Thursday, June 4, 2020

Topps Goes MSA

Yesterday I showed some MSA cards that contained logos.  Today I've got Topps going the other direction.

Topps has done baseball cards since 1951 and they've always included team logos, except for those nasty looking cards for players with airbrushed hats when they played for a new team.

But I found a Topps set that goes the way of MSA, and includes no logos.

This is from a set Topps produced for Nestle in 2002.  There are just six cards in the set.  Was it too expensive to get an MLB license for just six cards?  For whatever the reason, Nestle didn't get one and so Topps had to fire up the airbrush.

I must admit that Topps did a much better job of removing the logos compared to the work they did in the late '60s and early '70s.

Besides the Nestle cards, I can come up with only one other Topps product with no logos.

Can anyone come up with another besides the 1973 candy lids?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

MSA Oddities

Below are some cards produced by MSA, the Drakes cards from 1986 - 1988, and the 1993 Hostess set.  These are both oddities among the MSA cards and discs.  Take a look and spot what's different.


Did you figure out the difference.  It's a pretty big one....logos!  I believe that these are the only MSA cards to have no airbrushing and instead, visible team logos.

With Drakes, MSA took over for Topps, who produced the sets from 1981 through 1985.  Topps had and MLB license and all of their Drakes cards showed logos.  When MSA took over in 1986, the logos stayed.  I wonder if that was something that Drakes required?  Did they not want to go logoless after year of cards with the logos?

The Hostess card comes from 1993 and it was the first Hostess card since the cards on the box bottoms in the 1970s.  The '70s cards were made by Topps, so like Drakes, did Hostess insist on logos?

Maybe its just a dessert-cake thing, but kudos to Drakes and Hostess for keeping the logos!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

My List of MSA Cubs Cards

The 49 MSA baseball card sets include a total of 59 Cubs players.  Luckily for me I already had 50 of them in my collection. I was well-familiar with the logoless cards.  I just didn't realize that many of them were MSA creations.

Using Sportlots I was able to track down eight of the eleven.  I'm left chasing just one, from the 1986 General Mills set.  Anyone have an extra Gary Matthews card lying around??

Here's my MSA Cards Cubs checklist. The name in bold is the one card that I'm missing.

1986    Burger King No Cubs
1986 Dorman's Cheese Sandberg, Sutcliffe
1986 Drakes Moreland, Sandberg
1986 General Mills Matthews, Sandberg, Smith  
1986 Kellers No Cubs
1986 Meadow Gold Sandberg, Sutcliffe
1986 True Value Sandberg, Sutcliffe
1987 Burger King Sandberg
1987 Drakes Moreland, Sandberg
1987 General Mills Sandberg
1987 Kraft Davis, Sandberg
1987 M&M's Sandberg
1987 Ralston Purina Sandberg
1987 Stuart Superstars Davis, Dawson, Sandberg
1988 Chef Boyardee Dawson, Sandberg
1988 Drakes Dawson, Sutcliffe
1988 Nestle Dawson
1989 Cereal (Ralston Purina) Superstars   Dawson
1989 Gardners No Cubs
1989 JJ Nissen Grace
1990 All American Dawson, Sandberg
1990 Jumbo Seeds Sandberg
1990 Post Grace, Sandberg
1990 Wonder Sandberg, Walton
1991 Jimmy Dean Sandberg
1991 Jumbo Seeds Dawson
1991 Mootown Snackers Sandberg
1991 Post Grace, Sandberg
1992 Diet Pepsi Sandberg
1992 French's Sandberg
1992 Jimmy Dean Sandberg
1992 Jimmy Dean Living Legends No Cubs
1992 Jimmy Dean Rookie Stars No Cubs
1992 Jumbo Seeds No Cubs
1992 Mootown Snackers Dawson
1992 Post Sandberg
1993 Duracell Dawson, Sandberg
1993 Hostess Sandberg
1993 Jimmy Dean Sandberg
1993 Jimmy Dean Rookie Stars No Cubs
1993 Metz Bakery Dawson, Grace, Sandberg
1993 Milkbone Girardi
1993 Post Sandberg
1994 Post Grace
1994 Tombstone Grace
1995 Kraft Sosa
1995 Post No Cubs
1995 Tombstone Sosa
1996 Pizza Hut No Cubs

Monday, June 1, 2020

MSA or Not MSA

On Saturday I showed my master list of MSA card sets.   Today I've got three more sets that may also belong on the list, but the cards lack the ©MSA designation.

Up first for your consideration are the 1993 and 1994 Kraft cards.  Let's start by taking a look at the Kraft cards from 1993, 1994, and 1995.

There are similar features in all three years - lack of logos, the set name "Singles Superstars,"  the popup style card, the card number on the front.

This is from the back of the 1995 card, so we know it was produced by MSA.


These are what we have on the '93 and '94 cards.  They both lack any sort of copyright information.  There's nothing from the Players Association or MSA.  But all three were printed in Canada, which is another similarity.

So, do we put the 1993 and 1994 sets on the MSA list?  I'm leaning towards a yes.

The third possible set for inclusion is the 1995 Jimmy Dean's All Time Greats set.

Again, there was a similar set with the MSA designation.


The 1992 Jimmy Dean Living Legends set was made by MSA.


Three years later came a set from Jimmy Dean called All Time Greats.  It's got no logos, like the MSA sets.  But there is no Players Association marking.  Instead, they have a designation from the MBL Players Alumni.  That makes this one a little trickier.  I'm leaning towards not MSA.  What do you think?

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 18,139 Cubs cards from 243 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.
1900s - 1970s: 1968 Topps #366 Ron Santo All Star Santo was the starting third baseman at the 1968 All-Star game, held in the Astrodome on July 9.  He went 1-2 (plus a walk), with a single in the bottom of the eighth inning.  You don't see someone play eight innings in the All-Star game today.  
1980s: 1990 Donruss #137 Mitch Webster  The early print deadlines for these sets of the late '80s and early '90s were killers.  Webster was traded to the Indians on November 20, 1989, but he's a Cub for all of 1990 according to Donruss.
1990s: 1997 Fleer #448 Brian McRae  Looks like Fleer caught McRae while the team was lined up for the anthem.
2000s: Donruss 2004 #243 Moises Alou  This picture could almost work in today's Donruss sets, since his arm is covering "Chicago" and his head is turned so that you can't see the logo on his helmet.
2010s: 2018 Topps #500 Ryne Sandberg  Ryno got a variation card in the 2018 set, sharing #500 with Kris Bryant.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Even Deeper Down the MSA Rabbit Hole!


I keep falling deeper and deeper into the MSA rabbit hole!

Here's a tile of nine ugly logoless cards.  Logoless, just like the MSA discs.

Now flip the cards over.

Take a closer look at the backs.

MSA wasn't limited to discs.  They did cards too.

And so down further into the rabbit hole I went.  How many different card sets did MSA produce? This wouldn't be as easy as the discs, when I could search the TCDB using the keyword "discs."  

Instead, I first paged through my Cubs binders with all the product cards and store brand cards.  I checked the backs of any of the logoless cards for the telltale ©MSA.  That got me a pretty big list of sets that ran from 1986 through 1996.

Figuring that there were more, my next step was to look over the PSA master lists of a few players that were superstars in the late '80s and early '90.  I settled on three players, figuring at least one of them would have been in every MSA set.  I used the registries for Ryne Sandberg, Robin Yount, and Cal Ripken.  That added several more MSA sets to my list.

I've ended up with a list of 49 different sets.  As with the disc list, I expect this one to be very fluid.  Look it over and let me know if I've missed any.  Also, on Monday I'll have three sets that look like they should be added to the list but the cards are missing the ©MSA.

Here are the 49 I've come up with:

1986    Burger King
Dorman's Cheese
General Mills
Meadow Gold
True Value
1987 Burger King
General Mills
Ralston Purina
Stuart Superstars
1988 Chef Boyardee
1989 Cereal (Ralston Purina) Superstars
JJ Nissen
1990 All American
Jumbo Seeds
1991 Jimmy Dean
Jumbo Seeds
Mootown Snackers
1992 Diet Pepsi
Jimmy Dean
Jimmy Dean Living Legends
Jimmy Dean Rookie Stars
Jumbo Seeds
Mootown Snackers
1993 Duracell
Jimmy Dean
Jimmy Dean Rookie Stars
Metz Bakery
1994 Post
1995 Kraft
1996 Pizza Hut

Friday, May 29, 2020

...And the List Keeps Changing

Remember how I dropped the MSA disc list from 93 sets to 92?

Well, the list keeps changing.  I have a feeling that it will continue to do that for a while.

It's now back to 93 sets. The latest addition is from 1981, which, ironically, was the year from which I took away one.

MSA had sample discs with this stamped on the back.  When I saw the listing in the Standard Catalog index, I assumed it was for the "Mini" set referred to on the Trading Card Database.  Yesterday I actually read the catalog article and saw that there were these samples.  The catalog lists the same 32-disc checklist as the blank-backed Peter Pan /Sunbeam discs.

That means I've not only added another set to the list, but that I have another Cub disc to get, since Bill Buckner is in the set.  An Ebay search for "1981 MSA Sample" brings up just eight listings, and Billy Buck isn't one of them.  Rats!

While I'm talking about the list, let me go over another item, squares.

Several of the sets from 1988 - 1990 also have square proof versions out there.  I'm not ready to add them to my master list yet.  The aren't listed separately in the Standard Catalog,Trading Card Database, or in the PSA master lists.  If they aren't listing them, I won't either.