Skip to main content

In three parts

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.


Brett Alan said…
Seeing that Chef Girl-Ar-Dee as a real can (even though I know it's tiny and of course doesn't have any actual food in it) is very, very strange.
I'm always up for a post on Wacky Packs. I'd do more myself, but I so rarely acquire them.

Not sure I realized that the Phanatic went back as far as the 1970s.
BaseSetCalling said…
I believe only Target carries Wacky Packages stuff when it is new. Perhaps WalMart got offended at some point.

But I can only very rarely visit a Target. When I have, those mini packages were a disappointment. It feels like we should be due for a new stickers set.

6-7 years ago now they did a run of Wacky Erasers that used the sticker creations as wrapping on various shapes of erasers. These still kick around my desk and might do so for the rest of my life, as I only need an eraser about once every ten years now. But they are fun decorative knick-knacks.

If a favorite old Wacky such as Hipton, PREZ, Zenergizer, or BeastBall I would surely want that mini.
Bo said…
Not interested in the wacky packages but I love the other stuff.
I post a lot of things that are not about baseball cards, and get far fewer reactions. That's to be expected, I guess.
bbcardz said…
Great stuff! I especially like the periodicals.
steelehere said…
Having worked at a baseball card shop back in 1992, I can tell you that it was most definitely released in fewer quantities than the other sets that came out that year. Topps intentionally cut back production and improved the quality of the card stock after the 1989 oversized disaster and poorly received follow ups in 1990 and 1991 (though 1991 was actually underproduced as well compared to 1989 and 1990).
Nick Vossbrink said…
That Dodgers photo album is great. I wish teams still did things like that.

Are those scouting breakdowns form the same program. I couldn't help but notice that the header fonts aren't rotated consistently but if they're different programs hat would make more sense.
bryan was here said…
What a fun ride. I remember having a few of those early Wackys as a kid, my aunt gave me a stack of cards to keep me occupied one time when I was visiting and bored.

Those programs are really nice. Love the classic ads myself, a big reason I like old magazines.

I was wondering why the Corey Seager card has the Union Jack on it? Did Topps release a special UK set or something?
Billy Kingsley said…
Generally not a fan of wacky packages but I like the Armor one.

The Chrysler ad was my favorite part of the post though. I grew up seeing 70s and 80s cars and now that they are gone I really miss them.
Jon said…
It's funny, my non card posts tend to do the best. And ironically, my all-baseball card posts are usually the least viewed/commented on.
BaseSetCalling said…
So this did inspire me to catch up on the state of Wackys. The ones in this post are already from a Series 2 of the minis, though Topps licensed the creation of them to another manufacturer. So I would expect a Series 3 soon enough. They have done 2 takes on Kit Kat already but not the outstanding Kizz Kat. Commie Cleanser would be a fun mini to have. Grand Theft Audio was a great sticker but I don’t see much need for a miniature video game box of the same.

Meanwhile I was correct in my suspicion that brand new Wackys should be around. They are - as an online only “On Demand” product of 5 stickers a week. With a print run of less than a thousand, I know I will never see those.
CrazieJoe said…
I don't remember ever seeing 1992 Bowman at the time, or in the years after. Even in trading and the odd lot, just don't see much of it. Not sure where it went, but think it stayed away from Canada completely I swear!
gregory said…
There's so much great stuff in this post, wow. My three favorites:

(1) "A Game in the Life of Phillie Phanatic"
(2) The wood-paneled station wagon advertisement
(3) The clever wording on the Lucky Stride wacky package

Excellent post, Night Owl!
Fuji said…
My baseball card posts always receive the most views... but when it comes to me reading blogs, I actually love seeing non-baseball posts. It probably has to do with the fact that they're less common.

As for those little plastic Wacky Packages, I remember my nieces used to collect these plastic fruits and grocery store items that were very similar to the ones you received. Don't think they still are into them, but if they did... I doubt they'd enjoy the "old parody tributes from the '70s"... like you staded.

And that photo of Dodger Stadium on the back of that photo album is gorgeous.
Unknown said…
Wacky Packages are still in my brain. I can't see "Ragu" and not think "Raw Goo". And if I make a grocery list, I'll write "Weakies" instead of "Wheaties". God, how my mother hated Wacky Packages.
night owl said…
@Nick ~

Yes, both of those scouting pages are from the same magazine. The Dodgers page on the right is the outlier, the word "offense" is rotated differently than on every other page.

@Bryan ~

Yes, there was a separate UK set in 2020.
I wouldn't say I collected Wacky Packages in the 70's but I did get them...and stuck them everywhere.
Impressive bunch of stuff. I like how in the one magazine the Phillies color was blue and the Dodger was red. Congrats, too, on finishing the team set!
Sorry, I somehow deleted myself. :) What I attempted to say was how much I love the graphics from late 70s and early 80s. I remember that look very well, and it transports me back to that time. Also, I enjoy those old publications. In addition to card collecting, those are right up there for me...and inexpensive, too!