I recently featured some 2013 minor league set designs that I like; that put me in mind of sharing some of my favorite minor league sets from years past.
It doesn’t really come across well in the scans, but the inner border of the card is a light “road grey”. Here’s the back of the card:
The back is more “basic” than “appealingly simple”, but that’s OK… and it tells us that Smajstrla is pronounced “SMASH-tur-la”. It also tells us how NOT to spell “Houston”.
By the way, Craig Smajstrla got a cup of coffee with his hometown Astros in 1988.
The Bisons were the Indians’ AAA team in 1987. A pretty good number of players on that team made it to the majors, including future All-Star and Gold Glove Jay Bell…
…current Red Sox manager John Farrell…
…and future Indian/Angel/Expo/Met/Athletic/Pirate Junior Noboa.
The “BISONS” wordmark at the top of the card was a carryover from their previous affiliation; in 1985 and 1986 the Bisons were the White Sox’ AAA team, and they wore uniforms which were very similar to the early-1980’s White Sox where you had the navy & red stripes across the chest. Instead of a white “SOX”, the navy stripe had a white “BISONS” in the same font you see here.
I got this set on something of a whim… I really liked the Bisons’ logo at the time – it was somewhat similar to the logo they have now – and I bought a sweatshirt, coffee mug and a card set through the mail. Back in 1987, buying minor league merchandise through the mail meant writing the team and asking for a catalog and/or order form, waiting for it to come, sending the order form back with a check, and then waiting for the shipment. Definitely not the good ol’ days of minor league merchandising.