Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Oh Thank Heaven!

On a hot summer day, you can't beat a Slurpee for cool refreshment.  I remember many a bike ride to the closest 7-11 (about six blocks away) and spending some of my allowance on packs of baseball cards and a Slurpee.

Time moved on, though, and I outgrew bike rides and Slurpees.  By the time 7-11 started putting baseball coins of the bottoms of Slurpee cups, I was a married man starting a career.  Slurpee coins were far off of my radar.

Honestly, I had no idea that they even existed until a few years ago.  And a couple months ago I decided to collect all the Cubs 7-11 coins.

The first set of coins came out in 1983 but were strictly a Southern California thing.  The coins had a diameter of 1 3/4" and were cardboard covered in plastic.  The backs had some statistical information and the fronts had two magic-motion pictures.  The coins were placed under a piece of cardboard on the bottom of the cup.  You'd have to pick off the cardboard to see which player you got.

In 1984 the promotion went from regional to national.  Three regional sets were released (West, Central, and East) with 24 coins in each set.  There were six players in all three of the sets and then 18 others varied between regions.

The Cubs didn't place anyone among the six in all three regions and only one in the Central Region:

Fergie Jenkins.  Ironically, Jenkins didn't play during the 1984 season, since he was cut by the team in spring training.

Production was cranked up in 1985 as there were now five regional sets instead of three, East, Southeast, Great Lakes, Southwest, and West.  A six set was also made for the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers. Each set had 16 coins for a total of 96 different coins.  One other change is that the magic motion on the coins used three pictures instead of two.

With the '84 Cubs winning the East, they did much better on the checklist, with four coins among the Great Lake's 16.

All four were big contributors to the success of the '84 team.

There were more changes to the coins in 1986. First, the number of regions dropped by one.  They remaining four were renamed East, Mideast, Midwest, and West.  Each set has Dwight Gooden on a coin by himself. The rest of the fifteen coins use the three magic motion pictures to show three different players instead of three different pictures of one player.  The Cubs snagged four spots on the Mid-East checklist.

This ugly looking coin is the Shawon Dunston coin, shared with Ozzie Guillen and Ernie Riles.  When placed flat on the scanner bed we get Guillen's mug.  Nasty!

This is the Ryne Sandberg coin but what we're seeing is Willie Hernandez.  The coin features three recent MVPs: Sandberg, Hernandez, and Robin Yount.

Yuk...more White Sox.  This time its Bob James sharing a coin with Lee Smith of the Cubs and Rollie Fingers.  The common thread...Bullpen aces.

Finally, a recognizable Cub!  Rick Sutcliffe was combined with Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris on the Ace Pitchers coin.

I'll continue this tomorrow picking up with the 1987 coins.  

But before you go, take a look at this nifty commercial from 1984:

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