Saturday, May 25, 2024

Cello, I Must Be Going

Not too long ago I took a look at the 1969 Baseball Cello packaging.  Well, Friend o'the Archive John Moran turned up another version of the display box that has a splash panel for the 1969 Deckles to complement the Magic Rub-Offs version already on file, so here ya go:

That scan was found at, no surprise given the Pete Rose image on the front panel.  The Deckle wrapper looked like this in wax form:

That makes me wonder if the cello wrappers followed suit. Maybe, maybe not as I can't find an example but given how tough the blues  are, it's possible I'm just unable to find a scan at present.

Additionally, I assume (dangerous, I know) it's possible a cello wrapper version exists for the Magic Rub-Offs. Note that the wax wrapper variant which had instructions on them:

The graphics on applying the rub-off decals took the place of an ad:

I'm not sure what a display box would look like without an insert splash as the Magic Rub-Off version is blue-themed.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Membership Has Its Privileges

Back at it kids, with more peeks at Topps Sports Club news today!

The cover of Issue #3 had confused me when I first encountered it as I wasn't sure if there was, in addition to the Bobby Clarke 8x10, one of Dave DeDusschere.  Now that I have the full issue in hand, thanks to Friend o'the Archive David Eskenazi, I can see why I was confused as it took some time for me to grok that only the Guest Columnist (who most certainly did not pen the words of wisdom in each issue) got the photo insert honors.  Double D was so prominently featured that I thought he might have a glossy as well but I was, after a full review of the issue, quite shockingly, wrong.  Anyhoo, here we go.

The aforementioned page 1:

DeBusschere was interviewed by Herb Goren, who was a big name sportswriter and, having been the PR Director for the New York Rangers seems a likely candidate to have penned the Clarke piece.  In fact, given his CV, he may have ghosted all of the guest columns.

Page 2 is for continuity:

Page 3 is where the fun begins. The Pen Pals are long moved away folks...

More fun happens on page 4. Love the book reviews, I read all of them back in the day except the Modern Encyclopedia of Basketball:

More continuity takes up most of page 5 as did the Collectors' Corner:

Many familiar names are listed in the effort to put kids in touch with various collectors clubs around the country, which details I have to imagine were provided by Woody Gelman. Some noteworthy names were proffered: Jim Nowell organized what was essentially the first baseball card convention and Richard Egan wrote a very early E card guide that was a masterwork of organization in the pre-Internet days.  John Stirling also published a price guide in 1977 that was the best one yet.

An old vaudeville joke made an appearance in "Hot Dog" on the sixth and final page:

This came with two inserts I think.  The Clarke 8x10 was of course in there:

It's paper but really well done.  In fact, the entire package was unfailingly professional is every aspect and that expense probably helped doom the club.  But before that happened in 1976, Topps reached out to their subscribers to pump the membership numbers:

I have no idea who Darrell West was. I assume it's just a made up name as the newsletter would seem, to me at least, to have been an outside production with specific input from Topps. I will say that the $2.50 for three issue was money well spent given the preview cards and extras included with each mailing but it may have been too much for the average pre-teen back then.

The flip side tries the old soft sell:

I'm sorry but if it took you hours to get through a typical issue, even with all the games and quizzes, you probably were not the brightest bulb in the package!  The premium offers were mostly well beyond the typical fare offered by the Bazooka Joe comics:

We've visited the vinyl Sports Card Locker, or something very close to it, before, so that was already a known quantity to loyal Topps consumers. The athletic shoes and the kicking toe were not typical fare though:

1976 kicked off with a baseball issue, of course:

Joe Garagiola had a long association with Topps, going back to at least 1959 and was the MC for the annual Rookie Banquets.

Page 2 is, once again, devoted to continuity:

Embiggen the crossword clues here as the puzzle can still be worked on!

Pen pals galore, as the card collecting hobby was really taking off in 1976:

Did Topps make an unforced error on page 5 with the Collector's Corner presenting a repeat Q&A about the 1974 Washington National League cards?  It had already been asked and answered in the very first issue! I do like how they steered collectors to the two largest buyers of aftermarket cards from Topps: Card Collectors Company and Larry Fritsch.

Too bad that picture of Garagiola and Johnny Bench never made it into the 1976 set, although the Kurt Bevacqua contest winner card is a classic.

Here is the rest of the crossword clues and puzzle:

The Joe Morgan 8x10 was another winner:

Finally, we know at least one more issue was produced as a Lynn Swann photo extra is in my collection, I just need the newsletter!

Saturday, May 11, 2024

How Ya Doin' Sport?

Friend o'the Archive David Eskenazi has been sending me all sorts of goodies over the past several months and the barrage continues with two editions of the Topps Sports Club News plus a neat little extra that rode along.  In addition to being cool little items in their own right, these newly arrived issues have me re-thinking a few things.

Newly arrived are Vol. 1 No. 1 and Vol. 1 No 3, which have been added to my personal collection.  The first issue was a four-pager, quite well produced.

The "Guest Columnist" (possibly ghosted by Herb Goren, based upon content in later issues) was also the subject of the 8" x 10" glossy paper insert in each issue.  Steve Garvey was the first after his 1974 NL MVP win and this was what each member of the club got inside the newsletter:

The 1975 Baseball card preview was fairly in-depth:

There were other features, including a trivia quiz.  Try it without googling!

Then some card talk and a preview of the next issue (plus the quiz answers) :

Here's some better detail for the Topps Answer Man column:

I am going to call shenanigans on the answer to #3! Color for the 1951 Baseball Candy issues? C'mon Topps!

Below that were the teasers for the next two issues:

The previews were what made the Sports Club an enticing deal.  I don't actually have any of these superb extras except for the 8x10's from the next three issues.  Given what was sent by Topps, it's no wonder the goodies are AWOL.

I posted most of the contents of the second issue previously, leaving out two pages (of 6 total) which are missing from my copy.  So it goes....

We'll get into the third and fourth issues next time out! 

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Hey, Mr. Spaceman

Friend o'the Archive Jason Liebig sent along a couple of amazing scans a little while back and they are, quite, literally out of this world.  Check this bad boy out:

First of all, kudos to Topps for showing the Emily Post approved pinky extension on our intrepid space explorer as he squirts a stream of sugary "something" into his gaping maw!  However, the lack of a visor on the helmet is pretty alarming but I'd say we can overlook it.

There's a partial scan of the box sides and bottom (the images were from a long time ago and they are as presented, with no enhancement possible):

Of interest, 60 units at two cents each yielded the standard $1.20 Topps retail priced box of this era! Looks like one or two sprung a leak at some point

The bottom indicia is cut off and there's no way to tell if there was a date shown there but look at the side panel ad here:

"National Pro Football" was a slogan only used for the 1962 Football set, which handily dates this sucker. Check it out:

1962 makes a ton of sense as John Glenn was not only the first American astronaut to orbit Earth, he was the first to consume food and drink in space, which occurred on February 20, 1962.  Topps clearly was milking the Space Race for all it was worth and these drinks must have been introduced in the late Summer or Fall of '62. I find it hard to believe the drink lasted very long after that given the obscurity of the product today.  

I have been unable to find anything else after searching a bit online and suspect this was a product that was more a box than a pouch, like the old milk cartons at fast food restaurants but possibly flatter.  The first juice boxes were also being developed around this time and may have debuted in 1963, albeit without the crucial little bendy-straws affixed. The Topps carton must have been tiny though, to fit 60 in one retail box.

Check out Jason's fabulous Collecting Candy website:

Or his more current Instagram here:

Better yet, see him on History Channel's "The Foods That Built America" and "The Mega-Brands That Built America" on a screen of your choosing!