Friday, June 8, 2012

Getting the Kids Involved.....20 Years Ago

When the future of the hobby is discussed, one recurring theme is that something needs to be done to get more kids involved. I agree. For a generation growing up on computers, touch screens, video games, etc., the idea of cardboard is not the most appealing thing.

But that theme is nothing new. Twenty years ago Topps released a product to get the kids involved. It was a 132 set called "Topps Kids." At the time there were several TV shows that featured kid versions of the characters, shows like Muppet Babies, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Flintstone Kids. So Topps jumped on the bandwagon and created kid version cards of 131 baseball players.

To appeal further to the young crowd, they sold the packs for only 35¢ (a regular pack went for 55¢, though you got more cards) and included a stick of gum too. Keep in mind that 1992 was the first year that a regular pack of Topps cards didn't include gum. If you wanted a rock hard slab of gum that year, you had to buy Topps Kids for your fix.

So how did the product do? Quoting the Standard Catalog, "the concept was a flop and was not repeated in subsequent years." I had a seven year old and five year old in 1992, probably smack in the target group, but I never heard of, or remember seeing these cards.

One interesting feature of the set is that Topps numbered the players according to their team. There were five Cubs and they were the first five in the set, including card #1, Ryne Sandberg. I recently picked up the five cards from Sportlots, paying 18¢ each.

Quick question with the Grace card....where is his right hand? Why is his glove just floating mid-air?

Did anyone collect these when they came out? Were any of you kids at the time?


  1. I think I bought a pack or two of these. There was a card shop a little less than a mile from my house, down the same street, right across from the 7-11. On Saturdays (if we had spare change lying around, which I usually did, being a fiscally responsible 8 year old in '92), my brother and I would take our bikes and pick up some packs, some Padre cards, and some Tootsie Rolls (couldn't buy the actual chocolate, because it would get all melty on the ride home). I think I still have a Fred McGriff card from that set. I saw a box of these cards on eBay last night for 8 bucks or so.

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  2. I was a 10-year-old kid when this set came out, and myself and both of my younger brothers bought a ton of this stuff. I'm pretty sure I had the complete set at one point. Interesting timing on this post, I literally just got an email from my Dad this morning saying that he was cleaning out the garage and found a bunch of our old cards. The ones that he remembered most, and was most fond of, were these 1992 Topps Kids cards. A cool little set for sure...

  3. I was in high school when this set came out. Although I was still buying cards, this one was a bit too "kiddie" for me at the time.

  4. The problem I see is that kids know when they're being patronized and want no part of it. The main hobby has priced them out and they've never figured out how to do an entry-level set that didn't feel cheap.

    The best thing I've seen for kids of late has been the sticker albums.

  5. I liked those cards, even though I wasn't quite a kid at the time. They were great for TTM requests. The colorful background really made an autograph stand out.

  6. Cool post, I'm not sure I've ever seen those.

  7. I had a small, family run convenience store up the road from me in 1992. I must have bought boxes worth of this set that year. 35 cents was super affordable for me at the time and I'd scour the house for spare change to get some more packs. I can only imagine that's what it was like buying cards in the 50's and 60's. Of course the kids in that era had cards that were eventually worth actual money...

  8. I think I got a few of those from a fellow blogger. I'd be happy to have those in my collection. As I often say, they're different.