Wednesday, May 1, 2013

When the back cover meant "the end"


I'm sad to say that this is the final post in this series where I show the Baseball Cards magazines that I saved from when I had a subscription to the magazine from 1982-85.

I have eight of those magazines still and this is post No. 8. The final one.

These posts have been a hoot. Not the scanning -- the scanning has been miserable -- but everything else. Because of these posts, I've read articles that I haven't read in more than 25 years. A lot of the information and opinions in those stories still hold true today, as we'll see here later.

This particular magazine is from the fall of 1982. This is the first edition that came to my house after I sent in the subscription card. You might be able to make out the faded fingerprints on the image of the Jim Brown card up near the top right side. That's the sign of a well-handled magazine.

The teasers on the left side of the cover promise an interesting issue, especially that "How To Buy Superstars For Pennies" one. How? How?

Well, let's open it up and find out.


The first article covers something that is near-and-dear to my heart. They call the cards "regional issues," but we all know them as oddballs!

The article marvels over the number of oddball issues produced in 1982. And, it's true, for its time there were quite a few. People were just starting to find out that these baseball cards could be money-makers and folks like Kmart, Kellogg's, Granny Goose and Cracker Jack were taking advantage.

The Kmart set from 1982 might be the most worthless set ever in terms of monetary value. The cards were everywhere. If it wasn't for sets like '91 Donruss and '87 Topps, '82 Kmart could have been the most overproduced set of all-time.

But there are other regional sets I've never seen with my own eyes. I've never seen a Granny Goose card. And I still need that Duke Snider Cracker Jack card.


Doesn't that look like a lot of fun?



Here you see the '82 Kellogg's and Drake's sets. I barely paid attention to food issue cards in 1982 -- I was starting to move away from the hobby a little. Fortunately, I've recovered nicely on those two issues.



Oh, man, Coke sets were absolutely all the rage in the early '80s. I didn't care what team was featured. I just wanted those cards.

As for Squirt, I didn't obtain the Fernando Valenzuela card until a couple of years ago.



Nine-pocket pages were still a new concept at the time and you can tell by the advertising, which bills a simple page as the most technologically advanced contraption ever devised.

"Folded Edge for Strength! Gold-Stamped Pedigree!"


I am showing this advertisement just because 31 years later I have not completed any three of these sets.

I am reasonably confident that I will put up a 1982 Topps want list in the next year or two. I also think that '82 Fleer is something I will want to complete someday.

I don't anticipate any desire to complete '82 Donruss ever.

There are a couple of articles in this magazine that I jumped over. One is on collecting baseball uniforms, focusing on the American League. I never had a desire to collect other people's clothing, especially for the prices involved. So I have never read it.

The other article is about baseball yearbooks, which I love. But it's way too brief.

So we move on to this story:


This is where I became acquainted with the Roy Campanella Symbol of Courage card. The article touches on how different the card is, and how special Campanella was as an individual.

This sentence in the article is interesting:

"What makes the 1959 card seem so appropriate is that it means that Roy had cards both during and after his playing days."

Imagine that. A card after your playing days! Hey, Topps, work on that. See if you can manufacture some cards of players who aren't playing anymore.

Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment of the article. And, finally, decades later, I obtained my own Symbol Of Courage card.


I love it.



One of the themes of this particular issue seems to be a lamenting of the current state of the hobby. Even back in 1982 some collectors were dissatisfied with the way the hobby was turning.

This is one of those non-conformist stories, pointing out that you can have a card in "very good" condition and it's perfectly collectible. This was long before slabbing cards, too.


Good advice to this day.

And about the only way people with normal jobs can obtain a 1950s card of a superstar these days.


You may think that reprints became a craze in the 1990s or early 21st century. But reprints first hit it big in the late 1970s, so much so that I was well aware of them in my first years of collecting.

You can also see that the issues that sometimes crop up about reprints today were problems then, too. As it says, "more confusing than dangerous," and with the way that reprints keep appearing, I say that any collectors left 30 years from now are going to be thoroughly confused.


Isn't that right 1949 Bowman Billy Cox that isn't really a 1949 Bowman?



Here is the cover story by Mr. Bob Lemke. This is the way you're supposed to buy superstars for pennies, as promised on the cover.

The combo card -- loved in the '50s and '60s and reviled in the 2000s -- has intrigued collectors forever. How is a card with Mantle and Aaron on it worth less than the individual cards of Mantle's and Aaron's?

But I quickly grew tired of that discussion (I am easily bored by economics) and just looked at the pretty pictures of great combo cards.


Some terrific cardboard right there.



I love the header on the top that goes throughout the article. A string of '50s and '60s combo greatness.



The article also included useful charts like this one that breaks down the combo cards by team. Us team collectors always forget about combo cards and it looks like I have a good number to track down.



This is also quite handy. A listing by player. Collect a particular player? Find out of he's on a combo card! Woe to you Mickey Mantle collectors.


Here is my favorite Dodgers combo card. I thought I'd show it before I got too depressed over all the ones I don't have.


I'm showing this page because it started my fascination with the Cracker Jack sets from 1914, 1915. I've never been fascinated enough to chase down any of the cards, mind you, but I sure did love the concept of owning some.





I'm beginning to realize how much this magazine helped me blow my money. This article prompted me to order the 1981 Dodgers postcard set through mail order.

Outside of the Hall of Fame plaque cards, they are the only baseball postcards I've owned. Some of these others look pretty interesting though.



This issue's "Talkin' Baseball" featured hot rookie Kent Hrbek. The article doesn't address his apparent wrist injury, but it does ask him which of his rookie cards he likes the best.

He said he liked the one he shares with Tim Laudner and Lenny Faedo (the 1982 Topps card) because it says "Future Stars" on it.

Way to show off that modesty, Kent.


The following article was about football cards, which I had zero interest in during 1982. That means I totally missed that 1960 Johnny Unitas card at bottom left. I'm not sure how I could have. It's very disconcerting.

The Price Guide, which appeared in every issue, is the next feature. You all know the deal here. It's useful now only to see what people were paying then for cards.

Here, I'll show you the 1953 Topps prices so you can quickly build your time machine:


Eleven and a quarter for a Pee Wee Reese. Don't ever tell me that things are better now.



I thought the caption on this was interesting.



Unfortunately, that is the back cover, and all the reminiscing about a magazine that was far different in terms of tone and philosophy than the current Beckett magazine is through.

(*sigh*)

I hope you enjoyed a look through these editions as much as I did. It's pretty sad that I don't have any others to show.


What do you think? If I send the subscription card in, will they start sending me the magazine again?

4 comments:

  1. I'm usually a bit of a Fleer apologist, but I'd take 1982 Donruss over 1982 Fleer in a heartbeat. Now 1981, on the other hand...

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  2. Wow, Night Owl. So much goodness here.

    -I'm feeling you on scanning stuff like this. I had visions of showing off a lat of my Oriole publications when I started my blog but the headaches were too much.

    -9-pockets. I bet you remember the 'chemical reaction' scare that ran thru the hobby when all the cheap 9-pockets were being sold. Everyone was afraid of card damage. It was like the hobby version 'toxic shcok syndrome' scare.

    -postcards. They are still a great and cheap way to add to a collection. I love my Oriole postcards. Buying stuff straight from the team's mail order department made me feel like an 'insider'.

    -that combo Koufax-Drysdale-Podres card. It goes in my gallery of great cards binder with the '57 Covington, the '78 Murray, etc.

    Great post to start my day. Thanks!

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  3. Thanks for the memories. That is the first issue that I ever read. I would rather complete the 82D over 82F any day. The first appearance of Diamond Kings trump fuzzy out of focus pictures.

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  4. This is exactly why I buy any affordable 80's baseball card magazine I can get my hands on. It's a shame that this was your last issue.

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