Card bloggers know the deal: either post about baseball cards or run the risk of having your post ignored.
But we bloggers don't like to be categorized. Some of us collect football cards or hockey cards. Some of us collect nonsports cards. Some of us collect bobbleheads and baseballs and old documents. And sometimes we want to talk about those things, too.
Speaking for myself, I like a lot of different nonsports cards. And I like old baseball publications and magazines. But unless it strikes a certain chord with readers, a post about those things isn't going to get a lot of clicks.
For instance, I recently received a package from Johnny's Trading Spot that include a few baseball cards, but also was filled with nonsports stickers and some cool baseball reading material. All of that stuff interests me. But it's too diverse to interest everyone who reads this.
If Blogger offered the option, I'd divide this into three different posts and then depending on the reader's interests, they could toggle to the version of the post they wanted to read. But I can't do anything like that.
What I can do is split this post into three parts and pretend it's three separate posts. So that's what I'll do. Unfortunately, you can't automatically click to the section you care about. But you've got a scroll bar, right? Get to it!
Part 1: Weird, Wacky Stuff
I think everyone knows my love for Wacky Packages stickers by now. It's not a popular topic among current readers of blogs but, trust me, among kids who were 8, 9 and 10 years old in the mid-1970s? There was nothing more coveted, more discussed than those wacky stickers that you bought down at the corner store.
Johnny of Johnny's Trading Spot understands this, because he was one of those kids. So was I.
He's about the only other blogger I know who posts about them and actually HAS them. In fact, he has way more than me. I'm just getting started on retrieving the ones I stuck all over the place in 1975. And he's helping me with a few extras.
These are all from Wacky Packages' 4th series, which I believe was the final of four series issued in 1973.
This is the series that speaks to me the most because they are the ones that I saw and bought back when I was a kid. In traditional Wacky's fashion, these stickers remained on store shop shelves far longer than baseball cards, and we bought '73 stickers two years later without even knowing the difference.
The stickers were packaged with checklists, which was appreciated (and they were checked!). Each checklist included a puzzle piece. I wasn't interested in the puzzle pieces (still not interested) but this particular puzzle creates the "Wormy Packages" sticker image, which I thought was hilarious as a kid.
The other stickers Johnny sent come from other series. The Sailem and Lucky Stride stickers are also from '73, the second and third series. The Cup-a-Slop sticker is from the 1974 8th Series.
The Sludge Pops is from 2004. I don't know what series or whether this is a reprint or what. I stop paying attention when Wackys get out of the '70s. Too many versions and I don't care enough.
I really do appreciate these though because I enjoy them as much as any card issued during the mid-1970s and they just aren't around much anymore. One day I'll make them a priority ... and I'll watch readers leave in droves as I post sticker after sticker after sticker.
But at least I won't be buying any of these:
Have you seen these?
I spotted them during one of my fruitless trips to the card aisle last spring or summer. They are little containers holding mini 3-D plastic versions of Wacky Package stickers.
This was sent to me by Rod of Padrographs. Open up the container and the following comes out:
Four individually wrapped 3-D Wackys.
This is what I got. The flat "Foot Gushers" sticker was loose in the container as was the Thefty plastic thing. The others came out of the wrappers.
Although it was entertaining to see the "Girl-ar-dee" and "Hungry Jerk" Wackys in 3-D form as those are both from childhood, I don't know who these are marketed toward. I have no interest in collecting little plastic items that my wife said are "Barbie toys," and if today's kids find this appealing are they going to care about old parody tributes from the '70s?
Anyway, it was entertaining while I was opening them. Wackys get ignored now that Topps has latched onto every Garbage Pail Kid iteration it can think of, but Wacky's are more my speed.
I'll stick to the stickers.
Part 2: The Thrill of Victory
Of the relatively few collecting interests that I have -- I really try to limit it to cards -- the one I consider the most "unhealthy" is my interest in publications.
Sometimes I'll see them for sale at a thrift shop -- in fact, old magazines are always in thrift shops -- and I think, "I really, really want those, but I really, really don't need those."
I think about how much space they'll take up. But mostly what I think of is all the old magazines that family members find when their parents and grandparents pass on and how they all end up in thrift shops for me to stare at and, do I want to be that person?
Then Johnny unearths something from the mid-1970s and I forget all that because, wow, sometimes those publications are even better than cards.
This is a Dodgers-issued "photo album" from 1976. It couldn't represent my childhood any better, even as someone who grew up 3,000 miles from Dodger Stadium.
It is a simple publication featuring every Dodger on the 1976 team with color photos and stats for each person.
Opening the pages, it's a bit confusing at first as the photo doesn't match up with the bio and stats. The stats page is actually on the back of the player's photo. Perhaps these were meant to be cut/torn out to create mini-posters?
Here is the Ron Cey photo because I am contractually required to show that.
This is the back cover and a look at Dodger Stadium and the L.A. skyline as it was in 1976.
The other two publications I received from Johnny are the NLCS scorecard/programs from the 1977 and 1978 series between the Dodgers and Phillies!
They are a little worse for wear, but I love stuff like this. It doesn't hurt that the Dodgers won both series. The thrill of victory!
These are actually the programs put out by the Phillies, not the Dodgers, for the NLCS games that were at Veterans Stadium. So there's a slant toward the Phillies. However it's a lot more even-handed -- the Dodgers are featured almost equally -- than stuff you'd see today. There's a lot more propaganda one-sidedness among clubs these days.
Team photos of the champions. It's always fun to look back on these.
Each program features scouting breakdowns of each team as given by a scout from another team (in the Phillies' case above, the scout is from the Royals organization and in the Dodgers' case it's a Phillies scout).
It goes without saying that I love the design of everything in these programs. It's very '70s and it speaks directly to my heart.
Season timeline. I LOVE timelines. I created scrapbooks that were timelines of the 1981 and 1982 seasons. You don't see timelines quite as much now -- or at least I don't. Bring them back!
The '78 program is heavy on the Phillie Phanatic, who made his on-field season debut with the Phillies in 1978. Cool to see where it started.
OK, Phillies fans, hide your eyes:
Somebody scored Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS in Philadelphia.
This is the famed game in which the Dodgers trailed 5-3 going into the ninth inning and with two outs, rallied to scored three runs and eventually win the game 6-5. You can see Bill Russell's winning single in the 9th. (The fan didn't bother to include Vic Davalillo batting for Yeager or Manny Mota batting for the pitcher, they were the ones who started the rally with two outs).
Of course, the best part of old programs are the vintage ads. Not a lot to choose from here but I think each of these represent the late '70s well.
I actually try to keep my old programs and yearbooks contained inside a plastic bin that I keep on a shelf. It's getting pretty full, but if I can keep it from spreading the ceiling then I think I won't inconvenience those I leave behind too much.
It'll be the baseball cards that are the problem.
Part 3: Completing the peskiest team set of the early '90s
One of the things I've wondered the most about cards from the early 1990s is this:
Why is 1992 Bowman so elusive?
I don't get it. I've never heard that it was released in fewer quantities than any other Bowman set from around that time. I do know it is a coveted set because of the Piazza and Rivera rookie cards, along with several other rookies or young players. That's probably it, isn't it? The stupid rookies are making things difficult again for us team collectors again.
Long after I've completed just about every early '90s Dodgers team set, Johnny sent me the last '92 Bowman card that I needed. No, it isn't the Piazza rookie. It's not Karros or Mondesi or Pedro Martinez. It's this:
It was a bit embarrassing to put this card on the Nebulous 9 want list. But it's all I needed to finish the team set! I didn't even know who the guy was!
The draft pick cards of players in their street clothes is one of the worst ideas from 1990s baseball cards. They're certainly the worst cards in '92 Bowman, which actually is a very nice-looking set, probably the best-looking that Bowman did since its reboot in 1989.
But I don't have to chase down another '92 Bowman card ever now that the set is done.
It's all there. Finally.
Johnny also threw in these Dodger cards -- all needs!!
But mostly it feels good to have another set complete.
All right, there you are, a little something for everyone. And congrats to anyone who read all of it. You're as well-rounded a collector as I am.
Or maybe you have no ability to focus. I can relate.