In support of my recent efforts to move past 1980 as my cutoff point for this blog, mainly due to a rekindled inerest in the weirder and tougher Topps baseball issues of the Post-Glut/Pre-Eisner eras, todays' post will examine an old concept made new by Topps in the late eighties.
In 1955 Topps issued a fairly famous set of cards called Double Header. I'll not delve into them again today (for that, click back) as they are quite well known and documented in the hobby. They essentially were inspired by a set of tobacco cards referred to as Mecca Double Folders that were issued in 1911. I have no doubt Woody Gelman used that aboriginal set as an inspiration in designing the 1955 issue but I cannot attest as to who semi-revisited the idea 33 years later at Topps, although it could have been Len Brown I guess. There was a twist though, as the modern sets used the idea of pairing a miniature version of a players rookie card with a mini version of their regular issue current year card in a stand up plastic frame. They also added an "s' to make ii Doubleheaders (I'll leave it up to you to determine if the 55's are two words and/or the latter version is one).
The holders measure 2 1/2" tall by 1 15/16" wide at their base (which is a little wider than the portion holding the paper "card") which also has a depth of 5/8" as it flares out from the top. The double sided paper inserts measure out at 1 1/16" x 2 1/4" and I guess you could liberate them if you wanted to crack 'em out, or more properly slide them out the top of the holder. The most well known versions of these were issued in 1989 and 1990 but there's a test issue from 1988 that not everybody is familiar with.
In addition to the 24 player set referred to as All Stars, a similarly sized set of Mets and Yankees was issued in 1989. They must have sold well as a 72 player release followed in 1990. But there was a test issue in 1988 that involved a set of 8 Mets and Yankees (4 from each team) and paired the rookie card with one from that year.
Here's the Mets subset, front and back, with Carter being a ginned-up image, his original being on a four player Rookie Stars card:
In 1990, with 72 subjects it took three pack backs to detail the full checklist, here's one of them:
The two 1989 issues and the 1990 set are extremely easy to find and boxes can be bought very cheaply. The 1988 tests are much more difficult,and it also seems to me that the Yankees are the tougher of the two 1988 NY teams but that's hard to gauge since:
a) I'm a Mets fan and
b) not too many of these are around.
The Mets/Yankees set must have tested well in 1988 -- indeed, the Mets were incandescent at the time compared to the Yankees if you lived in the NYC metro area -- but the 1989 "home team" returns must have disabused Topps of three-peating the feat in '90. Like a few other Topps oddities of the time, three seasons saw a release and then Topps moved on to something else.