Thursday, June 20, 2013

1980-81 Arizona Wildcats Basketball

The Wildcats basketball team were featured on their first police card issue during the 1980/81 season. A large color, borderless, posed photo dominates the front of each card, with a white stripe across the bottom stating the player's uniform number and name. Card backs feature a short player bio, a basketball term and safety tip. Sponsors are listed at the bottom: Golden Eagle Distributors, Mr. Bill Clements President and the Tucson Police Department. Cards are not numbered, with the exception of player uniform numbers.

Ten-year Wildcats head coach Fred Snowden is probably the best-known name in the set. Two cards (Greg Cook and David Mosebar) were pulled before distribution and are extremely scarce -- fortunately, we somehow grabbed examples of both for our collection, and I'll try to add scans of them when I dig them out. Because the two "short prints" were never officially distributed, many collectors consider the set complete at 17 cards.

The cards are not easy to find. A lack of big names keeps the value modest, probably in the $25 to $30 range for a set without the two short prints. A set with the short prints (19 cards) might sell in the $100 range, in the unlikely event that one comes up for sale.

It is interesting to note that the design of the Arizona sets (basketball, football and baseball) changed very little during their run of ten-plus years. To make matters worse, the first two basketball sets were printed without any mention of the year of issue. One way to distinguish the two years is by looking at the player's uniform number and name across the front bottom of the card. The 1981/82 set features a black circle between the number and name, while the inaugural 1980/81 set features nothing but a space. In addition, the backs of the 1981/82 set give the Golden Eagle business address at the bottom (705 E. Ajo Way).

Click here to find Wildcats Police Cards on eBay

(10) Russell Brown, G
(12) Ricky Walker, G
(14) John Smith, G
(15) Ron Davis, F
(21) Robbie Dosty, F
(24) Jeff Collins, G
(31) Frank Smith, F
(34) Harvey Thompson, G
(35) Donald Mellon, F
(41) Jack Magno, F
(52) Charles Miller, F
(55) John Belobraydic, F
Greg Cook (Short Print)
David Mosebar (Short Print)
Mike Frink, Asst. Coach
Len Gordy, Asst. Coach
Mike Green, Asst. Coach
Fred Snowden, Head Coach
Ernie Valenzuela, Equip. Mgr.


  1. How do I get a set. Just found this on the net and i played on this team.

  2. Hi Frank, I have an extra set that doesn't have the Cook or Mosebar shortprinted cards. Email me at

    Nice to hear from a player!