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

Monday, May 26, 2014

1981 Topps Football Red Border Stickers

Topps went full steam ahead with sports stickers in 1981, releasing a set of 262 Major League Baseball players and a set of 262 National Football League players. These stickers were sold in sealed packs of five, and an optional album was available to house them. 

A lesser-known football sticker set was also made available by Topps in 1981, which featured just 28 players (one per NFL team). Considered by some collectors to be a test issue, these somewhat scarce stickers feature red borders and a large, color photo of each player. Unlike the regular stickers mentioned above that were sold in packs of five, we believe these red border beauties were sold as singles inside small, plastic gumball machine containers. Many of the stickers we see today are in high-end condition, meaning they were never stuffed inside the capsules. 

Topps did a nice job with their player selection, including a balanced blend of young stars and superstar veterans. Hall of Fame wide receiver Art Monk is featured in his rookie card year, along with running backs Billy Sims and Joe Cribbs, and quarterback David Woodley. Hall of Famers Walter Payton, Tony Dorsett, James Lofton, Jack Youngblood, Franco Harris, Steve Largent and Lee Roy Selmon each contribute to the value of this oddball offering. A Joe Montana rookie sticker would have been a welcome addition indeed, but entering the 1981 NFL season Montana had only started seven games for the 49ers, making it understandable why Topps would instead choose veteran wide receiver Freddie Solomon to represent San Fransisco.

Red border stickers are the same size as their "regular" cousins, weighing in at 1 15/16 by 2 9/16 inches. Stickers are numbered 1 through 28 on the fronts and backs. Backs feature a small amount of biographical information and the 1981 copyright date. A light watermark from the MACtac Corporation of Soignies, Belgium can also be found on the backs of the stickers. Still going strong today, the graphics and label printing company continues to employ over 19,000 workers worldwide.

Ebay is a fairly accurate barometer to gauge how scarce an oddball set might be, especially when you keep an eye open over the course of weeks, months and years. A small hoard appeared on the site about a year ago (maybe ten or so sets), which allowed me to purchase my set for ten dollars delivered. With that event being long gone, complete sets seem to be elusive and offered in the $25 range. A nicely-centered Walter Payton could easily be worth $10 or more by itself.

Click here to find 1981 Topps Football Stickers on eBay

1. Steve Bartkowski, QB, Falcons
2. Bert Jones, QB, Colts
3. Joe Cribbs, RB, Bills
4. Walter Payton, RB, Bears
5. Ross Browner, DE, Bengals
6. Brian Sipe, QB, Browns
7. Tony Dorsett, RB, Cowboys
8. Randy Gradishar, MLB, Broncos
9. Billy Sims, RB, Lions
10. James Lofton, WR, Packers
11. Mike Barber, TE, Oilers
12. Art Still, DE, Chiefs
13. Jack Youngblood, DE, Rams
14. Dave Woodley, QB, Dolphins
15. Amhad Rashad, WR, Vikings
16. Russ Francis, TE, Patriots
17. Archie Manning, QB, Saints
18. Dave Jennings, P, Giants
19. Richard Todd, QB, Jets
20. Lester Hayes, CB, Raiders
21. Ron Jaworski, QB, Eagles
22. Franco Harris, RB, Steelers
23. Ottis Anderson, RB, Cardinals
24. John Jefferson, WR, Chargers
25. Freddie Solomon, WR, 49ers
26. Steve Largent, WR, Seahawks
27. Lee Roy Selmon, DE, Buccaneers
28. Art Monk, WR, Redskins

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

1982 Topps/Coca-Cola Cincinnati Reds Set

Who doesn't love Topps baseball cards from the 1980s? If you say "I don't," you can just walk your ass out of here and find something else to read. Perhaps you may wish to see how your favorite movie is faring at the box office. For the rest of us, great things await within the cards known as the 1982 Topps/Coca-Cola Cincinnati Reds set.

Consisting of 22 player cards and a header, the Reds were one of two MLB teams (the Red Sox were the other) that continued a regional card promotion with Coke for the second year in a row. These team sets were increased in size from twelve cards in 1981, to 23 cards in 1982. The design of the Coca-Cola cards are quite similar to the regularly-issued Topps baseball cards from the same year, with the most obvious difference being the large "Coca-Cola" logo found at the top of each card front. 

When comparing the fronts of several of the cards, the Coca-Cola logo is the only difference between the Coke set and regular Topps set. On others, however, major differences can be seen, to include different photos, different teams, different haircuts, and in the case of outfielder Clint Hurdle, all of the above.

Here at the Oddball Card Collector Blog, we've always been fascinated by oddball sets that went the extra mile to include updated teams and photos for players on the move. By our count six players here fit the bill, as in the regular 1982 Topps set Clint Hurdle was pictured with the Royals, Cesar Cedeno with the Astros, Greg Harris and Alex Trevino with the Mets, Wayne Krenchicki with the Orioles and Jim Kern with the Rangers. Another card worth noting is that of outfielder Paul Householder, who was forced to share the spotlight on three-player "Reds Future Stars" cards in both the regular '81 and '82 Topps sets.

A long-forgotten promotion can be found on the back of the header card:

For just five dollars, collectors could receive a full-sized, uncut sheet of 132 Topps baseball cards. Many of the sheets sent out in the promotion were considered printer "scrap," due to errors such as color runs and imbalances, register problems and wrong backs. To this day, it is common to find many of the uncut sheets from this era available for sale on Ebay that contain one or more of these printing flaws.

The set can usually be picked up for five dollars or less. Considering the likes of Johnny Bench, Tom Seaver and Dave Concepcion are found within the set, it's hard to see the downside of slipping one of these into your collection.

Click here to find Reds Coke Sets on eBay

1. Johnny Bench
2. Bruce Berenyi
3. Larry Biittner
4. Cesar Cedeno
5. Dave Concepcion
6. Dan Driessen
7. Greg Harris
8. Paul Householder
9. Tom Hume
10. Clint Hurdle
11. Jim Kern
12. Wayne Krenchicki
13. Rafael Landestoy
14. Charlie Leibrandt
15. Mike O'Berry
16. Ron Oester
17. Frank Pastore
18. Joe Price
19. Tom Seaver
20. Mario Soto
21. Alex Trevino
22. Mike Vail
Header Card

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

1992 Marathon Chicago Cubs

Some oddball sets are cooler than others. They just are. In this case, we'd say the 1992 Marathon Chicago Cubs set is the coolest of the cool.

Marathon Oil sponsored a Cubs set for five consecutive years, from 1989 through 1993. The 1992 issue features 28 cards and was given away at the July 10 game against the Atlanta Braves (John Smoltz pitched a complete-game shutout, out-dueling future teammate Greg Maddux in the process).

The large card size (4 1/2 by 2 7/8 inches) may be a turn-off for some collectors, but the design and large action photos across the fronts seem to work just fine in my opinion. Backs feature full minor league and major league statistics, as well as the player's birth date, height, weight and uniform number. The Cubs and
Marathon logos are found across the bottoms (An American Company Serving America!) The cards are not numbered.

Even casual baseball fans will be impressed by the many names found within this beaut of a set. Hall of Fame players Andre Dawson, Greg Maddux and Ryne Sandberg lead the list of superstars, while retired Hall of Famer Billy Williams makes an appearance on the coaches card. Joe Girardi, Shawon Dunston, Dwight Smith, Jerome Walton, Sammy Sosa and Mark Grace helped to fill a lineup that was truly impressive on paper, but in the end the club would finish with a paltry 78 wins versus 84 losses. The Braves were the biggest "thorn in the side" of the Cubs in 1992, with the Cubs winning just two of the twelve contests played against Atlanta that year.

We'd estimate the value of the set in the $5 to $8 range. Whatever you pay, consider it money well-spent... The "cool factor" of your collection will have just gone up substantially.

Click here to find Cubs SGA Sets on eBay

(1) Doug Strange, IF
(5) Jim Lefebvre, MGR
(6) Rey Sanchez, IF
(7) Joe Girardi, C
(8) Andre Dawson, OF
(10) Luis Salazar, IF
(12) Shawon Dunston, IF
(16) Jose Vizcaino, IF
(17) Mark Grace, IF
(18) Dwight Smith, OF
(19) Hector Villanueva, C
(20) Jerome Walton, OF
(21) Sammy Sosa, OF
(23) Ryne Sandberg, IF
(27) Derrick May, OF
(29) Doug Dascenzo, OF
(30) Bob Scanlan, P
(31) Greg Maddux, P
(32) Danny Jackson, P
(34) Ken Patterson, P
(35) Chuck McElroy, P
(36) Mike Morgan, P
(38) Jeff Robinson, P
(42) Dave Smith, P
(45) Paul Assenmacher, P
(47) Shawn Boskie, P
(49) Frank Castillo, P
Coaches Card
(41) Tom Trebelhorn, Bench Coach
(5) Chuck Cottier, Third Base Coach
(3) Jose Martinez, First Base Coach
(4) Billy Connors, Pitching Coordinator
(46) Sammy Ellis, Bullpen Coach
(26) Billy Williams, Hitting Instructor

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

1980 81 82 Tampa Rowdies Police Sets - How to Tell the Difference

The Tampa Rowdies soccer club was the subject of three police sets in the early 1980s. All three sets utilized a design format that was typical for safety sets of the time, with the fronts of all three being exactly the same. Here's a look at a card front from each:

I don't know about you, but I can't see much of a difference on the fronts. The key to discovering the year of issue lies on the backs of the cards, as there are subtle but unmistakeable differences. Each of the three years features a different set of sponsors listed on the back bottoms of the cards. Here they are:

You'll immediately notice that the 1980 set features two logos near the bottom, with the circular logo representing the Exchange Club of Tampa. This is the only year that the Exchange Club was a sponsor. In 1981, the two sponsors listed were the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Law Enforcement Council. Luckily, between the printings of the 1981 and 1982 sets, the Law Enforcement Council changed their name to the Community Security Council, with the 1982 set reflecting the name change accordingly.

We will spend more time detailing these sets in the future. These really are some great oddball cards that feature cards for players, cheerleaders (Wowdies), the band (Loudies), the stadium, and even mascot "Krazy George."

Click here to find Rowdies stuff on eBay

Monday, February 17, 2014

sellhelper2012 on Ebay -- One of the Best?

It's no secret to collectors that Ebay is the online place to go to find stuff. The good, the bad, the ugly, the GREAT... All right there on Ebay, at any given time.

With my hours upon hours of weekly searching for oddball cards on the site, I have come across one particular seller repeatedly -- sellhelper2012. He always seems to have older oddball sets that are scarce, and many of his sets are the only ones to be found on the entire site. I have personally purchased more than a few sets from this seller, and every set has been in beautiful condition. They have always arrived quickly and positive feedback has always been left.

It was time to find out who this guy was, and where these incredible cards were coming from.

Well, the Ebay seller's real name is Neal Kublin. According to Neal, he is selling the cards for an elderly man who began collecting back in 1974. Diagnosed with cancer that year, the man's Oncologist recommended that he find a hobby. That he did, and having a true passion for baseball, began visiting Minor League ballparks across the United States. This was around the time that
Mike Aronstein (co-founder of TCMA) began producing Minor League baseball cards. The man met Aronstein, caught the oddball collecting bug, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Card collecting was still considered a juvenile pursuit in the mid-1970s, with few adult collectors taking the time, effort and money to build such a large and diverse oddball collection those many years ago. This gentleman, however, was an exception who collected anything and everything card-related he could find. He established relationships with teams and the card companies themselves, building a collecting network that was second to none in the era of stamped letters and long-distance phone calls (no collect calls, please!) Jefferson Burdick himself was probably smiling from the heavens.

So what does all of this mean to you?

Well, you'll have to visit Neal's store and find out for yourself. Don't hesitate to send him a message if you don't find what you're looking for, as Neal has told me that tons of sets are still unlisted. He responds very quickly and is a true pleasure to deal with.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

1982 Milwaukee Brewers Police Set

The endless sponsor variations of Milwaukee Brewers police sets released from 1982 to the present make it virtually impossible to collect the entire run. There's little to no chance of completing a master collection.

I'm not joking. You'd have a better shot at spending the weekend with Selena Gomez.

The promotion began in 1982, which is the year we will focus on in this post. This first year of 1982 saw the printing of five sponsor variations. But before we get into that, let me mention the basics...

Brewers police sets typically consisted of 30 cards (the first exception wasn't until 1995, when the set had 33). Even though there were several different sponsors listed on the cards each year, the player selection and photos were always the same among the sets. Because of this, only the most dedicated of collectors are interested in the different sponsor variations, with most of them being single-player specialists. 

I have personally never seen a complete checklist for this run of Brewers sets, and the couple of hardcore collectors I know who are working on this herculean task are in no danger of completing their collections anytime soon. The Milwaukee Police Department is always the easiest sponsor to find (sometimes having 100,000 sets or more printed), while some of the more obscure departments may have printed as few as 500. 

Needle in a haystack? At best.

Focusing in on 1982 again, I know of five departments that participated in the inaugural promotion: Milwaukee PD, New Berlin PD, Brookfield PD, Wauwatosa PD and the Wisconsin State Fair Park Police. As usual, the Milwaukee PD version is the easiest of the five to find, with New Berlin, Brookfield and Wauwatosa being somewhere in the middle. And finding the Wisconsin State Fair Park Police set, you ask?

You'd have a better shot at spending the weekend with the girl at your school (or office) who looks
like Selena Gomez.

The scans above show three Robin Yount cards, each with a different sponsor printed across the bottom. As noted before, the photo and player selection is the same in each of the sets. Also shown here is a New Berlin back, which is how most of the 1982 backs appear (the Milwaukee PD backs have an extra badge graphic on theirs, if anyone cares).

The 1982 Milwaukee PD set is valued in the $10 to $15 range. It's hard to put a price on the others, due to both the limited supply and limited collector demand. In this type of tricky scenario you might see a set appear with a $5 Buy It Now on Ebay, or the same set might appear (and be sold) with a $50 Buy It Now. All I know is that I like collecting these, and will continue hunting down Brewers Police Sets at prices I can live with on a case by case basis.

Click here to find Brewers Police Sets on eBay

(4) Paul Molitor
(5) Ned Yost
(7) Don Money
(9) Larry Hisle
(10) Bob McClure
(11) Ed Romero
(13) Roy Howell
(15) Cecil Cooper
(17) Jim Gantner
(19) Robin Yount
(20) Gorman Thomas
(22) Charlie Moore
(23) Ted Simmons
(24) Ben Oglivie
(26) Kevin Bass
(28) Jamie Easterly
(29) Mark Brouhard
(30) Moose Haas
(34) Rollie Fingers
(35) Randy Lerch
(37) Buck Rodgers
(41) Jim Slaton
(45) Doug Jones
(46) Jerry Augustine
(47) Dwight Bernard
(48) Mike Caldwell
(50) Pete Vukovich
Team Photo/Roster
Harry Dalton, General Manager
Coaches (Pat Dobson, Larry Haney, Ron Hansen, Cal McLish, Buck Rodgers, Harry Warner)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

1987 Buffalo Bills Police Uncut Sheet

We love us some uncut sheets here at the Oddball Card Collector blog. These sheets allow us to see the details of a set that may have been previously unknown, such as which cards were double-printed. Sometimes sheets will feature scarce cards that were distributed in limited quantities (often because the player left the team). And maybe, if the planets happen to align, a sheet may contain a card that was withdrawn from the set altogether; undocumented cards of this nature are a "holy grail" for a small segment of hardcore collectors.

The uncut sheet we have chosen to highlight today contains the 1987 Buffalo Bills Police set. The sheet has nine rows of eight cards each, as shown below:

You can quickly see, based on the photo above, that each row contains an eight-card complete set. And what a great set this is. Defensive end Bruce Smith, head coach Marv Levy and quarterback Jim Kelly are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and we have a feeling that wide receiver Andre Reed will be joining them shortly (Edit: he did). While not a superstar, tight end Pete Metzelaars played 16 seasons in the NFL, ten of them with the Bills, and retired with the most games played by a tight end in NFL history (235). Punter John Kidd lasted 15 years in the league, linebacker Eugene Marve eleven, and defensive tackle Joe Devlin thirteen (all with the Bills). 

Here's a look at the full sheet... And yes, those are cassette tapes holding down the corners:

Ok, wait a minute.... Did you see that? On the top row?

Yep, that is indeed a solid row of nothing but glorious Jim Kelly cards. So, on a sheet that has nine rows, eight rows each feature a complete eight-card set, while one row features eight additional Jim Kelly cards. This is a classic example of a star card being "double printed." A way to visualize this would be to take the row of eight Kelly cards from the top of the sheet, and drop it to the right of Pete Metzelaars. Each of the eight rows would now have two Kellys per set -- hence, the double print.

The Kelly card has always seemed to be more plentiful than the others in this set, and this sheet confirms why. (One can find numerous Kelly singles on Ebay now, even as I type this.) Another classic example of a double-printed card from a police set is the Hank Aaron found in the 1981 Atlanta Braves set.

The focus of this post has been split between the set and the sheet itself, so we won't go into all the fine details regarding these cards. We will say, however, that this was the first of several Bills Police sets and is a must-have for football collectors. Sets should sell in the $7 to $10 range.

Click here to find 1987 Bills Police Cards on eBay

Saturday, January 25, 2014

1982 On Deck Cookies Discs (MSA)

If you've collected baseball cards for any amount of time, chances are you've run across one or more small baseball "discs" featuring colorful borders and black and white photos of star players. This style of disc was issued countless times by a company called Michael Schechter Associates (MSA) between the years of 1975 and 1985, and while the design itself was largely unchanged during this time, the variety of sponsors found on the backs of these discs are what keep hardcore collectors searching on their never-ending hunts. MSA produced sets for baseball, football and even basketball during this eleven-year period. Some MSA disc issues are about as common as dirt (1976 Isaly's Baseball Discs), while others are notably scarce (1976 Coca-Cola Chicago Bears Discs). 

Featured here is a 32-disc effort released by MSA and a company called "On Deck Cookies" in 1982. Sold primarily on the East Coast, one card was randomly packaged with a large cookie and typically sold in the 25 to 29 cent range. Nearly a dozen Hall of Famers can be found within the set, as well as Pete Rose and many other fan favorites of the early 1980s. The discs are not numbered, and the backs do not feature any information regarding the player pictured on the front.

The set was endorsed by the MLB Players Association, but not Major League Baseball; accordingly, no team logos are found on the player ball caps. This worked well for MSA, as many players were photographed wearing the uniforms of their former teams. Many of the photos were used on multiple MSA issues and were several years old by the time they were recycled for use in the 1982 On Deck set. "Vintage" player pictures include George Brett, Johnny Bench and Reggie Jackson, who is pictured wearing his Baltimore Orioles uniform from 1976!

Regarding the scarcity of the various MSA baseball disc sets produced during this time, the 1982 On Deck set is one of the tougher ones to find. An Ebay seller auctioned off several uncirculated sets a few years ago (we grabbed three of them), but the hobby apparently absorbed them without decreasing the long-term value. While complete sets do appear on Ebay from time to time, it is much more common to find random singles. We'd estimate the current value of the set at $35 to $50.

Click here to find On Deck Cookie Discs on eBay

(1) Buddy Bell, Rangers
(2) Johnny Bench, Reds
(3) Bruce Bochte, Mariners
(4) George Brett, Royals
(5) Bill Buckner, Cubs
(6) Rod Carew, Angels
(7) Steve Carlton, Phillies
(8) Cesar Cedeno, Reds
(9) Jack Clark, Giants
(10) Cecil Cooper, Brewers
(11) Bucky Dent, Yankees
(12) Carlton Fisk, White Sox
(13) Steve Garvey, Dodgers
(14) Rich Gossage, Yankees
(15) Mike Hargrove, Indians
(16) Keith Hernandez, Cardinals
(17) Bob Horner, Braves
(18) Reggie Jackson,Angels
(19) Steve Kemp, White Sox
(20) Ron LeFlore, White Sox
(21) Fred Lynn, Angels
(22) Lee Mazzilli, Rangers
(23) Eddie Murray, Orioles
(24) Mike Norris, A's
(25) Dave Parker, Pirates
(26) J.R. Richard, Astros
(27) Pete Rose, Phillies
(28) Mike Schmidt, Phillies
(29) Tom Seaver, Reds
(30) Willie Stargell, Pirates
(31) Roy Smalley, Yankees
(32) Garry Templeton, Cardinals

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

1975 Cramer Circle K Phoenix Giants

The 1975 Phoenix Giants team set was sponsored by Circle K Food Stores and produced by 22 year-old card collector Michael J. Cramer, the founder of Pacific Trading Cards. Pacific would go on to release numerous non-sports sets, as well as issues for the Major Indoor Soccer League, the National Football League and Major League Baseball. 

A complete set features 26 cards, including a card of PCL Manager of the Year Rocky Bridges, team General Manager Ethan Blackaby and a card of Cramer himself. As was typical for minor league cards at the time, they were printed in black and white and featured a simple design on the fronts. Backs were uncluttered yet informative, featuring both minor league and major league statistics for the players. Cards are numbered on the lower fronts, and also feature each player's uniform number on the back (information that is difficult to find even today on the internet). 

A slew of soon-to-be and already-were major leaguers appear in this issue. Of note, catcher Mike Sadek would spend parts of eight seasons with the parent Giants club. Fan-favorite Greg Minton would pitch in the majors for 16 seasons, including an All-Star appearance with the Giants in 1982. Lefty hurler Bob Knepper would spend 15 years in the big show, grabbing two All-Star appearances with the Astros in 1981 and 1988. Outfielder Larry Herndon would play in 1,537 MLB contests, amassing 5,319 plate appearances along the way.

I can't recall ever hearing of the number of '75 Phoenix sets produced, but I'd venture to guess that no more than 5,000 were printed -- I could be wrong and on the low side with my estimate, but minor league team sets were not widely collected in the mid-1970s. As a matter of fact, these types of sets were usually printed in quantities of 1,000 or less! With that being said, the value of the '75 Phoenix set is considerably lower than other minor league sets of the day, which leads me to believe that more copies of the Phoenix set exist.

A copy of the set is indeed easy to find today (as of this writing several sets are available on eBay at reasonable Buy It Now prices). Sets are valued in the $10 to $15 range. 

Click here to find Phoenix Giants Sets on eBay

1. Rocky Bridges, Manager (Unif. #26)
2. Jack Mull, Catcher (10)
3. Mike Sadek, Catcher (20)
4. Bob Nolan, Pitcher (18)
5. Tony Gonzalez, Pitcher (22)
6. Ed Sukla, Pitcher (27)
7. Don Rose, Pitcher (30)
8. Greg Minton, Pitcher (31)
9. Tom Bradley, Pitcher (33)
10. Bob Knepper, Pitcher (34)
11. Rob Dressler, Pitcher (37)
12. Johnny Lemaster, Infield (2)
13. Glen Redmon, Infield (12)
14. Skip James, Infield (15)
15. Bruce Christensen, Infield  (17)
16. Mike Eden, Infield (19)
17. Tom Heintzelman, Infield (23)
18. Tony Pepper, Infield (35)
19. Jim Williams, Outfield (9)
20. Larry Herndon, Outfield (11)
21. Leon Brown, Outfield (16)
22. Horace Speed, Outfield (20)
23. Frank Johnson, Outfield (24)
24. Harry K. Jordan, Trainer
25. Ethan Blackaby, General Manager
26. Michael J. Cramer, Sports Collector

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

1988/89 B.Y.U. Cougars Basketball

The Oddball Card Collector gets excited when he finds serial numbered sets from the 1980s. He gets equally excited when he finds sets from the 1980s that had a limited run of 5,000 or less. When he finds a set from that decade that is serial numbered and limited to 5,000 or less, he buys early and buys often.

The 1988/89 Brigham Young University Cougars basketball issue is of course one of these forementioned sets. Featuring 25 cards and sold in a clear PVC pack, a serial number is found on the backside of the packaging header (as pictured). The last card in the set states that "BYU has authorized 5,000 sets printed for the 1988-1989 season." The cards are numbered on the backs, along with a substantial amount of personal info, statistics and a team schedule. We assume these sets were sold on the B.Y.U. campus and basketball games, and possibly through local-area card shops.

Pretty much all of the bases are covered with this issue as the players, coaches, a team photo and several action cards add to the 25-card roster. Star Michael Smith can be found on fours cards; his "regular" card, two action cards and the team photo. He would go on to play for the Celtics and Clippers in the NBA, and today is a color commentator for the Clippers with fellow announcer Ralph Lawler.

Junior guard Marty Haws is featured on five cards, thanks to his inclusion on three action cards. Heavily recruited by several football schools, the talented Haws ran the 40-yard in 4.4 seconds. His son, Tyler, recently finished his junior season with the Cougars and has passed his dad on the B.Y.U. all-time scoring list.

Ladell Andersen is represented during his final year as the head coach, a position he held since the 1983/84 season. A card is also here for longtime assistant Roger Reid, who would succeed Andersen as head coach the following year and hold the position for the next seven seasons.

This set does not appear very often; but like most sets of this nature, the waiting game usually pays off with a little patience and regular searching. Our educated guess puts the value of an unopened set in the $10 to $15 range.

Click here to find BYU Cougar Cards on eBay

1. Team Photo
2. Michael Smith, Fwd/Ctr
3. Alan Frampton, Guard
4. Alan Astle, Guard/Fwd
5. Mike Herring, Guard
6. Mark Heslop, Guard
7. Steve Andrus, Ctr/Fwd
8. Steve Schreiner, Fwd/Ctr
9. Andy Toolsen, Guard/Fwd
10. Vince Bryan, Forward
11. Marty Haws, Guard
12. Kevin Santiago, Guard
13. David Wolfe, Fwd/Ctr
14. John Fish, Fwd/Ctr
15. Carl Ingersoll, Asst. Coach
16. Roger Reid, Head Coach
17. Ladell Andersen, Asst. Coach
18. Alan Astle (Action)
19. Marty Haws (Action)
20. Michael Smith (Action)
21. Michael Smith (Action)
22. Marty Haws (Action)
23. Andy Toolsen (Action)
24. Marty Haws (Action)
25. 1988/89 BYU Basketball Header

Friday, January 3, 2014

On Schedule(s): 1980-85 Los Angeles Rams

You may not have an interest in collecting examples of every sports schedule ever printed (a true fool's errand, indeed), but you can certainly have success -- and show steady, measurable progress -- while collecting the schedules of your favorite team or league. Pulled from the depths of our shoebox, we hereby randomly present a consecutive run of Los Angeles Rams pocket schedules, printed for the 1980 through 1985 seasons.

Beautiful, colorful, borderless photos are the trademark of these issues. The 1980 schedule features a painting of 1,000 yard rusher Wendell Tyler, inexplicably trying to avoid being tackled by a member of the USFL's New Jersey Generals (a team that would not exist for another three years). 

Actual game photos were used on the fronts from 1981 onward. The '81 release shows linebacker Jim Andrews (52), with a host of other Rams defenders, coming out of their stances for an all-out blitz. 

Hall of Fame Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett is tackled for a loss on the '82 sked, with defensive tackle Phil Murphy (95) and linebacker Howard Carson (54) getting their time in the spotlight. 

Starting quarterback Vince Ferragamo (15) is pictured on the '83, with Dennis Harrah (60), Hall of Famer Jackie Slater (78) and Preston Dennard (88, far left) lining up for a play against the Saints. 

All-world running back Eric Dickerson earns his place as the lone player on the 1984 schedule.

Finally, the '85 release pictures three Rams defenders preparing for the next down. Nose tackle Greg Meisner (69), linebacker Jim Collins (50) and linebacker Mel Owens (58) get the nod this year.

And now for the backs:

Three of the schedules (1980, 1984, 1985) feature sponsors whose advertising does not mention a specific location, while the other three do. The 1981 schedule mentions Toyota dealerships in Santa Ana and Anaheim, and the 1982 version lists three branches of Heritage Bank. The 1983 schedule is a bit puzzling, as the sponsor on the back is located in Orlando, Florida! (but their skin care products were sold in Southern California). 

Schedules such as these often have a variety of different sponsors printed on the backs, with many variations escaping detection by the hardcore collectors who are attempting to checklist them. The seemingly endless variations, and the inability to catalogue them, are why many team collectors aren't concerned with collecting schedules.

All of the schedules pictured above were folded in half (bi-fold) except for the 1984, which was longer and folded into thirds (tri-fold). The third panel on that 1984 sked is a Ralph's coupon that could be used to save 25 cents on Chunk Cheese at the deli! The photo above pictures the inside of the 1982 schedule, which wound up being a strike-shortened season.

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