I've completed another set.
I'd say it seems to be the month for it, but there's no coincidence about it. My objective this year was to stop goofing around, assembling cards from this interest and that interest, and get to what makes me the happiest -- finishing some of the greatest sets ever made.
Most recently, I completed the 1976 Kellogg's 3-D set, the first Kellogg's set I've ever finished, but it won't be the last.
The last card I needed arrived the other day. It's the Don Gullett card, No. 3 in the 57-card set, and it showed up enclosed, and Don seems a bit lost inside his prison.
So I got him out.
That's better. Gullett is relatively free now, although I make sure to leave my '76 Kellogg's cards in top loaders because I just can't take the cracking that seems to occur whenever no one's looking. My '76 Kellogg's set is relatively free of cracks, save for a couple of small ones, and I'd like to keep it that way.
My condition standard meant some squirmy moments when I was releasing the card from the graded case. Normally I just take a hammer to the label part of the plastic and it's worked fairly well, although it can get a bit messy (wear goggles). But I saw cracks in Gullett's future with that method.
So I went with the more conventional pliers-and-screwdriver technique. Even that had some dicey moments. You clip off a corner of the top label part with the pliers to get access to the inner seam at the top. Then you pull apart the two connecting shells by running the flat-head screwdriver along the top seam (don't point the screwdriver at the card) and then down the side seam until you can pop the top shell and release the card.
Gullett has escaped and those graded cops will never find him!
He's safely hidden in my complete 1976 Kellogg's set, which I will show for you now:
I have to say that is very, very cool, and one of the happiest card moments of my entire year.
I happen to think that this is the finest-looking Kellogg's set of all of the ones issued in the '70s and '80s. It certainly sums up the time period as well as any other Kellogg's set with the red-white-and-blue bicentennial theme.
Also, Kellogg's cards were as high-tech as it got in the '70s. I treat the cards like '90s card fans treat their fancy Pinnacle shiny things. Naturally, I prefer the look of the Kellogg's more. They are just clean, pristine, colorful and as high quality as you're going to get for a food-issue set, of the players who dominated baseball when I was a kid.
So let's use the Joy of a Team Set theme for a similar breakdown for this complete set. I even pulled a few of them out of their top-loaders for a closer look:
Favorite card runners-up: 5. Boog Powell, 4. Bill Lee, 3. George Scott, 2. Al Hrabosky
Ask me tomorrow and that list would be completely different.
Set's claim to fame: The bicentennial look. Many of the preceding Kellogg's sets featured blue borders and stars. Kellogg's scrapped the stars but still made the set appear more patriotic than any of the others with the border striping around each image.
Notable rookie card: Dennis Eckersley
Thanks to the quirks of Kellogg's decision-making on which players showed up in sets, this set also marked the first Kellogg's appearances of young stars of the time like Fred Lynn, Gary Carter and Dave Parker.
Favorite element on the back:
Kellogg's featured several aspects on its backs that were unusual at the time, including head shots of the players, team logos and exhaustive biographies. But my favorite part, always, is the listed hobbies.
This set, like all of the Kellogg's ones, are overrun by players who say their hobby is "sports," which would be like me saying my hobby is "editing." Sports is your job dude, not your hobby. Fortunately, there are others who get it. Manny Sanguillen's hobby is playing the guitar. Ron LeFlore's is chess and woodworking. Ted Simmons' is motorcycles. The best for me is Ken Griffey and his interest in drawing cartoons, which was also mentioned by Topps.
Hall of Famers: A bunch.
Gary Carter, Reggie Jackson, Lou Brock, Jim Palmer, Rod Carew, Carl Yastrzemski, Dennis Eckersley, Willie Stargell, Johnny Bench, Tom Seaver, Jim Hunter, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Don Sutton, Joe Morgan, Ted Simmons
That is 28 percent of the set. It could have been much higher but Kellogg's did not include players like Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Mike Schmidt, despite them appearing in other Kellogg's sets.
Most "unusual" inclusions: There are several:
Martin Perez, Eric Soderholm, Greg Gross, Paul Lindblad, Jorge Orta, Von Joshua, and the first card in the set, Rangers pitcher Steve Hargan.
This is a running theme in Kellogg's sets. It didn't shy away from including some lesser-known players. Some -- like Joshua -- had career years in 1975. Others, like Perez and Hargan, are head-scratchers, but I enjoy the unexpected nature of the checklist.
Famous error cards:
There are several tiny statistical errors in this set, differences of one at-bat or a minor earned-run average error. I pay no attention to those errors when I'm collecting cards. Of more interest to me are the Jim Kaat and Clay Carroll cards, which demonstrate the player's offseason team change on the back, most significantly with the new logo. Kaat's card can be found with both the Phillies and White Sox logo while Carroll's card has both the Reds and White Sox logos.
Players I've talked to: none
As mentioned before, Jerry Reuss did comment on my blog. Jim Rice once came to town but I didn't interview him. Vida Blue once lived a half hour from me. That's as close as I've gotten.
Former or future Dodgers: Boog Powell, Von Joshua, Jorge Orta, Gary Carter, Bill Madlock, Jerry Reuss
Most disappointing aspect of the set: There are just two Dodgers in it, Steve Garvey and Don Sutton (future combatants!)
That is the fewest of any Kellogg's set from 1970-83 except for the 1983 set, which also included two Dodgers.
Biggest stars to get in '76: Well, that would be any of the Big Red Machine players from that time, especially Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and probably Joe Morgan. Other big names would be related to the other World Series teams from that time, the Red Sox and Yankees, so Lynn, Rice and Yastrzemski as well as Munson and Catfish Hunter. And, of course, Reggie Jackson was kind of a big deal.
Stars I would want to get at that time: Aside from the Dodgers, my interests were a little bit different. I'd want the Phillies cards, especially since they look so awesome in this set. I'd want players like Manny Sanguillen and Dave Parker, Mickey Rivers and Ron LeFlore and the Red Sox cards, which I'd probably have to trade to my brother.
Most interesting card: Like on many of Topps' 1976 cards, Bob Watson is displaying the memorial patch for pitcher Don Wilson, who died of carbon-monoxide poisoning in January 1975.
Favorite card in the set:
No. 30, Frank Tanana
This card evokes the '70s like few others do. I probably should have included it in my Greatest 100 Cards of the '70s countdown. This is one of the first non-Dodger cards from that set that I obtained. Both Tanana and Ken Griffey, which I received in a giveaway from the old Red Cardboard blog, sparked my quest to complete this set.
I'll keep going with Kellogg's. My plan is to go after the 1977 and 1978 sets at the same time, just because I can't decide between the two. The '77 set was the first one that I ever ordered off the side of the box. The '78 one came at possibly the peak of my Kellogg's fandom (except for now, of course).
So, yeah, I'll be adding want lists for those, too. And I'll want the cards mostly uncracked as well.
Because that's the way (I like it).