Sunday, July 14, 2013

Woolworth Cubs

This is the final store among the boxed sets put out by Topps in the '80s and '90s.  The late, great dime store chain Woolworths also had the most sets, seven.

Woolworths was a retail pioneer, one of the first big nationwide chains.  But by the time I was old enough to remember them, the early '70s, in my mind time had passed them by.  To me, Woolworths was grandma's store.  They didn't have much that interested me.  I remember birds always chirping in the pet department and giant orange drink dispensers at the food counter.  But that's about it.  It wasn't cool for a kid of my era to say that they bought something at Woolworth.

Maybe the chain was attempting to reach a younger market by partnering with Topps.  When the sets started coming out, I was already married with a kid, so I didn't know about them.  But if I saw them as a boy, I wouldn't have been interested.  I would have seen them as fake cards...not the real deal.  But if my grandma saw them, she might have thought that I'd like them and since they were only $1.99, she might grab a box for me.

The first Woolworth set came out in 1985 and was call "All Time Record Holders."  The checklist was mostly old timers, though a few modern players made the list.

Two Cubs were included...Ernie Banks for his single season grand slam record and single season shortstop homer record.

Hack Wilson was holder of the single season RBI record and NL single season HR record.

The 1986 set was called Baseball Champion Superstars and all the players were a statistical league leader for at least one season.

The Cubs were shut out, but Bill Buckner and Bill Madlock were included for batting championships they won while with the Cubs.

Each of the final five Woolworth sets were called Baseball Highlights and they obviously featured players and games that were noteworthy from the previous season.

The 1987 set has a nice looking box, but an ugly checklist, at least as far as this Cub fan is Cubs (again!).

The only ex-Cub was the really bad Calvin Schiraldi.

The 1988 Baseball Highlights has a wider variety of players and fewer post season highlight cards. The design of these cards is also the same template that Topps will use for Woolworth for the rest of their run.

We finally get another Cub, the 1987 MVP Andre Dawson.

In 1989, the card colors change, but the design didn't.

The Cubs in the set didn't change either, Hawk again.

The 1990 box leaves no doubt as to what year the set is from!  The '89 Cubs won the division, so the set had a couple Cubs...

...1989 NL Rookie of the Year Jerome Walton...

....and Ryno makes his one and only Woolworth appearance.

The final Woolworth set came out in 1991 and they leave no doubt what year the set was sold!

The 1990 Cubs didn't repeat as NL East champs, so Woolworth went back to the Cubs ol' standby of the set, Andre Dawson.

And that's it.  No Topps/Woolworth set in 1992 and by 1997, no more Woolworths.

Here's the tile with all the boxes, checklists, and cards side-by-side.

1 comment:

  1. Off-topic:

    Did you ever do a post about Topps 1964 coins? If so, could you give the link to it?