Quite the Sox Oddball

Hello all, been a while since I blogged but I felt todays pick up required some background info and it would be harder to do so through my usual Twitter feed. The newest addition to my Red Sox collection, is a card I remember reading about while looking for test issues to add to my 80’s Oddball Collection but didn’t know a Sox existed.

1985 Topps/OPC Mini #65 Bill Buckner

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Wait—what? 1985 Topps mini? Yup your heard me right. Topps DID produce … err O-Pee-Chee did produce … whoa, whoa, whoa. A Topps/O-Pee-Chee mini???

These cards were never actually released for public sale, but somehow managed to sneak out into the collecting world. Allegedly a result of O-Pee-Chee’s testing of new printing equipment, an undersized “set” of 132 cards (the number of cards traditionally found on a single sheet) were printed. These minis are about 10% smaller than the typical Topps card and on brighter paper than the typical cards. The result is a smaller card, more vibrant and reminiscent of some of the “premium” cards that would become the standard in the hobby half a dozen years later.

The 132 cards with completed backs are identical in format to their 1985 regular counterparts. I have read that only about 100 of each of these cards are thought to exist with blank backs thought to be numbered less than 20 per card.

There is speculation that all the 1985 Topps Minis were discarded in uncut sheet form, and subsequently professionally cut. One school of thought suggests that the cards were indeed factory cut. Another suggests a small amount of cards were actually issued in packs. A former O Pee Chee employee, suggests that the cards were never cut at the factory at all, meaning all the cards in the hobby were cut after the fact. As if this mystery doesn’t get any deeper, you can also find these minis in blank backs (tan and white) AND “Red” backs in which only the red ink is printed (no green ink).

In my research of trying to figure out these minis, I can across the following posts from Net54Baseball.com:

“I have a handful of these cards. I’m almost positive I bought them at a local Tom Thumb in Maple Grove, MN”

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“If they were sold at retail in the US that would be worth knowing and new info. By all accounts they were produced in Canada and never retailed here. In putting my two sets together I had to buy most of mine through Canadian sellers … My info about the 100 or less comes from SCD and several other hobby sources. I do know the blank backs are much tougher than the regular backs, and the red only backs toughest of all.”

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One of the sellers promoting 1985 mini’s indicates that he has correspondence from Topps which, in part confirms that more than 130 sets were issued. By his accounting Topps hired O-Pee-Chee to make the mini-test set. OPC then sold among other things, 210 sheets to a scrapper, which then sold 110 of the 132-card “sets” to a Long Island dealer. The dealer then cut the sheets in to cards.

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By the dealers account, the sheets may have included 3 color progressive proofs, later shown to exist—which presumably may be where your red backs came from.

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He also indicates that the cards were printed on normal OPC “white” stock or regular Topps cardboard stock—possibly explaining the 2 types of blank backs (tan AND gray cardboard). Other accounts in a previous thread indicate some of the sheets were thrown away and retrieved from dumpsters due to smeared ink, etc.

And yet MORE info from the auction I won:

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Comparing the two

I happened to have a regular 1985 Topps Buckner in my collection, so it makes for a perfect side-by-side comparison. As you can clearly see, the mini is slightly smaller than it’s flagship counterpart and the back is lighter as you would find on O-Pee-Chee stock from the time period. Notice more paper fibers in the regular Topps card (bottom card), where as the mini appears smooth. One thing I noticed right away is how deep the solid colors are—the red and blue team band just pops on the mini.

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Here is another image I found on the Net54Baseball.com board showing three different backs to these minis; blank (tan), red ink, mini test.

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I’d love to land a blank back or red ink version, but those are pretty pricey. There are a couple Jim Rice PSA graded blank backs on eBay right now, but those are close to $600. But of course, in the meantime, I need to grab another mini and a blank back for that 80’s Oddball Collection because the 1985 Topps/OPC Mini truly is, an oddball with many tales.

Thank you for reading and let me know if you have any of these minis and/or you have come across them in your collecting travels.

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Picking Up My Sox

Soccer season is about to take up both Saturdays and Sundays and so it was good to able to steal a couple minutes at the LCS in between soccer games on Saturday. The quick trip yielded a pick up another Sox oddball piece along with a couple of ’17 Heritage commons.

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1977 Pepsi-Cola Baseball Stars Carl Yastrzemski

The above Yaz disc card/glove tag is from the 1977 Pepsi-Cola Baseball Stars set that consisted of 72 discs that measure 3-3/8” in diameter, and  approximately 9 1/8” x 4 3/4” still intact with the checklist, T-Shirt offer insert card. There are five color variation of each the Reggie Jackson, and the Mike Schmidt discs bring the total to 80 cards.

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The disc, to be removed, was attached to the baseball glove portion of a checklist, and T-Shirt offer, which was inserted into cartons of Pepsi-Cola. The card (disc) has a higher collectors value attached to the original insert. The back has a send away offer, for a Personalized T-shirt with your name on it. Pete rose is used as an example, and you can also send away for Rico Carty, Joe Morgan, and Rick Manning.

Hmm I bet those Rico Carty shirts were the sh#t!! I’d like to know who was the marketing brains behind this offer. In any case, was happy with this $5 pick up that’ll look nice in the Red Sox oddball album. Believe it or not, this disc is my first from those ’70s MLBPA issues so if anyone has some, I’ll gladly trade for ’em. Thank you for reading!

Flashback Friday: Rubbing one out

Wait?! Dude what did you just say? Man, that kind of week where it’s been go-go-go. Thankfully I did not add the stress of doing March Madness Brackets — for the second year in a row. It’s refreshing and I still find the games entertaining.

So I originally had another post ready for this Flashback Friday, but I spent half the afternoon on Twitter reminiscing with @DubMentality, @basecardhero, @CardJunk, @waxtopia, and @robbyt86 on all the cool 1980’s oddball box sets that years ago couldn’t be given away, but now are popular with us 40 year olds. All that talk about Topps KMart, Revco, Circle K, Fleer Walgreens, Fleer Baseball’s Best … got me to change my post to this set from the 80’s.

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About a month ago, while I was rounding up all my 80’s cards to make an 80’s album, I picked up these two packs of 1984 Topps Rub-Downs. I currently only had a 1984 Jim Rice and a 1985 Don Mattingly in my possession and was eager to add more. It was a modern spin off from the 1966 Topps Rub Offs Set that I highlighted a couple of days ago (see Bill Monboquette).

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Here’s a look at the first pack, including the remnants of the 33 stick of gum — and no I did not eat it as well as the instructions card. While it was great to land Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, this was the Jim Rice I had, but I’ll just put this into my Red Sox Oddball album. This pack also shows that while one sheet had three players, the second sheet carried four.

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Here’s the two sheets from pack number two — both sheets contain four players. Ex-Sox players Carney Lansford and Jack Clark mark some interest for me on these.

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And lastly, the set checklist which could be found on the flip side of the instruction card. The 1984 Topps Rub-Downs was a 32-sheet set featuring 112 different players. The images on each sheet could be transferred (permanently) onto another surface by rubbing the opposite side with a coin. Measuring 2 3/8″ x 3 15/16″, each pack contains two sheets of rub-downs, featuring three to four players along with images of baseball equipment on each sheet, and one glorious piece of pink heaven. Topps would also produce a similar set the following year.

Thank you to guys on Twitter this afternoon, it was a great to share thoughts on those 80’s sets. Good luck to all in your card searching this weekend whether it’s for trade packages, supporting LCSs, or taking in a card show or two. Thank you for reading and happy collecting!

The Trade — That Finally Happened

Serious, I think this trade started three plus years ago when I was at my old Blogger Off the Wall site. Scott over at I need new hobbies and I rekindled this deal this winter as I got back to blogging here on the WordPress site and thank God he did. You can see what I sent him here on his site.

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I’m going to break this into two sections as there were a boatload of cards. I think the USPS transported close to ten pounds of cards between the two of us. The above image captures all the non-Red Sox cards and as you can see, there’s quite a mix going on here.

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Leading off — some vintage sets needs. Another card for my in progress 1955 Bowman set (Shuba), five 1968 Topps and two more cards for my birth year (’73) set.

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As you can see, Scott was able to help my complete this page of All-Star awesomeness thanks to Orlanado Cepeda and Brooks Robinson. Just like the newly released 2017 Topps Heritage, these All-Star cards look sharp.

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Angel Mangual’s 1973 Topps help complete this great page featuring the last card of Denny McLain and the 70’s card classic of Luis Alvarado. We got lamb chops, airbrushed trades, and spring training shots featuring classic muscle cars!

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Moving down the timeline, a bunch of Fleer Star Stickers, top row is from 1981 while the bottom row are from 1986. Gotta think Night Owl has to find that ’81 night shot of Eddie Murray at Yankee Stadium. Often I find the photographs on the star stickers better than the shot they chose for the flagship issue.

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Some more 80’s Fleer magic here in the form of the hard to find All-Stars of Brett and Tudor to the box set craziness that hit the junk wax era like a plague. Scott also found me another Starting Lineup card too.

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Foodies eat your heart out! 70’s Hostess and Kellogg’s, 80’s Drakes and Ralston Purina Cereal, and a Mother’s Cookie card I freed from a cracked PSA case. Love the food issues! It’s about time I updated these lists too.

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Next up, some cool Heritage insert cards. Big fan of the “Then & Now” inserts that have been in this product line.

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And now we reach the second portion of the trade package — the Red Sox haul!! While I can’t show everything, there were a boat load in these stacks that I had never seen before. This is why trades are full of surprises … there is so much out there that no one can possibly buy everything, so it’s great when brands you never buy, show up in trades.

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Highlighting some cards here I found cool. The 1992 Score insert set of Yaz is a great get! I’ve seen many times but never picked one up for myself. Love the 1974 Topps Fisk and those horizontal shot common in the ’73 & ’74 Topps sets. The Rice rookie is trimmed according to Scott — doesn’t matter to me — works fine for my Rice pages.

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Next up where probably the favorites in the entire box as I don’t have either line. The Bill Monbouquette is from the 1966 Topps Rub Offs set. This cool issue measures 2-1/6” by 3”and featured 100 players and 20 team pennants. They were printed in rolls of 20 and are unnumbered. The 1966 Topps Rub-Offs are often mis-cut, resulting in bad centering.

The two black and white cards of Lee Stange and Jose Tartabull come from the 1969 Milton Bradley Set. Very cool cards Scott!!

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Next, some Nomahs … these were some of my favorites. The bottom row are cards I have never come across, especially the Pacific “stamp” die cut and the Topps Metal card.

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And to close, one of my favorite all time Red Sox, Pedro Martinez. Scott culled a great assortment here but I have one question in regards to the two 2000 Pacific card at top left and center. Both llok like they are from the same set, the backs are identical as is the card number … but is it a variation or something?

Thank you again Scott — pretty crazy that this took so long but that was one hellava trade we pulled off. A LOT OF CARDS crossed paths and a lot a needs were crossed off.

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So in between finally writing this post, working from home, and watching the snow fall outside, I’m working on eight trade packages that should go out in the mail before the weekend. Great stuff going all over the place.

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Speaking of trades and want lists, I added some items to Wants/Red Sox including post cards (don’t have to be signed), yearbooks, and programs. Really, anything that is a flat item and would fit in a 8 x 10″ or 8-1/2 x 11″ sheet in an album. Also looking for cards of some Red Sox players that for some reason I liked but maybe weren’t stars. So if you can help, please hit me up and let’s work out a deal. Thank you for reading and stay safe and warm out there fellow readers in the middle of this Winter Storm Stella.

Sox Madness from Cardboard Hogs

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Today’s trade post comes from Ken over at Cardboard Hogs. This package was loaded with Sox cards and probably ranks in my top three Red Sox packages that I’ve received! With that, lets jump in (and into Spring as it’ll be 65 degrees in the metro Boston area today!)…

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Leading off, some Sox vintage including a 1966 buyback. The 1968 Topps George Scott will go into my ’68 Topps set album as I’m positive this was is in much better condition!

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Next up, some of my Sox favorites that I am putting pages together of. The 2017 Moncada card is perfect in that this card crosses his name off of my All-Time Red Sox collection. I absolutely love the shot of a diving Mookie on that Stadium Club!!

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Here’s another card to cross off for the All-Time Collection — Andrew Benintendi! Two needs right off the bat — thanks Ken!!! The rest of the grouping is some Heritage Chrome madness and a mini Bowman Chrome of the Rafeal Devers, the third baseman of the future. I haven’t bought a Bowman pack in probably six years so I had no idea they did minis — pretty sweet!

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Next up, Big Papi and LOOK!!! It’s a 2015 Topps Heritage Action variation card short print!!! This package just keeps getting better …

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Sox relics!!!! I thought people had sent all the cool stuff to Mark Hoyle, Shane at Shoebox Legends, and the Sox Fan in Nebraska. Thanks Ken!!! As I have mentioned in the past, I love the Heritage relics that it’s great to land three here. This is my first auto of Matt Barnes, so that’s pretty cool. The Gold Pedroia I have never seen before but it’s pretty damn cool — and heavy.

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Following all those awesome Red Sox cards was how this trade first came about. Ken was working on a couple of Heritage sets of his ow and I was able to fill a number of short prints and he was able to do the same.

Well boy did Ken do that! I have been working on the 2014 Topps Heritage set, but haven’t filled a need for this in easily a year. I have all the base (I believe) but of course it’s the short prints I need. With this trade, I was able to cross off 16 short prints. The really awesome thing is, the three above — Cabrera, Darvish, and Verlander (I love you Kate Upton) are of the action photo variations!!!

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Here is the rest of the 2014 Heritage short prints in the package. One of these days I ‘ll complete this. With the show I just attended, I was able to cross off another of these SPs in Nolan Arenado. Not bad, 17 SPs crossed off in a span of three days.

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And to wrap up all this awesomeness, I also received a partial set of 1988 Topps United Kingdom Mini set for my 1980s album. The UK Minis is an 88-card “American Baseball” set released exclusively to the British market. Each card measures 2 1/8″ X 3″, or about the size of a 1975 Topps mini.

Man, awesome, awesome trade package Ken — I hope you were just as happy with you as I was with this one — really hope we can do it again down the road! On that note, time to step outside and soak up some sun while it’s nice out. Thank you for reading kids!

Oddball Mania with Collating Cards

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Ahh it almost feels like Spring here in New England, and with that, the first Grapefruit games will be on TV and radio this coming weekend. Today’s post is one I received last week from Steve at Collating Cards! I had sent him a bunch of cards for his various set needs and the above is what came back my way. He is one of several great trade partners I have connected with via Twitter.

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Now I preface this post with I AM A RED SOX FAN, just want to be clear as many of these cards are Braves. And while they may be a bunch of Braves cards here in the package, they all hit my various wants right now which is fine with me! The above are a variety of Topps Heritage Relics. Plain and simple — I love the Heritage line for the look and feel, the photography, the inserts, box loader, sample panels … everything. And while the Heritage products are a bitch to put a set together, it’s not stopping me from putting together an album of my favorite cards from the line (2001 – present). My two favorites from this lot are the 1962 Carlos Santana as the only other relic from this year I have is Ichiro. The other is the Julio Teheran as that is from a retro flannel-like jersey.

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Next up, the first of many Topps archives inserts and one Topps Lineage Hank Aaron “1964 Stand Up.” I love the original Stand Up set and this is my first from the Lineage product. I like the Tall Ball of Otis Nixon as well, since that is my first of this insert too.

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Next up, more inserts from both the Archives and Lineage in the form of “1969 Deckle Edge.” I have a feeling the 1968 Topps Game card will get more run a couple weeks from now when the 2017 Topps Heritage (1968 burlaps) rolls out.

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The last group of Topps Archives inserts … “1977 Cloth Stickers.” I went from having a couple cards to now two pages worth.

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One item that Steve mention in our Twitter messages were these Nomar Garciaparra Twizzlers cards. Heck, they’re still in their wrappers! These cards were produced by Upper Deck in 2002 and somehow I never saw them in stores around here in Red Sox Nation. These are the two Nomah cards in the set, that also consists of other sports stars like Alonzo Mourning, Kevin Harvick, Donavan McNabb, and Garciaparra’s wife — Mia Hamm. Another great item for my Sox oddball album!

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Breakfast!!! Kellogg’s style with Bob Horner (1982, 1981, 1983). Only my second 1982 Kellogg’s card too.

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More 80s oddball goodies here! From the top, 1986 True Value cards of Seaver and Yount, 1989 MSA Weis Winners of Canseco and McGwire, and a 1981 MSA Peter Pan Sunbeam Bakery Horner disc. These three discs are my firsts for either series — great oddballs Steve!

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Other 80s cards included these 1985 Topps Send-Away Glossies …

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… and these 1988 Topps Glossy All-Stars found in rack packs …

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… and to close out, a near set of 1989 Topps Glossy Rookies that were found in jumbo cello packs.

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And to close out this great trade package, we have a handful of Topps the Magazine insert cards and a Ted Williams “1953 Topps” from a 1983 issue of Baseball Cards magazine. This is a card I had as a kid but along the way got lost, thrown out, or traded away. Now, I have a copy once again!

Thank you again Steve for a great traded package!! Let’s do it again down the road.

Digging Out, Catching Up

So Winter finally decided to arrive here in New England, almost another foot and we have 40-50 mph winds/gusts today. So before I dig out yet again, I thought I’d catch up on posting some LCS goodies from the last haul … and all a nickel a pop.

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First up, a bunch of Roger Clemens, all are Fleer inserts except for the 1992 Post Cereal and the 1989 Donruss Opening Day.

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… Some Wade Boggs, I love the 1986 Topps Wax Box Bottom Card and the 1991 Score Cooperstown Card.

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Some miscellaneous Red Sox from the Swell Baseball Greats Series (1989-91) and a couple of Upper Deck Decade Series that I didn’t have but will find a spot for.

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Next up is this batch of 1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes. This 44-card set showcased the artwork of Dick Perez, he of Diamond Kings fame, and were available in wax packs. Each pack came with eight cards and a Mickey Mantle puzzle piece card. This was a set my brother had but for whatever reason, I never picked one up until coming across these in one of the shop’s monster boxes. This and the over-sized Action All-Stars, were Donruss’ first explorations of producing sets outside of their flagship issue.

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Next up, some of my favorite oddballs from the 1980s—Drake’s cards!!! I cannot tell you how many box of Ring Dings, Yodels, and Devil Dogs I consumed as a kid, yet never completed any of the sets. To this day, I still will stop by the Drake’s section in a supermarket just to see if one of these days, they bring back baseball cards to products. I also loved these Quaker cards and they carried the MLB logos and names … I always thought some of these photos where better than the flagship cards.

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Some Topps Glossy All-Stars from rack packs of the 1980’s and a 1989 Glossy Rookies that could be found in jumbo cello packs.

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… and speaking of glossy, a handful of those Topps Send-Aways that I used get as a kid!

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How about some Topps Junk Wax Era box set singles. Love the young, normal looking Barry Bonds here adorning the classic pillbox hat of the 80’s. Nice Bob Boone cameo on the George Brett Boardwalk of Baseball card. Whatever happened to that place??

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And we can’t talk about box sets without mentioning Fleer! A nice selection of young Hall of Famers here. I’ve always like these 1987 Fleer Star Stickers (Darryl Strawberry) … I wish Fleer could have used this design for a flagship set, maybe with a white border instead of green?

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Here is a collection of Baseball Immortals that was originally issued in 1980 and later updated in 1984, 1986 and 1987. The Baseball Immortals set was the first to depict every member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The cards themselves do not mention a manufacturer, but it has been commonly referred to as an SSPC issue, although it was distributed mainly by TCMA and another top card dealer of the era, Renata Galasso. The original 1980 issue had a 173-card checklist that included every Hall of Fame member from the original 1936 class of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner through 1980 inductees Duke Snider, Al Kaline, Chuck Klein and former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey.

They carry a similar design to the 1975 Topps design on the front, while the card backs bear a strong resemblance to 1954 Bowman, albeit using yellow ink not red. I remember getting a couple of these through my Scholastic Book Club as a kid in elementary school. There always seemed to be a baseball card or football card kit in the monthly flyer.

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And the last issues today from the 1980s, and probably the last food issue I tried to find as kid … 1989 J.J. Nissen Super Stars. This 20-card set was distributed in bakery products and can remember looking for the Red Sox cards in loaves of bread when my mom went grocery shopping. Why some many Red Sox in the set? It was a New England Company and I have to think Teddy Ballgame was a spokesman for their brand. There is actually a variation in this set, as some of the Mark Grace cards carry an image of Vance Law, not Grace.

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And to close the loop on this LCS haul (and I didn’t even scan half the stuff for time sake), we have some modern inserts from in the Topps Opening Day products. I really like these Kellogg’s type cards and always on the lookout for more. I also love the “Topps Supers” that Topps inserted into the 2016 Topps Archives packs, nice shot of Lindor here.

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And with that, I should have a busy week posting, and the plan is to write a bunch while the wife watches her Bachelor show tonight. I’ve got a couple of packages out the door tomorrow and received a couple great ones from Kin at I Feel Like a Collector Again and Steve at Collating Cards, and Shane at Shoebox Legends who gave me a jump start on a new set. PLUS, I have I finally received a Topps redemption that was well worth the weight. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!