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!


John Bateman said...

Interest Read -

Calvin Murphy/ Japan comment - is unusual

I did not realize 1975-76 BK and HK first to include how acquired though I know it was only on younger aged NBA cards because of space.

How did the know there were only 6 known Wagner's in 1969 but now 15 in 1975?

Their review of the 1975 season was a prelude to the Lopes and Seaver record breakers cards in 1976.

Pen Pals - Some one was looking for 1967 Packers - Topps did not make NFL cards that year - and Jimmy Taylor did not get a card in the Philadelphia set.

Next Issue
Pen Pals - Some one was looking for 1968 San Diego Padre card...Ah....

It was interesting they were writing how much the 1952 and 1957 cards were worth....I think you alluded to who wrote that.

toppcat said...

I have to think Woody Gelman provided the estimated Wagner counts.