Saturday, May 31, 2014

1979 San Francisco Giants Police

The modern era of police giveaway sets featuring athletes began in 1977/78, with the release of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball set. One of the first baseball examples is the 1979 San Francisco Giants set, which was issued both as a stadium promotion and a giveaway by police officers in the San Francisco area.

The Giants released two very similar sets, in 1979 and 1980. Neither set lists a year of issue, and both appear very similar on the fronts and backs. The easiest way to tell the difference is to look at the player's name and position listed on the front. The 1979 cards feature this information in thin font, while the 1980 cards list the info in bold font. In addition, the 1980 cards feature the player's name in an italicized font. One final, easy-to-spot difference is that the 1979 cards feature the player's uniform number with the "#" symbol, while the 1980 cards do not.

Here's a look at the Willie McCovey card from both sets:

Both sets were sponsored by KNBR 68 radio, and feature baseball terms and safety tips on card backs. The 1979 set is complete at 30 cards, which includes a manager card and four coaches cards. Fronts feature color photos taken by longtime Giants and 49ers photographer Dennis Desprois. Cards are not numbered except for player uniform numbers.

Loaded with all the big and small names of the day, baseball fans will be happy to find the likes of Willie McCovey, Jack Clark, Vida Blue, Bill Madlock and Darrell Evans within their 1979 set. More than enough sets were printed to handle today's demand, and a complete set should cost no more than ten dollars in the current market.

Click here to find Giants Police Sets on eBay

(1) Dave Bristol, Manager
(2) Marc Hill, Catcher
(3) Mike Sadek, Catcher
(5) Tom Haller, Coach
(6) Joe Altobelli, Manager
(8) Larry Shepard, Coach
(9) Heity Cruz, Outfielder
(10) Johnny LeMaster, Infielder
(12) Jim Davenport, Coach
(14) Vida Blue, Pitcher
(15) Mike Ivie, Infielder
(16) Roger Metzger, Infielder
(17) Randy Moffitt, Pitcher
(18) Bill Madlock, Infielder
(21) Rob Andrews, Infielder
(22) Jack Clark, Outfielder
(25) Dave Roberts, Pitcher
(26) John Montefusco, Pitcher
(28) Ed Halicki, Pitcher
(30) John Tamargo, Catcher
(31) Larry Herndon, Outfielder
(36) Bill North, Outfielder
(39) Bob Knepper, Pitcher
(40) John Curtis, Pitcher
(41) Darrell Evans, Infielder
(43) Tom Griffin, Pitcher
(44) Willie McCovey, Infielder
(45) Terry Whitfield, Outfielder
(46) Gary Lavelle, Pitcher
(49) Max Venable, Outfielder


  1. I never lived in a big city as a kid--how exactly were police sets distributed. Would a kid have to make 30 contacts with the police during the season and then hope for perfect collation? Or did cops give out full sets? Or something in between?

  2. The typical method in the 1980s was to give away complete sets as a promotion at a home game, and to also have police officers distribute the cards throughout the season (usually one to three different cards per week, depending on the size of the set). I remember growing up in Houston back in 1980, the year the HPD gave away the Oilers cards... I never had the nerve to flag down a police car just to ask for some!