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


  1. If you ever wanted to know what the independent, macho man-about-town's fashion was like from 1975-1982, just dig up the year's Cramer-produced Phoenix Giants card of Ethan Blackaby. I'm tempted to try and collect all of them just for kicks.

  2. Surely we think alike... Blackaby is doubtlessly the anchor that roots the Phoenix Giants sets of the day, with perhaps the cigar-puffing Tommy Gonzalez coming in a distant second.