Tuesday, July 20, 2010

1987 Baseball's All Time Greats

A while back someone sent me a couple of oddball Cubs cards. I stuck them in a binder of miscellaneous Cubs and forget about them. I rediscovered them a little while back and was intrigued. Who made them? What set did they come from?

The back of the card was no help at all.

As you can see, there is nothing at all on the back at all to indicate when or by whom the cards were made. The only thing we've got is some of Ernie's vital stats and a biography. So I did some digging around on ebay and was able to figure them out.

WIth the ebay help, I paged through the Standard Catalog and found their listing. These are from a set released in 1987. They are sometimes referred to the Hygrade set, but they most certainly are not high-grade! Hygrade must be the company that made them. According to the catalog, this set" was created for insertion in beginner's baseball card kits." There were 50 retired players in the first set issued in 1987 and a second series some years later had another 55. The cards were not numbered, so the catalog lists them in alphabetical order.

Five of the cards featured Cubs, and they came up with some of the biggest names in Cubs history. Sportlots had the three I needed for 18 cents each, so I splurged!

We get Mordecai Brown for the early part of the 20th century,

Gabby Hartnett, from the 30's, when the Cubs won the pennant every three years,

and the three Cubs from the 1969 team that ended up in Cooperstown (but not the post-season).

These aren't the most glamorous cards you'll ever see, but I've got all the Cubs now and its another page to add to my binder.

If you'd like to see the entire checklist for the set, click here.


  1. I had those cards as a kid (and still might, it may be tucked away in storage somewhere). Hygrade was definitely a company, they were based in New York City at 5 E. 17th Street in Manhattan. I have a couple of the price guides they published during the 1980s, perhaps I'll mention them in my blog one of these days.

    The set your cards come from were sold in two separate 50-card packages (my Mom bought both for me), but there are also some orange-bordered legends cards of Mantle, Ruth, Young, Cobb and Jackie Robinson -- no Cubs, so you're OK there -- that were included with the same collectors' kit Hygrade sold that included the reprinted T206 Wagner, Plank and Magee cards, a '33 LaJoie and T207 Lewis that show up fairly often.

  2. Wow... thanks for the great history lesson. I remember these cards from when I was a kid too.

  3. I have 5 of the 'orange' bordered cards. Robinson,Gehrig,Young,Ruth and Cobb.Also 4 of the detailed cards with white borders of Wagner,Lewis,Plank and Magee "Magie".Pretty cool to know all the info.Thanks