Whether you collected in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, or if you flipped through copies of Baseball Digest, Street & Smith’s Baseball Yearbook or any similar publication, you were at least passingly familiar with Renata Galasso, Inc.; The “World’s Largest Hobby Card Dealer!”, if you believed the ads.
While Larry Fritsch might have argued the “world’s largest” claim, there was no reason for the average person to doubt it; she was certainly the most advertised hobby card dealer.
One of the things that always caught my eye about the ads were the “glossy cards of baseball greats” that were always featured in the ads. If you bought a hand-collated Topps set from her, you got a 45-card set of her cards. If you bought two 500-count vending boxes, you got a set. I used to wonder what the cards were like, but as I never did business with RGI, I never knew.
…Until late last week.
Ever since I started reading baseball card blogs, there have been numerous occasions where I read about a set and say to myself “I’ve been collecting for 40 years, why do I not have any cards from that set?” I finally got tired of asking myself that question and started to work on collecting at least one card from as many sets as I could.
Renata Galasso “Glossy Greats” certainly fits in that category, and in my last COMC shopping spree I picked up two of them.
The first one is for HOFer Ralph Kiner, who played for only 10 years but still managed to lead the N.L. in homers 7 times, and amass 369 homers.
…But the real reason I got a Ralph Kiner card was because he worked on the Mets broadcast team for years, and his post-game TV show, “Kiner’s Korner”, was always a favorite.
The back of the card prominently features the Renata Galasso logo (naturally) and a little writeup on the player.
I also got a card of former New York Giant Sal “The Barber” Maglie, who entered my consciousness at an early age because he was a coach with the Seattle Pilots and Jim Bouton wrote about him in his book “Ball Four”.
What I didn’t know as a kid, but later came to find out, was that the design used for the front of these Glossy Great cards came from the 1960 Leaf set. These cards were never tremendously popular as they were black and white, plus didn’t have many stars despite having a 144-card checklist.
But like the Glossy Greats, I felt I had to have some 1960 Leaf cards, so I got two commons as part of the same COMC shipoment.
Bob Boyd started out in the Negro Leagues and would later be in the Cardinals and White Sox organization, but the Orioles were the first team to give him a chance to play regularly. Even though he was 36 when he started with the O’s, he still had a .301 batting average over his five seasons with the team.
Boyd’s nickname was “Rope” because of the line drives he hit.
Here’s the back of Boyd’s card. Just the facts, ma’am.
Just for the heck of it, and because it was cheap, I also got a card of Bill Tuttle.
Bill Tuttle was a centerfielder who played 11 years in the majors with the Tigers, Twins and Kansas City A’s. Although he never made an All-Star team, he did finish in 23rd in 1959 A.L. MVP voting.
I’ll admit, I got the card because the name “Tuttle” reminds me of a personal favorite episode of M*A*S*H where Hawkeye and Trapper John invent a “Captain Tuttle” in order to get supplies for a Korean orphanage. Their scam quickly escalates, hilarity ensues, but Hawkeye & Trapper come out unscathed (naturallly).
Just for funsies I decided to conclude the post with a custom 1960 Leaf card… mainly to see how difficult it would be.
The answer? Not very. The halo effect was the (relatively) hardest part, along with getting a reasonable approximation of the font (two varieties of Franklin Gothic, with wide kerning on the player’s name).