Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Inserts Are Arriving 5

This shipment brought me a load from the '80s and '90s.

These two 1982 stickers are special because they marked Topps' return to inserts.  Before these, Topps last had inserts in the 1974 set, the team checklist cards.  The stickers were inserts, but also advertisements.  Topps put them in the packs of baseball cards to drum up interest in the soon to be released sticker set.  The insert stickers are identical to what was issued in the sticker set on the front...

...but the back has the teaser for the stickers.


Up next are a bunch of the Glossy All-Star cards.  I'm especially happy to have the Billy Williams card.  Billy was the National League's honorary captain at the 1987 All-Star game.  That was the same year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The final card is a shiny Sammy Sosa card, from the 1996 Mystery Finest set.

Friday, December 19, 2014

How I Messed Up With the 1993 Cracker Jack Cards

In 1991 Cracker Jack worked out an arrangement with Topps to put mini cards as prizes in their boxes.  According to this article, the promotion was a huge success.  Over 135 million boxes were sold (which helps explain why I had to pay only 18¢ per card).

So what does Cracker Jack do the next year?

The go to Donruss instead of Topps for the cards.  And sales tanked, dropping from 135 million to 60 million boxes.  The move was made to reduce costs, but I'm thinking that the extra sales with Topps would have covered the extra expense.

In 1993, Cracker Jack looked to slash expenses even further.  They saved a cool half million bucks by dropping their license with the players.  How do you make baseball cards without the players, you might ask?

By using cards you already own the rights to.

Cracker Jack made reprints of their 1915-1916 set.  Sure, it saved money.  But would kids be interested in cards of players that were older than their great-grandparents?


Sales dropped another 10 million boxes.

Cracker Jack got out of the baseball card business.

And how did this lead to me messing up?

Well, the 1993 checklist had 24 players.  I scanned the list and saw Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Mordecai Brown, all Cubs Hall of Famers..  I bought the cards immediately.

And then smacked myself when I got them in hand.

Duh,,,the set was from 1915 and none of these guys were with the Cubs any longer.

In fact, none of the 24 on the checklist were Cubs.

I goofed.  I spent 54¢ that I shouldn't have.

But Cracker Jack goofed just a bit more....135 million boxes to 50 million boxes would cost the company a little more than 54¢.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Adding Some More Cracker Jack

I completed my Cracker Jack Cubs sets years ago.

Or so I thought.

Turns out I missed several year's worth of cards.  I'm not sure exactly how I overlooked three years' worth, but I did.  Luckily the missing cards are commons that would only set me back 18¢ each.

I already had reprints of the original set from 1915, plus cards from 2002, 2004 and 2005.  The missing cards came from 1982, 1991, 1992, and 1997.  

This is the card from 1982.  It looks like Mr. Cub is at Shea Stadium in the late '60s.

In 1991 Cracker Jack started putting mini cards into boxes as the prize.  They had a deal with Topps and used the '91 Topps design, just shrunk down. They measured 1¼" x 1¾", about one-fourth the size of an actual card. Four Cubs made the 72-card set.


That's a pretty decent group of Cubs, Dawson, Dunston, Grace, and Sandberg.

 In 1992 Cracker Jack turned to Donruss for their mini-cards.



Dawson, Grace, Sandberg, and..... Dickson??  That's three-fourths of a pretty decent group of Cubs.

There were cards in boxes of Cracker Jack in 1993, but they were a little different and I messed up there.  I'll share that story tomorrow.

After a three year hiatus, cards showed up again in 1997.  This time Cracker Jack used their own design and did so without an MLB license.

No license means no logo on Sammy's helmet and also means he plays for Chicago, not the Cubs.

With these ten, now I believe I have all of the Cracker Jack Cubs cards.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Inserts Are Arriving 4

This shipment knocked off a bunch of mid-Nineties inserts.


The glossy All-Star cards were inserted into rack packs, one per pack.


These are from the 1994 Black Gold set.  

Since the 1994 season was cut short by a players strike, Topps did  a clever thing with the 1995 set.  They came up with computer projections for how a players stats would have worked if the entire season was played.  Those stats were placed on cards in a 396-card insert set they called Cyberstats.  

This is what a Cyberstats back looks like, along with the regular back underneath

The Cubs have 12 players in the set, and I was able to get all 12 from a single Sportlots dealer.






As we move to the late 90s.... becomes Sammypalooza again.

Kerry Wood checks into the Record Numbers set, too

This card of Carlos Zambrano was a Walmart exclusive in 2006, using the 1992 design.

I could have won something if Alfonso Soriano won the 2008 Home Run Derby contest.  I might have had a chance if Soriano had actually been a contestant, but he wasn't even one of the eight participants.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Burger Chef Tray

Though they are almost 38-years-old, it isn't too hard to find 1977 Burger Chef trays in their original form.  Most will come like this...

This is how they would have been shipped to the restaurants, a box that has been flattened out.  You can see that there are five discs on the top and four more on the bottom.

As a collector, you have two choices:  keep the discs attached to the tray or punch them out.  I punched mine out.

But before I did that, I put the tray together the way it would have looked in the restaurant, with a fun meal inside.  I couldn't find a single picture on Ebay or through a Google search that showed what an assembled tray looks like.  I did my best to follow the directions.

It's hard to tell, but there are some punch outs on the green top of the tray, which is where the hamburger, drink cup, and fries would have gone.  The burger goes in the front left, the drink in the back left, and the fries get placed in the back right.

But the tray is more than a's also a baseball game. That is what I have set up.

The game works like this...
  • You punch out one of the baseballs on the far right and then place it on home plate.
  • A drinking straw is slid into the hole you see above the letter "M" of "Funmeal"
  • You blow through the straw and see where the ball ends up. As you move away from home plate there are spaces for single, double, triple, out, and home run.  If the ball ends up touching any of the black space that divides the squares, it is a strike.  If it lands beyond the last space, its an out.  
  • Runners advance as they are forced to the next base.  The diamond picture has spots at each base to move the cards as the runners.

I couldn't find a straw around the house, so I didn't play the game.  I can imagine it wouldn't be the easiest game to play.  I can also picture some drool coming out of the end of the straw and messing up the board.  

Game called on account of wet grounds?  Gross!!!