Monday, July 1, 2013

Kay Bee Cubbies

Up next in my look at the Topps retail box sets from the '80s are the Kay Bee Toys sets.

In the '80s it seemed like every mall I went to had a Kay Bees Toys.  It was a nice place to take the boys to kill some time while mom was looking at clothes or shoes in some other store.

But we'd never actually buy anything at Kay Bee.  It seemed like all the toys were not the real things, but knock offs.  They wouldn't have GI Joe---it would be Soldier Sam.  Legos--nope, Megablocks.  The stores always seemed overstuffed and messy.  Toys R Us was much larger, cleaner, and more successful.

After two bankruptcies in five years, the chain went belly-up in 2009.

Kay Bee's first card set came out in 1986--one year ahead of Toys R Us.  The toys were knockoffs, but the baseball cards were the real deal--Topps.  For five year, through 1990, Kay Bee put out a 33-card boxed set.

Their first set was 1986's Young Superstars of Baseball.  The design featured the set title on top, with the player's name underneath that.  The Kay Bee logo was on the bottom of the card.  Though the colors changed, the same design was used for the first four years of Kay Bee cards.  The backs of the cards stole from the Topps 1971 layout and they too were very similar for the first four years.

Shawon Dunston was the only Cub among the Young Superstars.

In 1987, the set name became Superstars of Baseball and that same name was used each of the next three years.  As I said earlier, the card design remained the same, with just the color scheme changing.

Ryno was the only Cub 1987 Superstar.

The box changed a little, but the 1988 version has the same title and card design.

Andre Dawson was the Cubs representative in this set.

Another year, another Superstars of Baseball set.

But this time, instead of Sandberg or Dawson, we get Sandberg AND Dawson!

Finally, in Kay Bee's swan song, a little design variety.  The 1990 set is now called Kings of Baseball, some nice alliteration with Kay Bee.

And we finally get a new design, both front and back....but only Andre Dawson.

Five years of Kay Bee cards produced 165 cards...and only six Cubs (and just three different players).

Finally, a tile with all five box fronts and backs, plus card fronts and backs, from 1986 (left) to 1990 (right).

1 comment:

  1. I'm really digging these posts. Dave Winfield had cards in most of these kinds of sets, but over the years, I mostly picked them up as singles way back when dealers at card shows had boxes and albums of star players that didn't run $5 each. That said, I rarely ever saw the boxes the sets came in, so it's nice to see them all lined up like this.

    I remember Kay Bee (or later just KB Toys) as the place where everything was either way overpriced or on clearance. There was never anything in there that was a decent deal at regular price. But you could always wait a few months and get almost anything on clearance. It was at a Kay Bee that you could pick up unopened boxes of 1991 LineDrive minor league cards for like $2 because they originally tried selling them for something like $0.75 a pack and couldn't move them. No wonder they kept going bankrupt!