Sunday, April 5, 2015

1988 Tastykake Philadelphia Phillies Set

The Tasty Baking Company, otherwise referred to as Tastykake, partnered with the Phillies for many years and their logo can be found on pocket schedules dating back to at least the early 1960s. The relationship arguably peaked in the 1980s, with Tastykake sponsoring stadium giveaways such as baseball gloves, Phillie Phanatic dolls, different styles of tote bags, and of course... Baseball cards.

From what I can tell, the Tastykake Phillies card sets were issued yearly from 1982 to 1989. The cards were always larger than the standard baseball card size, and were particularly large in 1988, measuring a whopping 4-7/8 by 6-1/4 inches -- if they were any larger they might be considered photos instead of cards, but these do have player statistics and other information printed on the backs. While the methods of distribution may have varied over the years, we're thinking the cards issued from 1984 to 1989 were primarily given away or sold at The Vet (the Phillies' ballpark, not the place where Toto is taken with a fever). We also believe that most of these sets were issued complete and shrink-wrapped in clear plastic, a form in which these sets can still be readily found today.

True fans and collectors should love sets of this nature, as they not only go deep into the team rosters, but also include a few special cards as well -- i.e. all of the team coaches, a team photo, and the Phillie Phanatic riding a four wheeler. Another interesting find in the '88 issue is a "Phillies Prospects" card, which features eight up-and-comers in the Philly system. In hindsight, we now know that none of these guys would achieve much at the Major League level, with outfielder Ron Jones winning the MLB longevity prize (97 Games, 264 PA, 13 HR, 40 RBI, .272 BA). Another card that caught our attention features veteran infielder Bill Almon, who is shown at the end of his fifteen-year MLB career. He was traded to Philadelphia shortly before the season began, and managed to sneak in to 20 games with the Phillies before being released on June 16; this might be the only card made of Almon in a Phillies uniform.

As mentioned before, card backs do feature player statistics and biographical information -- did you know that catcher Darren Daulton was chosen in the lowly 25th round of the June, 1980 draft? The thirty cards found in this set are not numbered except for uniform numbers, and were printed on thin, soft white card stock. Because most of these cards were tightly shrink-wrapped, many of them may show some wear on their unreasonably finicky corners.

While these cards may be under appreciated by the majority of the collecting universe, there are of course the contrarian, die-hard fans who love 'em.  Count me in. The Tastys are not rare, but they're somewhat hard to find when compared to the glut of other late 1980s baseball releases one must trudge through whilst on the hunt. With the spotlight being long since unplugged, you can grab a shrink wrapped set these days for ten dollars or less.

Click here to find Tastykake Phillies Cards on eBay

(4) Lee Elia, MGR
(8) Juan Samuel, 2B
(9) Von Hayes, 1B
(10) Darren Daulton, C
(13) Lance Parrish, C
(15) Bill Almon, INF
 (16) Luis Aguayo, INF
(18) Chris James, OF
(19) Mike Young, OF
(20) Mike Schmidt, 3B
 (21) Greg Gross, OF/1B
(22) Bob Dernier, OF
(24) Milt Thompson, CF
(27) Kent Tekulve, P
(28) Shane Rawley, P
(29) Phil Bradley, OF
(30) Steve Jeltz, SS
(31) Jeff Calhoun, P
(38) Wally Ritchie, P
(40) Steve Bedrosian, P
(42) Don Carman, P
(44) Mike Maddux, P
(45) David Palmer, P
(46) Kevin Gross, P
(47) Bruce Ruffin, P
(52) Todd Frohwirth, P
Phillies Prospects (Tom Barrett, Brad Brink, Steve DeAngelis, Ron Jones, Keith Miller, Brad Moore, Howard Nichols, Shane Turner)
Coaching Staff (Claude Osteen, Del Unser, John Vuckovich, Dave Bristol, Tony Taylor, Mike Ryan)
The Phillie Phanatic
The 1988 Philadelphia Phillies (Team Photo) 


  1. Over on The Phillies Room blog, your host there, Jim, has a detailed discussion of this set ( and the other Tastykake sets, plus the pre-1982 team-issued sets that these cards evolved from, and the post-1989 sets that they morphed into. After two years without a sponsor, the next sponsor was Medford, and then they once again became (as they used to say in radio) sustaining, or without sponsors, and they remain that way today. This year marks the 46th straight season the Phillies have put out a team-issued set, the last 33 of those available to purchase at the park.

    Also, lot of the Tastykake sets had updates issued later in the season that were usually, but not always, sold as separate wrapped or loose sets at the stadium. This 1988 set had its own 9-card update set that is listed at that Phillies Room link. This set is definitely the largest set in terms of card dimensions that Tastykake sponsored. 1982-87 sets were 3.5" x 5.25" (1982 itself may have been slightly narrower), and in 1989 they shrank to 4.125" x 6"--just enough to prevent them from going into sheets with 4" x 6" pockets.

    Keep up the enjoyable posts here!

  2. Thanks, Steve! Looks like the Phillies Room is a must-link, so I'll drop Jim a note.... Looks like the Phillies are well-covered when it comes to their cards and collectors! Do you have a site or blog yourself?

    1. No, I'm just a frequent reader and contributor to others. Maybe someday--I'll let you know if I do. I enjoy reading yours.

    2. Well thanks for stopping by. Will probably have a new post up in a day or so...