2017: An Oddball Odyssey

I’ve been collecting for over 40 years now and blogging for over five years, and one thing I’ve been thinking increasingly more often over the past year or two is that I need to make more of an effort to showcase some of the more offbeat cards and sets I own.  A few days ago, it occurred to me that I should make that something of a goal for 2017, perhaps a New Year’s Resolution if you go for that type of thing.  I never really did, but what the heck, let’s give it a whirl.

Shortly after getting the idea, I had an idea of what to call the series… And once I got that idea, I knew that a series called “2017:  An Oddball Odyssey” needed to have a  particular graphic to accompany it.

And so…

2017-an-oddball-odyssey

For what its worth, I feel the same way about “2001:  A Space Odyssey” that I do about “The Natural”;  As a movie it’s pretty good, but as cinematography it is abso-freakin’-lutely unbelievable.

The original concept behind this series was to dig into my binders and boxes and featuring some of my older cards, but for this post we’re going to look at three cards I got from COMC during the Black Friday promotion.

We’ll start with a 1986 Sports Design Products J.D. McCarthy card of Casey Stengel. I’ll admit, I’m not 100% certain what the deal is with these cards. I’d have to think they’re unlicensed “Broders”, but I have seen these pop up in places where one wouldn’t expect unlicensed cards to pop up… so whatever.  Casey Stengel!  On an ersatz 1969 card!  Yay!
1986-jd-mccarthy-casey-stengel

I first started to learn about oddballs back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, when my knowledge of cards started to spread beyond what was available in my town.  Aside from the ads I saw in Baseball Digest and Street & Smith’s Baseball Yearbook for companies like Renata Galasso, Inc., I also discovered publications like Baseball Hobby News and later Tuff Stuff.  It was through such channels that I first learned about the Perma-Graphics sets of the early 1980’s.  These were relatively high-end for the time, and were made out of plastic like a credit card… rounded corners and everything.  I think I may have seen some at shows and such, but I never actually owned one or even held one in my hand…  Until I got this 1981 Perma-Graphics Dave Kingman card!  Feast your eyes on this… um… well…

1981-perma-graphics-dave-kingman

OK, back when these were new I wanted then because they were exotic and somewhat rare.  Now… Well, now I have to say that they’re gimmicky and kinda ugly.  But that’s just me.

Here’s the back;  I’d have to think that someone got these autographed in the little credit-card-y box on the back.

1981-perma-graphics-dave-kingman-back
I was amused when I read the text, because it states that Kingman is named “King King”.  Someone on the proofreading team dropped the ball that day. I’m guessing they were going for King Kong, but he really was only referred to as Kong.

Another set… or in this case, couple of sets… that I was chagrined that I didn’t own some cards from were the Squirt sets of 1981 and 1982. Not only was this set elusive for a Long Island boy, but I didn’t even know what Squirt was.  To this day I have never tried the soda, but I finally got a 1982 Squirt card, and I have to say I was mildly surprised when I got it in my hands.
1982-topps-squirt-george-foster
I didn’t expect the cardboard to be thin and white, and I didn’t expect the cards to be slightly smaller than standard size.   The back design is the same as 1982 Topps, except it’s yellow and black ink on white cardboard instead of blue and green ink on grey cardboard.

1982-topps-squirt-george-foster-back

In 1982, Foster was the big off-season acquisition for the Mets, having been acquired via trade for Greg Harris, Alex Trevino and Jim Kern.  For those who don’t remember Jim Kern being with the Mets, he’d been acquired from the Rangers two months earlier and never actually suited up in royal blue pinstripes.

The 1982 Squirt set was complete at 22 cards, and this one card makes up the Mets team set.

So that’s all I have to say about today’s oddballs.  The latter two aren’t the most exciting cards, but now there’s no longer need to hang my head in shame on missing some prominent cards of my youth.

I’m sure many of you have cards from these sets… What are your general takes on them?  I know there are plenty who like the Perma-Graphics cards a lot more than I do.

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6 thoughts on “2017: An Oddball Odyssey

  1. Have a couple of Jim Rice “credit cards” from a couple of years, they made gold parallel versions I believe in 83 and 84. I’ve never seen the 82 Squirt in person, I’ll have to see if I can track some down as theses never where in my market.

  2. I have a Squirt Jerry Remy and it’s one of my favorite oddballs from the ’80s. Looking forward to more oddities here in 2017!

  3. Perma-graphics ads were all over Baseball Digest and you bet I wanted them! I’ve gathered several of the Dodgers since. They’re OK. They would have been a lot more exciting back then, but, you know, mom and dad were stingy with the allowance money.

  4. The first Squirt set was in 1981 and the card stock is a similar thickness to the standard Topps issue that year. It is also about the same size and the same back design and color as the standard 81 Topps but with new card numbers. There was either one or two perforated edges to separate the cards on each two-card panel.

    I’m not sure why they went to the thinner stock in 1982 but it was probably because of cost.

    I believe there are also four different versions of the ’82 Squirt set. I know there was the traditional two card panel and three variations of the single card panel. Two of the three have a card with a scratch off box on it while the third has a useless away advertising card for Squirt. However, I don’t think there is any way to distinguish between panel versions when looking at the individual cards.

  5. When I went to card shows in the 80s (and they were all over Houston back then on a weekly basis) there would be several dealer tables loaded down with nothing but stacks of Broders and Perma-Graphics. I have a couple of each buried in the boxes of stuff I bought back then that’s been packed away for years.

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