Thursday, November 13, 2008

We Have A Winner

In 1971 it seems Topps ran a promotional contest, possibly in the Pittsburgh area (according to Chris Benjamin) that resulted in a select few local ballplayers being portrayed on their own card. The set, if it can be called that, is of indeterminate length and surviving examples are hard to come by. I am not 100% certain but the subjects all appear to be junior-high school aged baseball and softball players, some in uniform and some not. Here is the lone example I own:

Benjamin's Non Sport Guide shows a female softball player whose favorite NL player is also Roberto Clemente, so the Pittsburgh connection is logical but I am not so sure it's quite that localized. Young Ricky's Oakland League is very possibly from Oakland, PA which is about an hour from Topps' Plant/Operations Center in Duryea. The softball player's league is described as Hutchinson, which is indeed quite near Pittsburgh, although a good five hour drive from Duryea. I wonder if the promotion these cards are the result of was for the benefit of some locally sold product such as bread that was primarily distributed in Pennsylvania.

I have seen the fronts of maybe four other subjects over the years but there must be a few more at least. If anyone has scans, please send them along.

There is also a related set, circa 1970, called Topps Teamates on the front and Grow Power on the back, which unfortunately cannot be discerned on the rightmost picture below. My original scans died with my hard drive last year but I did save a printed copy of the Ebay auction they appeared in. The card below seems to be honoring a group of workers from the Premium Records department of an insurance company. These are less well known and certainly less prevalent than the Topps Winners.

I wish I knew more about these strange "tall boy" cards. The Grow Power theme on the reverse may indicate a tie in to Earth Day, first held April 22, 1969 and celebrated more widely a year later with the Earth Day "teach in," an event I remember quite well from third grade. That green blob on a stick on the right side of the back is a tree, in case you can't suss it out. I feel like finding my old Whole Earth Catalog and reminiscing.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The area of Pittsburgh around the University of Pittsburgh is known as Oakland. So the card shown could also be from Pittsburgh.