Sunday, November 23, 2014

Awesome night card, pt. 226: commonplace


A significant part of the charm of night cards from the mid-1980s and earlier is that there simply aren't many of them.

Every night card from back then was and is a discovery. It's why I gravitated to them in the first place. While collecting them as a youngster, they stood out as a novelty. And through my love for everything dark and neon, a collection was born.

For instance, this 1984 Topps Traded card of Tim Stoddard is one of the few night cards in all of '84 Topps. There are just a handful. Andre Robertson and Rick Cerone from the flagship set spring to mind. There can't be many more than that.

But today? You can't turn around without falling over a night card in a current set.

Whatever your collecting desire, there is a night card for that occasion:


Home plate celebrations? Check.



Return to home plate celebrations? Check.



Return to the dugout celebrations? Check.



Pitchers bunting? Check.



Pitchers blasting off? Check.



Bat flips? Check.



Double play turns? Check.



Rundowns? Check.



Plays at the plate? Check.



Mob scenes at the mound? Check.


You can even get your favorite player in whatever uniform you desire:

love the ladies chilling at top left.

Padres



Red Sox



And Dodgers


There are also plenty of night cards for all the other occasions that I didn't mention.

In some ways, it's sad, because the novelty aspect of the night card is gone. It makes them a little less special.

But at the same time, you can fill up a binder full of them a lot more quickly.

So let's fill that binder up some more.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Night card binder candidate: Tim Stoddard, 1984 Topps Traded, #112
Does it make the binder?: No. (Need it for the set).

Night card binder candidate: Jay Bruce, 2011 Topps, #191
Does it make the binder?: Yes

Night card binder candidate: David Freese, World Series Game 6, 2012 Topps, #291
Does it make the binder?: Yes

Night card binder candidate: Lucas Duda, 2012 Topps, #128
Does it make the binder?: Yes

Night card binder candidate: Ian Snell, 2009 Upper Deck, #304
Does it make the binder?: Yes

Night card binder candidate: Tim Hudson, 2012 Topps, #58
Does it make the binder?: Yes

Night card binder candidate: Akinori Iwamura, 2010 Topps, #256
Does it make the binder?: No

Night card binder candidate: Erick Aybar, 2012 Topps Opening Day, #140
Does it make the binder?: Yes

Night card binder candidate: Sean Casey/Placido Polanco, 2007 Topps, #653
Does it make the binder?: It's already in as a previous ANC topic.

Night card binder candidate: Ryan Doumit, 2010 Topps, #317
Does it make the binder?: No. It can't top this double-sided night card.

Night card binder candidate: St. Louis Cardinals, World Series Game 6, 2012 Topps, #233
Does it make the binder?:  Yes

Night card binder candidate: Adrian Gonzalez, All-Star, 2010 Topps Update, #240
Does it make the binder?: Yes.

Night card binder candidate: Adrian Gonzalez, 2011 Topps Marquee, #68
Does it make the binder?: Yes

Night card binder candidate: Adrian Gonzalez, 2014 Topps, #204
Does it make the binder?: Nope. Pokey Reese's Heritage card from 2002 is too cool.

Well, I got nine more entries into the night card binder. Commonplace has its advantages.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blank space


The first time I ever saw a blank-backed card -- that is, one that wasn't supposed to have a blank back -- was in 1987.

I was buying rack packs of '87 Topps here and there, usually after classes, driving off campus and on my way to my grandmother's. It was then that I pulled a blank-backed card of Tom Nieto.


Instead of saying "who the hell is this?", because after all it was Tom Nieto, I said "what the hell is?" because the back was blank.

I didn't like it. I was deprived of the stats and factoids that make a card complete. It was especially important because I had no idea who Tom Nieto was and I wanted to learn. I had half a card here! I was promised a FULL card!

Later -- and I can't remember if it was in the same rack pack or in a different one -- I pulled another blank back. It was another Montreal Expo named Tom.


 

Tom Foley was half a card.

I was flustered. For years, I wanted to pull another '87 Tom Nieto and Tom Foley so I could have a complete version of each of their cards. Of course, I wasn't so obsessed that I had to track one down. But when I finally did pull a second Tom Foley out of a repack years and years later, I celebrated.


Those are the two '87 Tom Foleys in my collection.


One is blank and one has all of the usual goodies. I went all that time without knowing that Foley threw left-handed as a quarterback in high school, yet was a right-handed second baseman in the majors.

I've yet to acquire a complete '87 Tom Nieto card (or even bother to buy one for the 10 cents it might cost me) and so I still don't know much about him.

But in that time, blank backs have become more of an interest than a nuisance. The blank-back Foley card, which may have been discarded if I found a complete-backed Foley card back in '87, now sits next to the regular Foley with the rest of my '87s.

Blank backs, as you know, have been around for a long time. The '87 set seemed particularly plagued by them. Often they are nothing more than a printing error that escapes into packs. Less frequently (and more expensively), they are proof cards and coveted by some collectors. And if you want to pay some bucks, go on the Topps Vault site and there are blank backs that want your money.

But I was able to find a handful of blank backs through a recent quick trade with Nolan.

Nolan sent me a few Dodgers and also he sent these:


Looks like three Dodgers and an ex-Dodger from 1977 doesn't it?

Well, you're half right.


It's three blank-backed Dodgers and an ex-Dodger from 1977!

Pretty cool and especially cool since the Rodriguez card was the first Dodger card I pulled back in 1977.

Nolan said he received a bunch of blank backs from an Ebay seller a while back. Probably until I got these I thought of blank backs in packs as an '80s phenomenon. But I guess not.

This is one of those variations that I have no desire to chase. But it's a fun little complement to my Dodger collection.

And, yeah, still looking for a regular-backed Tom Nieto.

(OK, now for those of you who came here because you thought this post was going to be about Taylor Swift going psychotic, here you go. The only kind of drama around here is cardboard drama).

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mystery


This is a pack of baseball cards.

Say what you want about the state of baseball-card collecting today, and I have, but this pack possesses something that is lacking these days:

Mystery.

We go out of our way to eliminate mystery from our lives. Think about it. Those of you who are old enough probably remember when radio was the only option. If there was a song you really liked, you either saved up enough money to buy the record or you waited until you heard it on the radio. But you could wait a reeaaaallllly long time. Through a whole bunch of songs you didn't want to hear. And through commercials, too. But when the song finally arrived -- days later sometimes -- it was glorious.

There was mystery. You had no idea when you would hear it again.

Today, we simply download the song online or use whatever device we have to skip past everything we don't want in order to get to what we do want.

We do the same with cards. A lot of us are all about the singles and the guys in our collection. So we dispense with pack purchasing and box busting to buy exactly what we want for exactly the price we want.

It's very efficient. We are very, very efficient people these days. Much more efficient than 20, 30, 40 years ago.

But in the quest for efficiency sometimes we eliminate mystery.

I know, I know. "Mystery" is an antiquated notion to some people. It's romanticism. It's not very realistic or practical. You can't quantify "mystery" with a formula or rate it or turn it into a percentage.

Yet, there are people -- people like me -- who keep coming back ... to mystery.

That's why the baseball card shelves feature cards enclosed in packs or in boxes. Mystery, or in this case "enticement", is how they win the sale. And for those of us who still like a little mystery in our lives, we're suckers for a wrapped pack.

So I bought one of them today, to live out a little mystery.

Sure I know what 2014 Topps Update is all about. I've purchased it and seen it and written about the cards. But I haven't bought a pack of it in this form -- a loose pack. I haven't bought this pack before. It's new. It's unknown. It's mystery.

I'm going to open this pack, featuring the blood red clouds floating behind Masahiro Tanaka, right now while the mystery still exists. No time to digest the pack. No opening it and then running errands for four hours. I'll open it and give my immediate thoughts as each card unveils itself to me.

The pack of 12 cards:


#329 - Todd Frazier, Reds, All-Star

I'm showing the last card first because I accidentally spotted it as I was opening the pack and mystery is very key here.

Immediate thought: I don't like seeing people swing a bat when they aren't wearing a cap. I can't help it. I won't apologize for it. I don't like it.


#127 - David Phelps, Yankees

Immediate thought: Crap, a Yankee. It's going to be one of those packs.


#251 - Ike Davis, Pirates

Immediate thought: 4 does not go into 15.


#3 - Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners

Immediate thought: I cannot trade Mariners cards to anyone.

Also:


That has to be the record for the most "did not play"s to appear on a baseball card. Also, where is 2009?



#134 - Tony Cruz, Cardinals

Immediate thought: (*while scanning*) Ack! I spotted red on the back of the card! I hope it's not a Cardinal!

By the way, 1989-95 was a dark period in major league baseball -- not one Cruz was playing. Other than that period, since 1973 there has been at least one Cruz in the majors.


#168 - Austin Jackson, Mariners

Immediate thought: More Mariners.

 

#145 - A.J. Pierzynski, Cardinals

Immediate thought: I have this card already. No mystery here.



#160 - Delmon Young, Orioles, gold parallel

Immediate thought: Great, I just traded with an Orioles collector.


#230 - Kurt Suzuki, Twins

Immediate thought: The same thing I always think when I pull a horizontal card: I wish just one year Topps would make its entire flagship set horizontal. Sure it would irk some collectors. But they're going to be irked anyway. I mean look at that thing! I'd buy that set.


#229 - Sam Fuld, A's

Immediate thought: See? Come on, man, that's a cool shot! Horizontal the whole thing!



#239 - Jose Abreu, White Sox, all-star

Immediate thought: "The all-star cards are here, the pack is over."

But actually that's a decent card. Too bad the Ford logo is battling for prominence with Abreu's red White Sox cap.


#277 - Chris Sale, White Sox, all-star

Immediate thought: "Dear god, those caps."

And just like that, the mystery is over.

Mystery is fleeting. You hear the song, finally. And you replace mystery with discovery, knowledge, familiarity.

All good traits in their own right.

Until you need a little mystery in your life again.

And that's when those packs in the card aisle will start looking good to you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

C.A.: 1991 Line Drive Carlos Garcia

(Welcome all to National Absurdity Day, celebrated every November 20th. I can't think of anything more absurd than the kids in town already using up two snow days before December hits. It's bundle-up-with-your-baseball-cards weather! Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 216th in a series):


I miss Buffalo.

I get sideways looks when I say that in front of people who have never lived there. But the ones who have ... and have left ... and have spent years figuring out a way to get back ... know what I mean.

Buffalo is more than snow and hapless sports teams. It's the location for some of the greatest times of my life. Of a lot of people's lives.

That's why I got a little sad when I saw the regurgitation of epic Buffalo snow photos across the internet accompanied by this tag line: "be glad you don't live in Buffalo."

This was written by someone who obviously never spent more than an airport layover in the city (which, by the way, isn't Buffalo, it's Cheektowaga). Because the tag line should have read: "be sorry you don't live in Buffalo."

First, let's address the snow thing. Yes, copious amounts of snow fell in a short time, more snow than life-long Buffalonians have ever witnessed -- and that includes the Blizzard of '77 -- including my sister-in-law who has lived there all her life. But as many people don't realize, the snow didn't really hit Buffalo proper. If you live "in Buffalo" chances are you got maybe a few inches. That's it.

You've seen the pictures. Lake effect snow is very selective in where it lands. One town gets four feet. The next town over gets four inches. This is not an exaggeration. So, if you lived in most of Buffalo, or the northern suburbs, or the western suburbs, you didn't get any amount of snow that would ever make the national news. A foot at the most. (The Bills' Stadium is in South Buffalo, which always gets hammered with lake effect).

But you've seen the memes: "Come for the chicken wings, stay because you can't find your car." Well, I could drive into Buffalo tomorrow, get some chicken wings, drive out and not even see any lake effect snow.

But that's incidental stuff. Because the point is, it doesn't matter how much it snows in Buffalo or the surrounding area. If someone offered me a job in the city in my field of expertise right now, I'd say yes without hesitation.

Buffalo is "home" to a lot of people who don't live there anymore. I don't know if I can explain why that is in any way that doesn't make it sound like I'm simply homesick. But it's more than that. Buffalo has always been a small town in a big town's body. Sure the city has had a lot of tough luck in the last 40 years, but that hasn't affected the people. I've never met more genuinely likeable people in my life than in that town. And I've never had a better time. The folks who are covering the storm far from Buffalo do get it right when they say the city's residents are "good-natured." They are good-natured. There needs to be more good-natured people.

I didn't grow up in Buffalo but I went to college there. A lot of my family is from Buffalo and some of them still live there. After I graduated, I tried to find ways to get a full-time job in the area. But newspaper jobs aren't as plentiful as jobs in many other industries, so I found a job farther away and then I spent years trying to get back to Buffalo.

Eventually, I gave up. I had to start a life in the place where I was and not half-live in another town. So that's what I did. But I still miss it. The bars. The sports. The culture. The attractions. The food. The feeling that you will never stop having something to do, but not be overwhelmed by it, as I am when I visit larger cities.

Today, I know many former Buffalo residents who live where I do now or who live in much warmer places, like Florida and California, who can't get enough of Buffalo. They have to see what's going on in the area. They want to know what's on the news on WKBW or WIVB. They're desperate for the food you can only get in Buffalo. In fact, I have some Ted's hot sauce in my refrigerator right now.

And, so, if you've stuck with me for this long, you're wondering what this has to do with cards.



Again, not much, except for the fact that when I find a card of a Buffalo Bison, I make sure I keep it in my collection. The same with the Buffalo Bills or the Buffalo Sabres. I don't necessarily collect them, but they all have more meaning than your average card.

Yeah, Buffalo is where I covered my first baseball game and first football game. It's where I met my wife and formed lifetime relationships. But honestly it's more than that and no amount of snow would ever make me sorry I lived there.

A couple of days ago I became friends with an old girlfriend on Facebook. It was a brief relationship and we lost touch while we were still going to the same college in Buffalo. I had no idea if she even graduated from the college. This was my first time connecting with her since then.

The first post that I saw on her wall?

"I will forever and always love Buffalo. Miss it lots."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Drawing the line at 1993


As a team collector, I've already written off current sets as something I can complete. There's no way I will get all of the Dodgers from sets that are issued today. It's a parallel-insert-SP insanity world, and until it all blows up, I will never be able to cross off the last card and exclaim "DONE!"

It's been that way for a number of years now, which is why team collectors make little deals with themselves -- "OK, I'll collect the whole non-parallel set and I'll be finished" -- to keep from going broke and insane.

I have no hope of finishing off the Dodger team sets from probably the last 20 years. I'm not going to even try. Oh, sure, I'll act like I'm trying by obtaining all the cards I can from the mid-1990s through the present, but really, I'm not trying. Ignore that happy tune that I'm singing. The lyrics are dark, dark.

For real hope of completing team sets, I have to go to the cards of my childhood, some of the sets preceding my childhood, and, yes, junk wax sets.

The junk wax era, which I define as 1987 to 1993, is what I consider the last hope for team collectors. Therein lies sets that you can actually complete. Sure, there were parallels and inserts issued during that time, but they weren't issued at a soul-crushing pace.

Maybe I'm overly hopeful about my junk wax mission, but I won't be happy until I've crossed off every Dodger team set (except maybe for that mammoth Target one) from between 1987 and 1993.

It just seems doable. While the sets issued after '93 seem impossible.

So when I get a card like the 1992 Studio Heritage Series Darryl Strawberry from The Junior Junkie, that's worth a celebration. I feel like real progress has been made instead of just another drop in the bucket.

I like this card. I think this is what the first Studio sets should have been. The matinee idol-Olin Mills shots have always made me squeamish and also established a precedent for some of the most horrific cards of the 1990s. But sticking with a baseball uniform, a retro uni from 1944, is something I can collect.

And you should have seen how happily I deleted the words and numbers off my want list. More junk wax needs, out of my life.

Most of the other cards that the Junior Junkie set were from 2014 -- you know, that year for which I can't even complete a base set, let alone get worried about parallels and SPs.

Here they are:


One of the finest looking sets of the year. Finest is really living up to its name this time. But it's a set filled with parallels. I will never be able to complete the team set.


My first look at this year's Bowman Chrome. This is also chock full of parallels. I've never been interested in BoChro or could figure out why it's relevant, but at least this year they did this:



The stats are in graphic form. That gives Bowman Chrome a reason for being. Well ... at least my interest was captured for a couple of minutes.



Not a card from this year, obviously. It's a 2001 Private Stock jersey card of Todd Hundley.

It's my first "hit" of Hundley's and recalls the unpopular blue "alternate jerseys" that the Dodgers wore back then. It's kind of funny how collectors want color in their jersey swatches, but a lot of fans still want to see their team wearing white at home and gray on the road.

So, anyway, the highlight of this package was the Strawberry.

I'm sure I'm not being realistic about getting all the Dodgers from the junk wax era. A five-minute tour through my want list would probably kill the dream forever.

But for now, I'm coming for you, 1987-93.

Just the Dodgers now. Don't be sending me any 1990 Donruss.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tony was right


Almost two months ago, The Angels In Order posted that he had completed the entire run of Angels cards in Kellogg's 3-D sets. I don't know how he could have known that I was attempting the same thing for the Dodgers at that very moment, but he mentioned me in that post and the fact that I was trying to do just that.

Several weeks later, I finally pulled the plug on the last few Kellogg's Dodgers cards that I needed and I now have all of the Dodgers from the Kellogg's sets from 1970-83.

This is fantastic news.

To me, this is the king of "oddballs," those 3-D cards that I pulled out of boxes of Frosted Flakes and ordered through the mail off the side of those boxes during the 1970s. In fact, I don't even consider them oddballs. Back then, they were an alternative to Topps. The only alternative. There were Topps cards you bought in packs from the drug store or the corner store and there were Kellogg's cards you fished out of boxes of flakes. It wasn't "oddball", it was "another set."

The only other cards we knew about then were Hostess, but what were those but pictures you had to cut off a cardboard slab? Make your own cards? I could do that in my own home with index cards and some crayons. Give me something that's already finished, please.

So that was it -- Topps and Kellogg's (oh, and there was TCMA, but let's not complicate this).

I've written about Kellogg's a number of times, so I'm hoping that I'm not repeating myself. Kellogg's was the weird, exotic, smaller version of Topps. We would tilt and turn those cards in an effort to "find" the 3-D effect. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. I remember looking mesmerized at the background of one of the cards, drinking in the blurry, orangey stadium. Innovation? We didn't know anything about that. Xograph? Hell I didn't read the tiny type at the bottom of the cards.

But cool? Yeah, Kellogg's cards were very cool.


By 1977, my brothers and I were ordering the cards off the side of the box, accumulating however many box tops were required, waiting the agonizing 6-to-8 weeks for delivery and then very carefully splitting up the 57-or-so cards evenly on the carpeted floor in the basement.

This was how I completed my first Dodger Kellogg's team set, the four Dodgers contained in the 1977 set. The box above was probably in my home that year.

Prior to ordering that set, the only Kellogg's cards we saw were whatever card or two we could pull out of a box before the baseball card promotion disappeared off of the front of Frosted Flakes. But between 1977-80 we conducted the same order-through-the-mail ritual each year.

After that, Kellogg's seemed to disappear. Obviously, they were still making cards (the 1981 version you couldn't find in cereal though), but I just stopped caring. Or stopped eating cereal, I don't know.

But now, today, I've completed another aspect of my childhood in cards. And just like The Angels In Order, I am going to feature the cards year-by-year. I encourage you to do the same when you complete the Kellogg's set for your favorite team (if you like the Rockies or Rays, well, that's your own damn fault).

Let's begin:


1970 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 75
Dodgers in set: Don Sutton, Bill Singer, Tom Haller, Willie Crawford

The very first Kellogg's set -- man this thing must have blasted boring ol' gray-border Topps out of the water. The design is very similar to 1969 Topps, but other than that, a very forward-looking set, almost space-aged.

The Bill Singer card displays the biggest complaint about Kellogg's cards, the cracking. I didn't see those cracks at all when I ordered the card online. These kind of 3-D cracks aren't as severe as some others, an example of which you'll see later.



That's what the back of the first Kellogg's 3-D set looked like. Kellogg's introduced me to several card-back features: card numbering at the bottom of the card, listing of a player's hobbies, and lengthy bio write-ups. Also, Kellogg's let you in on how many cards were in the set. It was listed on every card. With Topps it was always a mystery until you got that last checklist card.



1971 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 75
Dodgers in set: Willie Davis, Don Sutton, Billy Grabarkewitz, Claude Osteen

The '71 set is notorious for being difficult to find because you couldn't order the entire set. They arrived one per box and that was it. These were easily the costliest cards to find and I paid the most for the Osteen card, of which there are a couple different variations (I refuse to chase Kellogg's variations). The Sutton I found cheaply, otherwise I would have paid the most for that. The look on Sutton's face always freaked me out.

This is the first Kellogg's set with blue borders, which I think of as the default border for Kellogg's cards. Also, you can see a big fat star on Kellogg's card several years before Topps did the same for its all-stars.

By the way, the Willie Davis is the coolest Kellogg's card I own.



Before Fleer, before Upper Deck, Kellogg's was featuring pictures of the player on the back, too. The 1971 set was the first. Also, good golly, look at the size of that write-up. And I'm just finding out about the quiz right now.



1972 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 54
Dodgers in set: Willie Davis, Wes Parker, Claude Osteen

The '72 set was slightly smaller in size and the number of cards in the set was smaller, too. Kellogg's also issued a 15-card All-Time Greats set this year, so I'm wondering if that's why the main set was trimmed. Personally, I think this is the ugliest of the '70s Kellogg's sets. The double red diagonal stripes look like an afterthought.


Kellogg's was doing the full name thing before Donruss. And when have you read "erudite" on any other card back?



1973 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 54
Dodgers in set: Don Sutton, Willie Davis, Claude Osteen

This is the only two-dimensional Kellogg's set and I don't know what the cereal company was thinking. Maybe the 3-D thing hadn't taken off like they had hoped? Maybe too many people complained that the cards were too delicate? But Kellogg's took away the one thing that made it unique. These cards are the easiest to find among the '70s items, probably because their condition holds up better, but I'm also guessing because they're not as popular.


The bottom left copyright tells you that the cards were not created by Xograph, like the others, but something called Visual Panographics Inc.



1974 Kellogg's

Cards in the set: 54
Dodgers in the set: Jim Brewer, Willie Davis, Manny Mota

These are the first Kellogg's card I ever saw. I can't tell you which card it was, the circumstances of seeing it, but I know that I saw these '74s somewhere. The design for these cards looks very much like Kellogg's 1972 All-Time Greats design.

Also, since I received this Jim Brewer card, it has cracked. And like many Kellogg's cards, I did nothing to make it crack, I just looked at it one day and the cracks were there. (A replacement is on order).



Topps changed the color to a lighter blue. It reminds me of the mimeographed copies of papers I received in grade school. Also, you can see that Willie Davis had become an Expo while Kellogg's was making the card.



1975 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 57
Dodgers in set: Bill Buckner, Steve Garvey, Mike Marshall, Andy Messersmith

The top exclamation, "3-D Super Stars," which has appeared on the '71, '74 and '75 sets so far, I remember as what made this set special. There was no similar title for Topps cards, but here it was right on every card -- these players were Super Stars. And they were in Three-Dee.

Also, this set reflects a new era for the Dodgers. I would enjoy the remnants of the Dodgers' 1974 season all the way through the early 1980s.


The mug shot on the back is made to look like a drawing this year.



1976 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 57
Dodgers in set: Don Sutton, Steve Garvey

It's the bicentennial set! I love this set because everything bicentennial reminds me of my childhood. But it's a shame that there are just two Dodgers. This set veered quite a bit in look from previous sets, but that's a good thing because Kellogg's was getting stuck in a rut.

One notable absence are stars on the front of the card. 1970 is the only previous set lacking in stars.

Also, these two Dodgers would duke it out in a famous 1978 locker room fight.



Kellogg's adds some tinting to the background.



1977 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 57
Dodgers in set: Doug Rau, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Charlie Hough

Orange! Very '70s! Very Bright! This is the set that I have seen the most as it's the first one we ordered and I shuffled through those cards over and over. It's a point of pride to me that the Ron Cey card has been handled much more than any other Kellogg's card I have (note the rounder corners), but it has never cracked except for slight notches on the edge.



Back to the mimeographed look. These are rather difficult to read.



1978 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 57
Dodgers in set: Ron Cey, Reggie Smith, Don Sutton, Burt Hooton, Tommy John

This is the pinnacle of Kellogg's sets for me. Not only were there more Dodgers in the set than ever before (and would be equaled only once), but I saw these cards so often that they began to represent to me what Kellogg's was all about. Normally, I dislike yellow cards. But not these.

This is the first time that Kellogg's squeezed its name on the front of the card. All that stuff on the front kind of diminishes the 3-D effect.


And, here is one of those cracked cards that I just can't handle. First it cracks and then it seems like it spreads like some sort of card disease. It's like the card has a skin problem. I try to replace cards when they get like this.



The mug shot on the reverse was replaced in '78 by a drawing of Tony the Tiger. This both amused and confused me.



1979 Topps

Cards in set: 60
Dodgers in set: Davey Lopes, Doug Rau, Rick Monday

The dastardly skinnier Kellogg's card. When these first arrived, I hated them. I now appreciate them as the various sizes of Kellogg's cards are part of their charm. But I was also peeved then because the Dodgers made the World Series for the second straight year in '78 and THIS is what the Dodgers get in '79? Sure, I was happy with Lopes' first 3-D card, but where was Cey, Garvey, Sutton, Baker, Smith? And poor Bill Russell. He never got a Kellogg's card.

On the good side, the stars are back!


Smaller card, but Kellogg's still crammed in a lot of words.



1980 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 60
Dodgers in set: Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Dave Lopes

Kellogg's stuck with the smaller size for a second straight year, but added star power with three-fourths of the Dodgers' acclaimed in field. These would be the last cards my brothers and I ordered through the mail.


Tony the Tiger was gone, replaced by the Raisin Bran sun. I only remember Frosted Flakes advertising baseball cards. I suppose it's possible Raisin Bran did, too, although it was viewed as an "adult" cereal. It was odd that Mr. Two Scoops was on the back of a baseball card.



1981 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 66
Dodgers in set: Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Reggie Smith

The only Kellogg's set to match the size of an average Topps card, Kellogg's super-sized and refused to include the cards in boxes of cereal. You could only get them through mail order. Booo!

I would go decades before I realized that Kellogg's was issuing cards after 1980. So these are still relatively new to me.


Yay! Tony's back! These cards seem freakishly big.



 1982 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 64
Dodgers in set: Fernando Valenzuela, Burt Hooton, Dusty Baker, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey

Kellogg's goes old-school, drawing comparisons to its sets from the mid-1970s. But the space devoted to the photo just seems to get smaller.

I should probably address something that was a staple of Kellogg's cards: they refused to mention the player's first name on the front of the card. Remember how strange it was when Topps did the same in its 2005 flagship set? Kellogg's was doing it for 14 years.


No more Tiger. No more Sun. Just another Kellogg's logo across a baseball. Kellogg's was getting very corporate.



1983 Kellogg's

Cards in set: 60
Dodgers in set: Fernando Valenzuela, Pedro Guerrero

The final Kellogg's set of current players returned to the size of the 1979, 1980 cards. With the white borders, this might be the blandest Kellogg's set.


The only vertical card back issued by Kellogg's (aside from the '72 All-Time Greats set). Look at how much they had to write about Valenzuela!! No phoning it in like Fleer did during the 1980s.


Here is the rundown on which Dodger had the most Kellogg's cards:

Garvey - 6
Sutton - 5
Cey - 4
Davis - 4
Lopes - 3
Osteen - 3

There really was or is nothing like Kellogg's 3-D cards. One day I probably will start attempting to complete full sets for some of the '70s Kellogg's sets.

Because of when they came out and the look of them, I won't be able to stop collecting them. Tony was right. They're no oddball. They're not merely "good". They're grrrrrrrrrrr-eat!


(P.S.: This is the post that I was referring to in this post. Ebay is a wonderful thing).