Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Card back countdown: #40 - 1977 Kellogg's

 I have chosen the 1977 Kellogg's set to represent all of the Kellogg's card backs in this countdown.

That's for a couple of reasons. The first is the card backs on the Kellogg's 3-D cards stayed pretty much the same through the '70s and '80s. There's not a lot of difference between 1971 and 1983.

The second is the 1971 set probably should be the Kellogg's set that is singled out. But I don't have any cards from that set. I know that hasn't stopped me before, but I'd rather feature cards from my collection if I can.

The third reason is the 1977 Kellogg's set is the last to feature the same back pattern that was first instituted in the 1971 Kellogg's set. Consider it the last of the great 1970s Kellogg's layouts.

(By the way, it seems a little silly to discuss Kellogg's card backs when the big deal about the cards was the 3-D fronts, but that's just me being me).

OK, so on to what I like about the Kellogg's card back, especially from 1971-77.

First, Kellogg's was the first set that I knew of to consistently feature a photo of the player on the back of the card. Kellogg's did this each year from 1971-77.

 Topps gets a lot of recognition for doing this in its 1971 set, and it is true that Topps featured a different photo of the player on the back of the '71 set while Kellogg's merely repeated the shot from the front of the card. But it's still pretty neat for a cereal company to do this.

And when you compare the 1971 Topps back to a Kellogg's back, there is no competition. The Kellogg's back slaughters the '71 Topps back.

That's because the '71 Topps back (which, by the way, is in the countdown despite my disparging words), featured only two lines of stats. Kellogg's gives you every year of a player's career.

But that's not all. Kellogg's also gives you some of the most detailed bio write-ups that existed in the 1970s. I learned more about a player from the back of a Kellogg's card than I did most Topps cards. There is a whole bunch of info about Doug Rau jammed into that blue block of type.

Maybe best of all, Kellogg's filled you in on your favorite player's hobbies. True, a lot of players' hobbies were boring, like fishing and hunting. (I was especially annoyed when a player listed their hobby as "sports." No, that's your JOB, buddy).

In 1978, Kellogg's removed the mug shot from the back of the card and replaced it with a cartoon image of Tony the Tiger or the Raisin Bran sun. I like cartoons as much as the next collector, but things just weren't the same after that.

There were drawbacks to the card backs in the Kellogg's set. The light blue type -- or shall I say "aqua" -- made things a little difficult to read. And there was a sameness from year-to-year.

But overall, it was a pretty impressive showing. I sure wish the cards were still around.

Best of set:

Unfortunately, I have only the Dodgers from the 1977 set. One of the drawbacks of the Kellogg's set as someone growing up with brothers is that you could order the entire set through the mail, but then you had to split up the cards with your brothers. There was no way mom was going to order a set for each of us. And we certainly couldn't afford to do that ourselves.

So, there's no best of set.

I'll just leave you with the back of the 1972 Kellogg's Wes Parker.

 Only because Kellogg's actually used the word "erudite" in the write-up. Way to drop the knowledge on the kiddies, Kellogg's.

(previous card back countdown selections):

50. 1978 SSPC Yankee Yearbook
49. 1993 Score
48. 1999 Skybox Thunder
47. 2000 Upper Deck
46. 1999 Skybox Premium
45. 1953 Johnston Cookies Braves
44. 1995 Topps
43. 1997 Fleer
42. 1992 Pinnacle
41. 1989 Bowman


  1. "Erudite" is a top-notch find! Lots of classic Dodgers on those funky Kellogg's cards, too.

  2. Re: Wes Parker, only 10 HR but 111 RBI in 1970 as a first baseman who could pick it and almost never miss any games...can you say "James Loney"?