Thursday, March 11, 2021

1972 Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches Uncut Sheet - Another Piece of the Puzzle

Here is a picture of what I believe to be a 1972 Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches uncut sheet:

The reason I believe it is from 1972 is that there are no Senators or Rangers patches, so this would most likely be from the season when the Washington Senators moved to Texas to become the Rangers:
 
This sheet comes from the same person who provided a picture of a framed uncut Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches sheet from 1974 which I profiled previously:
 

I dated that sheet as being from 1974 due to the lack of Padres patches as this would have most likely been from the year that they were planning to move to DC.

In comparing the 2 sheets, we can see that the Orioles replaced the Rangers on the 1972 sheet for both the logo patch as well as the cap patch. Presumably the Senators would have been in those positions on the earlier sheets.  The 1972 sheet also allows us to see the Padres, which were replaced on the 1974 sheet by a Yankees logo and a Cardinals cap patches, making those effectively double prints.

Other than these changes, the positions of the other teams all remain the same between the 2 sheets.  We can also see some of the logos that changed, such as the Indians logo and cap, the Braves cap (from a capital "A" to a lower case "a") and the Angels (from the lower case "a" in 1972 to the capital "A" in 1974.

I would like to thank the person who reached out to me and provided these pictures as they greatly enhance our understanding of these cloth patches and some of the changes that occurred over the years.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Amazing Topps 1967 Video Shows Boy On Top of Millions of Dollars Worth of 1967 Baseball Cases

If you haven't seen the 1967 Topps promotional video entitled "The Hidden Treasure", you are in for a treat.  Topps posted this on YouTube a few weeks back, and it is an amazing time capsule:

This is a fantastic look back at kids collecting baseball cards during 1967 as well as look at the new Topps factory in Durya, PA.
 
We get to see kids opening packs of 1967 Topps Baseball:
 
Looks like these are 1967 High Numbers based on the Don Clendenon (# 535)!
 
We see more high numbers in the packs his sister opened!
 
 
We see kids flipping their cards.  STOP!  Those are '67 High Numbers!!!!

 
What are the odds that one of those cards on the ground is a Seaver or a Carew rookie!

I also like the Topps poster in the widow behind the kid with the blond hair.  I have never seen that before.

The "story" of the "Hidden Treasure" is that the kid who is flipping cards loses all his cards to the "new" kid who for some reason has a diabolical laugh.  After losing his cards, and not being able to get any cards from his sister to use to win back some of the cards he lost, he goes fishing to "brood all alone", at which point he discovers a Treasure map:

 
The map directs him to the new Topps factory in Durya, PA which had started operations a few years before:
 
He plans to sneak in to the factory, and then when everyone goes home for the night, dig for the hidden treasure.

Once inside, he starts exploring, and comes across rolls of wrappers:
 
 
He starts playing with the equipment, including the machines that pack the baseball cards:

 
Here we see the gum getting added to be packaged with the cards as we now see a stick of gum on top:

 
The cards then get put into wrappers.  This is where things get confusing.  The video shows a roll of 1966 wrappers, so presumably this was footage that had been shot a year earlier:

 
We also see what appear to be 1966 packs coming off the assembly line:



 
Our treasure hunter then falls asleep and dreams of being caught by the factory workers and being turned into a baseball card.


 
Once again, we see a 1966 wrapper as the factory workers cover him up with a mock up of the 1966 design.
 
He doesn't realize it, but he has found the treasure and he is laying on top of it!  Those appear to be 1967 Topps Baseball cases.
 
Here is a picture of a 1967 Topps Baseball shipping case (right under the Football case).  Note the baseball player in the bottom left corner - these appear to be similar boxes:
 
 
They also share a similar design to the 1967 wax box:
 
 
There appear to be 4 rows of 9 cases, or 36 cases.  We see from the picture of the case that there are 24 was boxes in a case, so that would mean he is laying on top of 864 wax boxes!
  
I have no idea what an unopened box of 1967 Topps might go for (especially if these were the High Numbers that he was opening earlier), but just throwing some numbers together if you could get $12k per box, you are looking at over $10 million, and that is likely a low estimate!

He didn't need that shovel to dig for treasure!  All he needed was to take one of those forklifts and take the pallet of those 36 cases home!
 
The story ends with our treasure hunter getting punished by his parents for breaking into the factory (double the chores and no baseball cards) while his sister mocks him with more cards:


 
Its not really clear who the audience would have been for this film.  Presumably Topps was hoping it could be shown in schools, perhaps from the angle of showing how candy gets made and factories operate.
 
Here is the video so you can travel back to 1967 and see what it was like in the Topps factory:
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

False Advertising - 1979 Topps Football Sell Sheet

I saw this 1979 Topps Football sell sheet on ebay, and was quite surprised to see the Steelers logo on Terry Bradshaw's helmet. This flyer certainly gives the impression that the 1979 set would include team logos on the helmets based on the picture:

Alas, what we actually got was the same old airbrushed helmets that we had to endure for the entire decade as this is what we ended up with:

I'm guessing that Topps didn't bother to airbrush the sell sheet as that isn't a trading card, and they probably figured the NFL would not bother going after them over a sell sheet.

Here is a look at the other sports sell sheets from 1979:



Oh to have bought a few cases of each of these and just put them away for about 40 years!


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Play Ball! - Bob Laughlin Style

As we get ready for the most unique season in MLB history, I thought this would be a good time to show a Sporting News cover from 1967 that I recently came across featuring the artwork of Bob Laughlin with his representations for each team at the start of the season:


 Here is the full cover from the Feb 25, 1967 issue:

Card collectors will recognize Bob's work from his World Series sets that he initially produced himself in B&W

as well as the color World Series and other sets he did for Fleer and other self produced sets in the early to mid-70s:
In fact, in his initial ad for the World Series sets, he mentions doing the above cover for the Sporting News:
If you are interested in checking out The Sporting News archives, they are currently available through a subscription to newspaperarchive.com.  I bought a one month subscription and had a great time reading through articles from the 50's through the 80's.  The database is searchable, so if you want to search for articles on a particular player or team, you can quickly find the pages you are looking for.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Joys of Marking Off a Checklist in the Digital Age

As I've mentioned a few times on the blog, Wacky Packages were the first things I collected, and the checklists were what got me hooked on wanting to complee sets, which continues to be my collecting focus 40+ years later.



By putting checklists on the back of each puzzle piece, Topps was able to tempt me into buying more packs because I wanted to see what the other titles looked like and add them to my collection. Filling out the checklist, and getting those last few stickers to complete the set became an obsession. Each pack that yielded a sticker or two to fill in one of those checklist boxes was a thrill to open.

As it turns out, there was one Wacky series from the original run in the mid-70's that I never saw - the elusive 16th Series, which is the series listed on the above checklist.  The Series has a 1976 copyright, but apparently wasn't released until 1977, by which time the Wacky fad had run its course and died down.


New York Magazine on Wacky Packs Fad (October 1973)

Many collectors originally thought that Wackys ended with the 15th Series as the 16th Series was not widely distributed, which makes the 16th Series quite a challenge to collect today.

It wasn't until many of the titles from the 16th Series appeared in the 4 series of reissue sets from 1979 - 1980 that reprinted a number of the original Wackys that many collectors found out that the 15th Series had not been the last one once they started seeing a number of what appeared to be new stickers, but actually turned out to be reprints from a series most weren't familiar with..

After finally filling in the gaps I was missing in my collection of the 1st through 15th Series, I decided to start tackling the 16th Series, which is the Wacky equivalent to something like the 1967 Topps Baseball High Numbers.  This has been a quest that has been going on for a number of years.  Its not that the stickers are impossible to find, its just hard trying to find them at a price I am willing to pay.

Since part of my childhood memories are the fun of marking off the Wacky checklist when acquiring new stickers (not simply deleting something off a wantlist like I do now), I decided it would be fun to mark off the checklist to keep visual track of my progress, just like back in the day.

The issue is that these checklists aren't cheap. To give an idea of what checklists go for, this set of 9 checklists for a complete puzzle is currently listed on ebay for $499, or a little over $50 per card:

 
Since there was no way I was going to ruin one of my checklists, I came up with a solution using Microsoft Paint.

I took a scan of one of my unmarked checklists, and when I am able to add a new sticker to the collection, I simply pull up the scan, and fill in the box.  Its also very handy to have the picture of the checklist to keep track of the titles I am still looking for.

As I just picked up one of the stickers I've been looking for, its time to mark off another sticker!


Now that I've got Sign-X, I can mark another box off on the digital checklist while still keeping my actual checklist unmarked.


Its not quite the same as it would have been in 1977 marking off the physical checklist, but doing so digitally gets pretty close.  Its fun seeing the empty boxes slowly disappear.  Only 7 more to go!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Mike Boddicker Has A Great Sense of Humor!

Last Fall, I called out Topps on their mistake for using a picture of Mike Boddicker on Jim Palmer's Greatest Seasons card in the Update Series.

As a followup to that post, I wanted to share a picture that Bill sent me of the card where Mike displayed a great sense of humor by signing the card using Jim Palmer's nickname "Cakes":



Its great to see Mike taking this mistake in stride and having fun autographing a card where he is identified as Jim Palmer with a playful nod to the mistake.

As for the origin of the nickname, it is a result of Palmer's routine of eating pancakes on the day he was scheduled to pitch:

 

The fantastic "When Topps Had (Base)Balls!" site created an awesome Nicknames of the 70's card for Jim "Cakes" Palmer:


I'd like to thank Bill for sending along the picture of the card showing Mike having some fun with Topps' mistake.

Friday, May 15, 2020

1991 Bowman Variation Discovered - Obscured Budweiser Sign

In what appears to be an attempt to cover up alcohol advertising, I've come across a variation of the 1991 Bowman card # 174 for Scott Lusader where the Budweiser advertisement on the Tiger Stadium scoreboard has been partially whited out as you can see on the card on the right:



The interesting thing is that I found both of these versions in factory sets that I was recently going through.  I have no idea which version may be more scare.  As there is only 1 Lusader card on COMC right now (with the ad showing) I don't have a representative sample to make a guess if one is harder to find than the other.


When I came across these variations, it instantly reminded me of the the 1989 Fleer Randy Johnson card with the various attempts by Fleer obscure the Marlboro sign in the background.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Topps Carelessness Creates Collecting Dilemma

In looking at the cards that just came out in the Topps Update series, I found that there is a new Jim Palmer card to add to my player collection - or so I thought.  When I took a look at the picture of the card, I realized it wasn't Jim Palmer on the card:


Instead of Jim Palmer, we get a picture of Mike Boddicker. 

Really Topps?  I appreciate you trying to find a new picture rather than recycling the same few shots over and over again, but this is ridiculous.  Is there no quality control process to check to make sure the pictures are of the correct players, especially for a series recognizing a player's greatest season?

This isn't some minor league prospect we are talking about.  Jim Palmer is a Hall of Famer, and appears in a number of Topps sets each year, so you should have an idea of what he looks like.  His # 22 is retired by the Orioles, and Boddicker's uniform clearly shows a 5.   How this got missed is beyond me.

So here is my dilemma - should I even bother with adding this card to my Palmer collection?  It obviously isn't him.  If this were the only card, I'd probably say yes, just as a curiosity.  However, as with almost every Topps card these days, there are the dreaded parallels.  I see there are gold and blue parallels already listed on ebay, and I'm sure there are black, green, red, and 150th variations as well.

Since I do try to pick up the parallels (the unfortunate curse of being a completist), I find myself not even wanting this card, because then I've essentially committed myself to gathering up the parallels to go with it.   I've got the 150th Anniversary Greatest Players card of Palmer (and all of the parallels except red), but if I then put this card in the Jim Palmer binder, it will seem odd that 1) IT ISN'T EVEN HIM! and 2) unlike the other cards where I have the parallels, this one will look odd by itself.

I find myself disliking the card because of the fact that Topps obviously doesn't give a flip about producing quality cards.  When you don't have any competition, why bother to try hard.


So I'd like to ask the player collectors out there - if one of the players you collect ended up with a card picturing someone else, would you still feel it needs to go in your collection?  And if you also chase the parallels, would you try to track those down as well?

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Fleer Stickers That Never Were - USFL Edition

I came across a great item on Pinterest where someone designed USFL helmets in the style of the 1977 - 1980 Fleer Team Action stickers:


I also like that the creator (Gumball) uses the Fleer logo for their name.  Very nice touch.

I never saw a USFL game in person, but do remember watching some of them on TV.  Since I was not born when the AFL formed, and too young to remember the WFL, it was exciting to see the start of a new league.   Its a shame the league wasn't able to survive.

If you haven't seen the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary "Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL", I'd highly recommend you check it out.  Its a great look back at the league.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

"Merry Christmas In The NFL" - A Lost Christmas Classic

When I was back at my childhood home over Thanksgiving, I came across a few cassette tapes I had made as a kid where I had recorded songs off the radio from the late 70's and early 80's.    

As I was playing back the tapes, one of the songs I had recorded was a Christmas song I hadn't heard in probably over 35 years. 

The song is "Merry Christmas in the NFL", which was released in 1980.  It was recorded by Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia, who would have a hit a couple of years later with  "Pac-Man Fever".

The song is a parody of the poem The Night Before Christmas, but instead of Santa, it is Howard Cosell who comes bearing gifts. Instead of calling out the names of Santa's reindeer, he calls out NFL cities.  He brings a helmet, autographed pictures of cheerleaders, and highlight videos on Betamax!

If you'd like to take a listen, here is the lost Christmas classic:


Merry Christmas!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Getting Help With My 1967 Fleer Baseball Emblem Cards

Contributor to the blog John was kind enough to send me one of the hard to find 1967 Baseball Emblem cards that I need for my set:


You may recall that John provided scans of the cards from his collection which I shared in a post reviewing the 1967 Fleer Baseball Emblem Cards and Cloth Patches.  At the time he still needed 2 teams - the Senators and the Giants.

Fortunately John has been able to track down the 1967 Senators card since then,


which leaves only the Giants.

If anyone has a copy of the 1967 Fleer Baseball Emblems Giants card and would be interested in trading with John, please let me know and I will be glad to put you in touch.

John was also kind enough to send a few scans of the 1967 Fleer Baseball Emblems Cloth Patches from his collection:



I'd like to say thanks to John for sharing pictures of his collection and for his generosity in sending me the Braves card.