A recent package from Tony at Wrigley Roster Jenga gave me a project to do, but first a few other cards he sent before the "project" card.
This here is a Topps 205 mini of a very young Chad Billingsley, oblivious to the years of surgery ahead.
Don't get excited. These are all reprints. Yeah, it'd be nice to have the real thing, but I can now say "I have a card of Hot Potato Hamlin," and how long would it have taken me to say that if I held out for the original?
Some Opening Day Dodger needs since I still haven't opened any Opening Day. Here we have two clear superstars, and then one guy who has all of 7 innings in the majors, so of course put him on equal footing with the other guys in a card set with a limited number of players. You can see how the Montas card naturally separated itself from the other 2 on the scanner. It knows it's not worthy.
Tony says he's pulled Corey Seager cards in everything he's opened this year. This clearly means he needs to buy a lottery ticket and send it to me, too. I don't have that kind of luck. I can't even pull Cubs to reciprocate. A's and Marlins, how about those?
But the Seager overload leads nicely to this:
This is the only other Marketside card that I wanted. After pulling the Clayton Kershaw card myself, I thought it would be ages before getting the Seager because, for heaven's sake, I still have those breadsticks sitting in my refrigerator!
This card prevents me from going to Walmart ever again. I feel so much cleaner already.
This card also gave me an idea concerning oddball cards such as these.
We all have our go-to places. Our favorite taco place. Our favorite hardware store. Our favorite grocery store. And we all have our go-to products. Our favorite snack food, our favorite kinds of clothes, or favorite cereal.
All of these products and places are represented by oddball sets. Business-sponsored oddballs are my favorite oddballs and I thought it would be interesting to separate my favorite kinds of oddballs based on each product category. So I went to work and determined my favorite gas station set oddball and my favorite beverage set oddball.
And I'll show a few of them to you now.
I quickly decided I would limit this to only oddballs that I own. If you go through the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, you realize that oddball sets rule the world and have for some time. Card companies like Topps and Upper Deck just fill in the gap between the next oddball set. They are everywhere.
Here is just a glimpse of what's out there:
1969 Jack in the Box Angels
1979 Bubble Yum Blue Jays
1985 Thom McAn Discs
1970 LaPizza Royale Expos
1983 Mr. Z's Pizza Brewers
1999 Fro Zsnack's High Screamers Lids
1986 Big League Chew
1982 Builders Emporium Dodgers
1992 Ben's Bakery Super HItters Discs
1970 Rold Gold Pretzels
1953 Spic-and-Span Braves
... the list goes on for pages.
Here is an example of basically the SAME KIND OF DISCS except for the company sponsoring it: 1976 Carousel Discs, 1976 Chilly Willie Discs, 1976 Crane Potato Chips Discs, 1976 Dairy Isle Discs, 1977 Detroit Caesars Discs, 1976 Isaly's/Sweet William Discs, 1976 Orbaker Discs, 1976 Safelon Discs, 1976 Towne Club Discs, 1977 Wendy's Discs, 1977 Zip'z Discs, 1977 Holiday Inn Discs, 1977 Wiffle Discs
Like I said, oddballs rule the collecting world.
But anyway, here are my go-to's in each category for just the cards I have:
My go-to food card set:
"Food card" sounds generic, but there are foods that aren't "snack food" or "dessert food." It's just "food." Food cards of this ilk include Kraft, Jimmy Dean, Hamburger Helper and Chef Boyardee. But my food go-to is:
I admit I've never purchased or even witnessed a Mr. Turkey turkey. But its set from 1992 amuses me to no end. I'm smiling now while writing this. The thought of each player appearing in this set, with their airbrushed uniform, and being branded a "Mr. Turkey Superstar" is hilarious to me.
Honorable mention: Jell-O cards from early '60s and the Kraft Pop-Up cards from the early '90s.
My go-to beverage card-set:
This was a difficult choice for me and basically down to two different sets. One set takes me back to my early teen years when I was first experiencing oddball cards. The other is a cardboard classic.
The early '80s Coke cards are definitely one of my favorites, but in the end I decided to go with a beverage card set from before I was born.
I'm going with the 1958 Hires Root Beer set as my favorite go-to beverage set. Such a great concept for a design, particularly for an oddball set.
Honorable mentions: Early '80s Squirt, 1993 Yoo-Hoo.
My go-to baked good card set:
There is nothing more fun than receiving a baseball card with your cake treat. That is not too much of a good thing. It is just the right amount of a good thing.
There are a lot of worthy candidates among the Baked Good card sets. The Drake sets of the early '80s, particularly the ones you could order through the mail (not the ones issued later that were cut off a box), will always be a favorite.
Love that card.
But I would have my '70s club card taken away from me if I didn't pick Hostess.
The Twinkie cards of the mid-to-late '70s are in the top 3 of my all-time favorite oddball sets. They're prone to stains, which is probably why it's not my all-time favorite, because some of the photos are just glorious. Hostess is easily my Baked Good Card Set go-to.
Honorable mentions: Drake's, Mother's Cookies, Keebler's.
My go-to restaurant card set:
Notice how all these revolve around food? The thought of receiving a card when I go to a restaurant is as exhilarating as getting a card with my cupcake. The problem is, the restaurant cards that I own aren't all that great. They're just OK.
If I had a few more of those Burger King cards from the late '70s, BK would win this category easily. But instead I'm picking a surprise:
The 1996 Denny's Pinnacle hologram cards are my restaurant card set go-to. Innovation in a oddball set is a rare thing. This is high technology in a food-issue card. That's why it's my restaurant card go-to.
Honorable mentions: Early '90s McDonald's, late '70s/early '80s Burger King.
My go-to candy card set:
If I grew up in the 1920s, this category would be filled with favorites. But for whatever reason, candy -- unlike gum -- hasn't produced a lot of cards in my collection (don't be one of those dopes who insists gum is candy). One of the few is that mid-1980s M&M's set which is not attractive.
Instead I went with a 3-card set from the early '90s:
This card (and the other two) appeared in a reissue of the Reggie Bar back in 1993. I love this card.
Honorable Mention: 1971 Milk Duds.
My go-to gas station card set:
Gas station cards evoke a long-ago time when not only did someone come out and pump your gas for you, but you actually knew the gas man by name. And then that gas man would hand your kids baseball cards. I don't have cards from that time -- Atlantic Oil and such. So I'm going with a set that's credited to 7-11 and Citgo, the '92 Fleer "The Performer" cards:
This is not the set that I wanted to put here. I wanted to showcase the 2001 Sunoco All-Time great teams cards. But I've traded those cards away for some bizarre reason.
My go-to snack food card set:
Where would cards be without junk food? The amount of potato chip brands that have issued card sets is staggering. And as amusing as I find this card ...
... I am not going with meat snacks. I'm staying with potato chips.
The early '60s Bell Brand potato chips cards are some of the nicest-looking food-issue cards ever made. I'm stunned these came out of a greasy potato chip bag. These are among my favorite cards in terms of look period. A terrific go-to item.
Honorable mentions: Early '90s Mootown Snackers, '80s Granny Goose A's, early '90s Jumbo Sunflower Seeds, '80s Cracker Jacks.
My go-to cereal card set:
I don't think anyone doesn't know which set I'm going to pick here. Even though Post defined the cereal cards in the early '60s, they are not nearly as appealing as the king of all food-issues, the Kellogg's 3-D cards.
This was '70s innovation. And even better than those '90s hologram cards, you could actually see the subject. I've gone on and on about why I love Kellogg's cards so I won't say anything more other than this is my go-to card set of any food-issue set ever made.
Honorable mention: Early '60s Post.
My go-to pizza card set:
Final one. There have been a lot of pizza chains that have issued sets: Shakey's, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Tombstone, Papa Gino's, etc., etc. But none of them look as nice as the set that came out this year:
Marketside is my go-to pizza card set. Or is it my go-to breadstick card set?
There are many, many other kinds of oddball sets that I didn't address: dog food oddballs, magazine oddballs, clothing oddballs, haircut salon oddballs. But feel free to pick those out yourselves.
Now that oddballs are back we can all select our favorites.