It seems like a strange concept now, but once upon a time baseball cards were included as a promotional item to entice people to buy other products. Last week, I mentioned cards that were printed on Hostess packages in the 1970s. Today, let’s look at some non-traditional baseball cards produced for Pepsi in 1977.
There are 72 players in the 1977 Pepsi-Cola Baseball Stars Collectors Series. While the set was licensed by the Major League Baseball Players Association, it doesn’t carry the blessing of Major League Baseball and therefore doesn’t include team logos. The cards are disc-shaped, not quite 3.5 inches in diameter. They were originally part of a larger glove-shaped insert that included a checklist tab at the bottom. (You can see what the complete assembly looks like at Indians Baseball Cards and Random Wax.)
There are five different color variations for Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt, so there are actually 80 unique cards in the set. Three New York Mets are included: Tom Seaver, Dave Kingman and Jon Matlack.
I recently found two of the three Mets in a dealer’s dime box at a baseball card show. While I don’t enjoy paying money for packs of logo-less cards made today, I think the old food issue sets had a certain charm to them and I have a hard time resisting when I see them.
(Discs that haven’t been punched out from the glove will be a bit more expensive, but they’re also a bit harder to store.)
On the back of each card, there was an offer to send away for a personalized t-shirt featuring Pete Rose, Rico Carty, Joe Morgan or Rick Manning. I wonder how many people took Pepsi-Cola up on it? I can’t imagine wanting to wear one.
Do you remember the days when baseball cards were included with food items? What did you think of them?