from recent sets, the TCMA cards were almost entirely reprints produced specifically for this type of product.

     In most cases, the reprint TCMA cards might be virtually indistinguishable from the originally issued cards, but most of the minor league cards stand out. The main differences between TCMA's original minor league cards and the collecting kit reprints are in the card stock, presence of the MLB logo on the back and/or white borders on the front.

     In most cases, though, the hobby doesn't seem to take any notice of these reprints as something different from the original cards.  However, when picking up card lots containing TCMA cards, you can almost always tell where they originally came from due to the specific assortment of cards, as well as how much more common these cards are than the rest of their respective sets.  You can look up all of these cards on COMC.com and see the differences, but I have included links to COMC images in several cases.

    The following minor league cards are known TCMA reprints, and can easily be distinguished from the originals.  Most of the reprints feature an MLB logo on the back, but some reprints can be found without the logo indicating more than one print run of the overall reprint sheet.

1979 TCMA Tacoma Tugs Ron Hassey
1979 TCMA Tidewater Tides Kelvin Chapman

Reprints feature an MLB logo by the copyright line on the back.
1979 TCMA Minor League #361 - Ron Hassey - Courtesy of COMC.com 1979 TCMA Minor League #361 - Ron Hassey - Courtesy of COMC.com    

1980 Waterbury Reds Tom Foley
1980 Columbus Astros Matt Galante

    Originals feature red border on front and blue ink on the back.  Reprints have a thin white border around the red on the front, and black ink on the back.

1980 TCMA Minor League #745 - Tom Foley - Courtesy of COMC.com

1981 TCMA Wisconsin Rapids Twins #15/0576 Michael Cole
1981 TCMA Wausau Timbers #26/0558 Ivan Calderon

     Reprints feature an MLB logo by the copyright line on the back.

1983 TCMA Redwood Pioneers Kirk McCaskill
1983 TCMA Salt Lake City Gulls Spike Owen

     Many of the original 1983 minor league sets were printed on brown/gray card stock.  The reprints are printed on white card stock and feature an MLB logo on the back.

1984 TCMA Richmond Braves #2 Rufino Linares
1984 TCMA Cedar Rapids Reds #17 Kurt Stillwell

     Originals feature a green border and use both blue and black ink on the back.  Reprints have a thin white border around the green on the front and use only black on the back.
1984 TCMA Minor League #2 - Rufino Linares - Courtesy of COMC.com 1984 TCMA Minor League #2 - Rufino Linares - Courtesy of COMC.com
1984 TCMA Minor League #2 - Rufino Linares - Courtesy of COMC.com 1984 TCMA Minor League #2 - Rufino Linares - Courtesy of COMC.com

1985 TCMA Durham Bulls Paul Assenmacher
1985 TCMA Syracuse Chiefs  Tom Filer

     Originals feature an almost turquoise blue border on front and the TCMA block on the reverse is white on blue background.  Reprints have a thin white border around the front and use a much lighter blue, and use only black ink on the back.

1985 TCMA Minor League #282 - Paul Assenmacher - Courtesy of COMC.com 1985 TCMA Minor League #282 - Paul Assenmacher - Courtesy of COMC.com
1985 TCMA Minor League #282 - Paul Assenmacher - Courtesy of COMC.com 1985 TCMA Minor League #282 - Paul Assenmacher - Courtesy of COMC.com

1986 TCMA Albany-Colonie Yankees Darren Reed
1986 TCMA Jackson Mets Mike Santiago
1986 TCMA Omaha Royals Dave Schuler

   Originals feature the TCMA block on the reverse with white letters on green background.  Reprints use only black ink on the reverse.

1986 TCMA Minor League #50 - Darren Reed - Courtesy of COMC.com 1986 TCMA Minor League #50 - Darren Reed - Courtesy of COMC.com


The other more commonly reprinted cards that turn up in these collections are the following from earlier TCMA team sets:

1979 TCMA 1927 New York Yankees Miller Huggins
1979 TCMA 1927 New York Yankees Bob Meusel

     The original has a black border design and a sepia tone photo.  The reprint card features a gold border design and a black & white photo and exist both with and without an MLB logo by the copyright line.
1979 TCMA 1927 New York Yankees #28 - Miller Huggins - Courtesy of COMC.com 1979 TCMA 1927 New York Yankees #28 - Miller Huggins - Courtesy of COMC.com
1979 TCMA 1927 New York Yankees #28 - Miller Huggins - Courtesy of COMC.com 1979 TCMA 1927 New York Yankees #28 - Miller Huggins - Courtesy of COMC.com

1978 TCMA The 1960's #0011 Roger Maris
1978 TCMA The 1960's #0022 Ron Santo

     This set apparently had at least two original print runs, one using green ink on the reverse, and one using black.  The reprints feature black ink and an MLB logo by the copyright line on the back.

1979 TCMA The 1950's #43 Dodger Power
1979 TCMA The 1950's #63 Chuck Tanner
1979 TCMA The 1950's #134 Herb Score
1979 TCMA The 1950's #173 Marv Throneberry
1979 TCMA The 1950's #216 Rocky Colavito
1979 TCMA The 1950's #228 Don Zimmer

     Reprints feature an MLB logo by the copyright line on the back.

1979 TCMA Japanese Pro Baseball Dave Hilton
1979 TCMA Japanese Pro Baseball Vernon Law

    Reprints feature an MLB logo on the back under the league flag emblem.

1979 TCMA Japanese Pro Baseball #17 - Vern Law - Courtesy of COMC.com 1979 TCMA Japanese Pro Baseball #17 - Vern Law - Courtesy of COMC.com


1980 TCMA 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers World Champions #029 Johnny Podres

    On this particular, the original version has a color photo on front.  The reprint has a black & white photo.  There may be two reprint versions, as COMC also has a color copy, but with the MLB logo on the back.

1981 TCMA The 1960's #363 Duke Snider
1981 TCMA The 1960's #402 Billy Williams

     Reprints feature an MLB logo on the back.

1981 TCMA 1959 Go-Go White Sox #2 Nellie Fox (reprints feature the color photo)
1981 TCMA 1959 Go-Go White Sox #3 Luis Aparicio

     There are at least three different versions of the Aparicio (different photos, different borders), but the reprints feature an MLB logo on the back.

1982 TCMA Baseball's Greatest Hitters #12 Mickey Vernon
1982 TCMA Baseball's Greatest Sluggers #10 Frank Howard
1982 TCMA Baseball's Greatest Sluggers #12 Frank Robinson

     Reprints feature an MLB logo on the back.  It is possible this whole set was reprinted, but these seem to turn up the most.

1983 TCMA 1942 Play Ball #2 Joe DiMaggio
1983 TCMA 1942 Play Ball #32 Mel Ott
1983 TCMA 1942 Play Ball #42 Casey Stengel
1983 TCMA 1943 Play Ball #30 Whitlow Wyatt
1983 TCMA 1945 Play Ball #17 Ed Lopat
1983 TCMA All-Time Pirates #11 Elroy Face
1983 TCMA All-Time Cardinals #8 Bob Gibson
1983 TCMA 1942-46 St. Louis Cardinals #17 Enos Slaughter

     Reprints feature an MLB logo on the back.

1984 TCMA 1946 Play Ball #7 Phil Rizzuto

     Reprints feature an MLB logo on the back.

1985 TCMA Most Valuable Player National League Roberto Clemente
1985 TCMA Rookie of the Year Thurman Munson

     Original sets came on a perforated sheet with a blue back.  Reprints have a red back with MLB logo and sharp edges.

1985 TCMA Most Valuable Player National League #N/A - Roberto Clemente - Courtesy of COMC.com 1985 TCMA Most Valuable Player National League #N/A - Roberto Clemente - Courtesy of COMC.com

1986 TCMA All-Time Indians Joe Jackson
1986 TCMA All-Time Jimmie Foxx 
1986 TCMA All-Time Twins Jim Kaat
1986 TCMA All-Time Brewers Harvey Kuenn
1986 TCMA All-Time Pirates Ralph Kiner
1986 TCMA All-Time A's Jim "Catfish" Hunter
1986 TCMA All-Time Rangers Jon Matlack
1986 TCMA All-Time Expos Rusty Staub
1986 TCMA All-Time Expos Jim Fanning
1986 TCMA All-Time Angels Rick Reichardt
1986 TCMA All-Time Orioles Jim Palmer
1986 TCMA All-Time Braves Tommy Holmes
1986 TCMA All-Time Mariners Dan Meyer
1986 TCMA All-Time Astros Bill Virdon
1986 TCMA All-Time Mets Bud Harrelson
1986 TCMA All-Time Reds Johnny Bench (black & white photo)
1986 TCMA All-Time Phillies Chuck Klein

     These are tough to call "reprints" as the set was practically new when it was reprinted.  In any case all of the above cards can be found with and without the MLB logo on the back.

1987 TCMA 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers Pee Wee Reese / Jim Gilliam
1987 TCMA 1950 Philadelphia Phillies Del Ennis
1987 TCMA 1969 New York Mets Cleon Jones / Tommie Agee / Ron Swoboda

     Similar to the All-Time team cards, the only difference on these three cards is the presence or absence of the MLB logo on the back.

1981 Detroit News Norm Cash #73

2 comments:

  1. Great information, thank you for all your work on this! It never occurred to me that TCMA would reprint cards, but I can't say that I'm truly surprised.

    I'm a Kirk McCaskill collector and I picked up a 1983 Redwoods Pioneers McCaskill not long ago. I can't put my hands on it right now, but I would bet that it's one of these reprints.

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  2. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my 1979 Law and Hilton cards are the originals and not reprints. Thanks for clearing that up!

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