I grew up in a Coca-Cola family. We didn't drink it all the time. It was mostly reserved for certain Fridays when we had pizza for dinner.
But that set me on a path of Coke being my go-to soft drink for years. I liked my variety so other soft-drinks entered the scene but Coke was it, as the commercials said, and Pepsi was not. The only time I drank Pepsi was when I wanted to sample the difference and, naw, that's not for me. The Pepsi Challenge was a lie.
But anyway, Coke kind of messed me up. I drank too much soft drink for too long and that will catch up to you. It's bad news. All of those drinks are. And, like I've said, I haven't drank a Coke or any soft drink in 10 years.
Still Coke's connection to my childhood remains and so does Burger King and Kellogg's cereals and Hostess snack cakes, and all of those things will destroy your insides.
But the cards won't.
As you know, I've been on a quest to obtain all of the Coke sets from 1981 in my general mission to chase down food issues from that time period. I've posted about these cards several times this year alone, every time some new Coke cards arrived.
But the biggest arrival was yet to come. I made a card transaction with a fellow Dodgers fan, Alley, on Twitter. She's a rabid Dodgers card collector and was looking through some Dodgers to send me. But then I announced how much I love '81 Coke cards on Twitter. Guess who had a whole bunch of those cards?
Yes, Alley did. (I can't think of a more relatable kind of collector than one who likes accumulating Dodgers and oddballs).
This salvo of Coke cards very nearly helped me complete all of the '81 Coke sets. There are 11 teams with Coke cards that year (I don't know why the other teams were ignored). Each of the 11 teams has 11 cards in its team set. That's 121 cards.
I have 114 of them.
Finding someone with so many of these makes me a bit sorry that I made all those Coke purchases the last few months. I have a few dupes on my hands. However, I know I can send those to appreciative collectors.
The cards Alley sent did help me complete some of the team sets. Here are the ones that are complete:
The Red Sox are complete. Notable cards that look different from the '81 Topps flagship card are Carney Lansford and Frank Tanana (I apologize for the dimly lit pix, there was a storm going on when I took these. I sure wish my printer would talk to my laptop again).
The Cubs are complete. I owned just two of the Cubs cards before this Coke onslaught. There are several differences between these and the Topps cards, Ken Reitz, Dick Tidrow, Leon Durham and Steve Henderson.
Alley completed the entire Pirates set for me. I had none of the Coke Pirates a week ago.
The only White Sox Coke card I owned before was the Chet Lemon, which I just got like a month ago. I've wanted that Ron LeFlore card for a looooooooooooong time.
The Cards are complete, including that wonderful Bruce Sutter card. Lezcano and Sorensen have the tell-tale airbrush treatment as well.
The Phillies, meanwhile, were complete already, but I should show them off, too.
That leaves the Astros, Mets, Reds, Royals and Tigers as teams where I'm still missing a card.
Here are some key players that Alley sent from teams that aren't complete yet.
So, the seven players left are: Nolan Ryan, Kirk Gibson, Ken Griffey, George Brett, John Wathan, Frank White, Pat Zachry and Rusty Staub.
Ryan and Gibson might be toughies but I don't anticipate much of a problem with any that remain.
I actually used to have the Gibson -- two of them, in fact -- before foolishly trading them away.
Foolish, foolish, night owl. Didn't you know how much Coke cards made you smile?
But enough scolding.
I figured that this quest would take me at least the year but it may not take me more than another month or two.
Alley also sent a few Dodgers. She says more are on the way, along with those Coke team checklists that go with each team set.
Two Kershaws that I didn't have yet! Wooo!
My beverage choices these days are water, mostly, ice tea, coffee and beer. I don't miss soda/pop. And as long as there are Coke cards to collect, heck, even Pepsi cards to collect, I'm fine with that.