The Hostess Lowdown

Recently in my 1970s: A-Z series I’ve been making note of those players who appeared in all five Hostess sets of the 1970s.  In the comments of the most recent post, San Jose Fuji wondered how many players are represented in all five sets.

“Good question”, I thought… and here we are.

There are 33 players who are featured in all five Hostess sets.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back with another post soon!

Oh, right, like I would let an opportunity like this to go by without my over-analyzing what I found by querying my card database. As it turns out, this also gives me an opportunity to show off three Hostess cards I got at the Water Buffalo Lodge show… how fortuitous!

…Cards like this 1975 Hostess Steve Garvey.

Steve Garvey…

…make sure you’re sitting down…


Some people are outraged that Garvey isn’t in the HOF, but it’s not the only slight of his career. Apparently starting the 1977 All-Star Game, winning a Gold Glove and driving in 115 runs was not sufficient to get Mr. Garvey into the 1978 Hostess set. Go figure.

Steve Garvey is not alone.  Some other players who surprised me by not appearing in all five Hostess sets include Steve Carlton (missing from 1976), Don Sutton (1976), Carlton Fisk (1978), Rollie Fingers (1979) and Carl Yastrzemski (1978 & 1979).

Before I go any further, let’s take a quick break to show off another Hostess acquisition and then take a step back to look at the big picture.

This is the first of three Hostess cards for Rich “Goose” Gossage (1976, 1977, 1979)

There are 5 Hostess sets – 1975 to 1979 – with 150 cards each.  That gives us a total of 750 cards.  According to my findings, there are 332 different players featured in at least one Hostess set, which would average a little over 2.25 cards per player.

As I mentioned, there are 33 players who appear in all five sets:  Bill Madlock, Bobby Murcer, Buddy Bell, Cesar Cedeño, Dave Concepción, Dave Kingman, Dave Lopes, Dave Winfield, Gary Matthews, Gaylord Perry, Gene Tenace, Graig Nettles, Greg Luzinski, Hal McRae, Jim Palmer, Jim Sundberg, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Mike Hargrove, Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Phil Niekro, Reggie Jackson, Rick Reuschel, Robin Yount, Rod Carew, Ron Cey, Ted Simmons, Thurman Munson, Toby Harrah, Tom Seaver, Willie Stargell.

UPDATE:  There are *34* players who are in all five sets… I missed Bobby Grich because one of his Hostess cards was listed as “Bob Grich” in my database, so it didn’t sum up right.  Thanks to Dime Boxes Nick for catching that!

Robin Yount is a fairly surprising member of this list, as his 1975 Hostess card came out the same season as his official rookie card.  “Rookie year” cards don’t often show up in Hostess… for example, George Brett is also well-known for his 1975 rookie card, but didn’t show up in 1975 Hostess (and unlike Yount he got some 1974 Rookie of the Year votes).  Brett appeared in every Hostess set from 1976 to 1979.

Even more surprising on the list of Five-Timers are Mike Hargrove (who was, at least, the 1974 AL ROY) and Rick Reuschel… (FYI, this Reuschel is not one of my new cards)

As you might think, there are more players with four cards than there are with five.  I won’t list them all, but there are 42 of them.  Some of the somewhat surprising players who did appear in 4 cards include Freddie Patek, John Candelaria, John Mayberry, Jorge Orta and Willie Montañez.

…and Larry Hisle.  This well-loved example is the last of my new Hostess acquisitions.

Breaking it down the rest of the way, there are also 42 players with 3 cards, 76 with 2 cards and 139 with 1 card.

Part of why there might be a weird discrepancy of who gets in the sets and who does not is because Hostess tried to keep each team equally represented, more or less.  Generally speaking there are 5 or 6 cards per team in any given Hostess set, so that might be why 1978 has no Garvey but does have Oakland’s Earl Williams and his 38 RBI.

One thing I discovered, and which is something that isn’t all that surprising, is that there are fewer cards of the Expos and Blue Jays than there are of the other teams.  This makes sense since Hostess snack cakes weren’t sold in Canada.  Yes, the Blue Jays were an expansion team in 1977 and didn’t have much in the way of good players, but they still had about half as many cards as their partners in expansion, the Seattle Mariners.

I’m sure if I put my mind to it I could slice ‘n dice the checklists in a number of other ways, but I think this is enough for now.

Shlabotnik Quality Assortment: Just Your Basic Show & Tell

No lead-in today, right to the cards. Oh, wait, is that a lead-in?

I don’t remember buying this Billy Williams card at a recent card show, but here it is mixed in with the other card show scans. I suppose the fact that I don’t remember buying it probably indicates that I didn’t spend a whole lot on it.
1972 Topps Billy Williams

I do remember this Thurman Munson. It’s always nice to pick up a star player on a Hostess card, that’s one fewer I have to deal with. I wonder who the older gentleman in the background is…
1975 Hostess Thurman Munson
My issues with Hostess goes a long way towards mirroring issues I have with my collection. I would ideally like to complete all five sets, but that’s a very long term goal. I might make better progress if I focus on one of the five… 1975 is 41% complete… but would I miss any bargains for the other four sets? This is why I don’t publish goals at the beginning of the year with everybody else.

I knew that Gus Triandos was an All-Star and a fan favorite on some not-good Orioles teams in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, but I somehow missed that he was involved in the largest trade in MLB history.
1958 Topps Gus Triandos
The original trade had the Yankees trading Triandos, Gene Woodling, Hal Smith, Willy Miranda, Jim McDonald, Harry Byrd and players to be named later to the Orioles for Don Larsen, Bob Turley, Billy Hunter and players to be named later. Several weeks later, each team named four players-to-be-named, including Darrell Johnson, who would later manage the Red Sox, Mariners and Rangers. In all 17 players were involved in this trade.

This card is interesting in that Bill Virdon replaced Danny Murtaugh as the manager of the Pirates… and Danny Murtaugh would replace Bill Virdon as the manager of the Pirates. It helps to know that Danny Murtaugh had four different stints managing the Bucs.
1964 Topps Bill's Got It Murtaugh Virdon
Somewhere along the line I’ve become a Bill Virdon collector. Virdon was the Yankees manager back when I was young, naive and thought it was OK to like both the Mets and the Yankees. He’d also managed the aforementioned Pirates, as well as the Astros and Expos. Later in life, I started picking up baseball cards of players who I remember as managers in the 1970’s… between that and seeing Virdon patrolling center field while watching Game 7 of the 1960 World Series when it was broadcast several years ago, I somehow latched on to Virdon without fully realizing it.

It Just Seems Like A Day For Random Cards

I had a themed post ready for today, but I just didn’t feel like posting it.  Today seems more like a “random cards” sort of day, whaddaya think?

I’m slowly working through a wax box of 1992 Stadium Club Series 3… It didn’t start out slow, I enjoyed the heck out of it for a while… but it’s’ a 300 card series and a 540-card box, halfway through the box I hit the “doubles wall”.

This card might be the one I’ve enjoyed most, mainly for the “What the what?!?” factor.  Kirk Gibson… with the Bucs????
1992 Stadium Club Kirk Gibson
Gibson was with the Royals in 1991, got traded to the Pirates early in 1992 Spring Training, but only played 16 games for Pittsburgh before getting released.  Batting below the Mendoza Line will do that to a guy.

Also from 1992 is this O-Pee-Chee Premier card of Ozzie Smith… Familiar player, familiar team, but in this case unfamiliar set (to most, anyway).
1992 OPC Premier Ozzie Smith

Kellogg’s Keith Hernandez from 1981.
1981 Kelloggs Keith Hernandez
In 1979 and 1980, the Cardinals put the “TV numbers” on the uniform sleeves so that it wouldn’t take away from the beautiful chain-stitched birds-on-a-bat logo.  This photo gives a good demonstration of why that look only lasted two seasons.

It’s been a while since I posted a 1956 Topps card…
1956 Topps Ray Jablonski
As with pretty much all of the 1956’s in my collection, it was cheap, it had a good action shot, it was 1956, I bought it.

Remember when Chris Davis rookie cards would set you back a few bucks?  I’d been wanting to buy this Heritage High #’s card for a while, but it was always too expensive for my budget.  That’s not the case now, so I struck while the iron was… um… cold.
2008 Heritage Hi Numbers Chris Davis

This past Friday was “Force Friday” for those who are into Star Wars merch.  I hear that this is what happened to retailers who didn’t comply with “Force Friday”:
1977 Topps Star Wars #237

I think this post might need one more card… What do you say, one more card?
1975 Hostess Tony Oliva

Finally, on Saturday I posted about a PWE from Shoebox Legends, but inadvertently left out one of the cooler parts of the PWE… the stamp!
Jimi Hendrix stamp postmarked

I love a cool stamp when it comes along, it goes back to high school when I spent a couple of years collecting stamps (contrary to the general perception at the time that I was a nerd).

I appreciate the hell out of Jimi’s guitar skills, but I’ll admit I’m not much of a Hendrix fan… guess I’m not experienced, nor have I ever been experienced.  That’s not to say I don’t love me some Hendrix, just not the Hendrix that most other people love…

Favorite Hendrix songs:
Manic Depression
Crosstown Traffic

Favorite Hendrix covers:
Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble (from the album “Couldn’t Stand The Weather”)
Hey, Joe – Buckwheat Zydeco (from the album “On Track”)

Favorite Hendrix parody:
Holidaze (S’cuze Me, I’ve Got Gifts To Buy) – Bob Rivers (from the album “More Twisted Christmas”)

Ya Get Whatcha Get: I Was Supposedly Saving You From Something Or Another

This post was originally started over a month ago and the subject line was “Saving My Readers From A Tortured Analogy”.  One month later, I don’t remember what the tortured analogy was… I guess I saved myself in the process.

Whatever. On with the cardboard!

Horace Guy “Dooley” Womack achieved a not insignificant amount of fame by being traded for Jim Bouton during the season covered in Bouton’s book “Ball Four”. Bouton wrote “I’d hate to think that at this stage of my career I was being traded even-up for Dooley Womack”.
1968 Topps Dooley Womack
Bouton was no doubt relieved to find out that the Pilots also got minor leaguer Roric Harrison in the deal… Harrison would later pitch for the O’s, Braves Indians and Twins.

The above card is the third in my Dooley Womack PC; unfortunately his rookie card is a high-number he shares with Bobby Murcer, so I don’t think the “return on investment” is there for me.

Jim Hardin had a career year in 1968, going 18-13 with a 2.51 ERA. It was his only season with double-digit wins or losses.
1969 Topps Jim Hardin
Hardin had just 24 hits in 268 plate appearances, but he did some damage when he made contact… His 24 hits included a double, three triples, three homers and 17 RBI. He hit a walk-off homer in relief on May 10th, 1969.

Tom Seaver had 12 career homers, half of them coming with the Mets. If he hit any walk-off homers, I couldn’t find any reference to it.
1975 Hostess Tom Seaver

I think I first saw this next card over on the Dime Boxes blog… it’s the only baseball card to feature Goose Gossage in an honest-to-God Pirates uniform (instead of being airbrushed).
1978 Kelloggs Rich Gossage

Let’s Face It, I’m Tired

I’m worn out.

Shlabotnik Peanuts sigh

I sit down to write a new post, and the energy just isn’t there.

It’s nothing specific to blogging or collecting, I’ve just got a lot going on and it’s worn me out.

1975-76 Topps Jean Ratelle

1975-76 Topps Jean Ratelle

Soldiering through it hasn’t gotten me far, so I’ve decided to go on autopilot for a little while.

The good news: I’ll be posting on a daily basis for a while.

The bad news: I’ll be saying very little in each post, just posting images – mostly of recent acquisitions.

1975 Hostess Tom Seaver

1975 Hostess Tom Seaver

So, to sum up: I need a break. Look at the cards!

1972 Topps MVP Award

1972 Topps MVP Award

“Don’t Confuse Effort With Results”

I’ve had the boss from an old summer job in my head this week, chastising me for letting several days go by without a post.  I can hear him asking what’s taking so long, and I explain to him that on top of organizing my 1994 cards and entering 2015 sets into my card database, I’ve been coming up with posting ideas, researching, writing, scanning, feverishly working on customs… but he just tells me that I shouldn’t confuse effort with results.

It’s at this point that my mentally-conjured boss turns to walk away and I make a rude gesture at his back.

This is all a form of mea culpa for my meager output of this past week…  I guess I have to “work smarter, not harder”.

For now, at least, I’m  going to take “work smarter, not harder” to mean that I should post four somewhat unusual cards that had been scanned for post ideas that didn’t work out. When life gives you lemons, post oddballs.

1992 UD Cal & Billy Ripken

1999 Best Baseball America Bronson Arroyo

1975 Hostess Gene Tenace

1980 Kellogg's Lee Mazzilli

Getting back to bosses, it’s been a while since I’ve had a boss that spouted aphorisms.  Most of my recent bosses tend towards buzzwords, many of which involve incorrectly turning nouns into verbs and verbs into nouns:  “We’ve got to do some decisioning on the spend”.

What are your favorite boss-isms or buzzwords?

The Unfortunate Boomer And Other Hostess Airbrushings

In a post last week I was singing the praises of the airbrushing job done on this 1977 O-Pee-Chee card:
1977 OPC George Scott

Yesterday I was poking through my folders of scans and I ran across the “What could’ve been” example in my Hostess folder.  As good as the airbrushing on that OPC was, that’s how… um… not good the airbrushing on this 1977 Hostess was:

1977 Hostess George Scott

Same year, same traded player, very different results.

…And if you were wondering why I’m featuring this card now instead of a few days ago when I featured the OPC card, I’ll just say “That’s part of the stream-of-consciousnness fun you get with The Shlabotnik Report!”

….Which sounds better than “I’m somewhat disorganized and always writing posts at the last minute!”

To continue the theme of “Airbrushings one might not include in one’s portfolio”, let’s move on to this 1975 Tug McGraw.  The logo isn’t bad, but the perspective is wrong, the shade of red is wrong, the lack of pinstripes is wrong…

1975 Hostess Tug McGraw

The Mets traded Tug to the Phillies in December, 1974 for… you know what, we’re not going to talk about that right now… (Full disclosure:  I’m a Mets fan)

Continuing with 1975, here’s another one where the logo seems to “float” over the cap…

1975 Hostess Bobby Murcer

As an up-and-coming young player, Murcer had been touted as the “Next Mickey Mantle”, and while he was a fine player, nobody should be labeled as the “Next” anybody.  The Yankees traded Murcer to the Giants for Bobby Bonds in October, 1974.

On this 1978 Hostess card, Bruce Bochte has the look of a man who knows his uniform is going to be poorly airbrushed…

1978 Hostess Bruce Bochte

No trades were involved this time, Bochte had signed with the Mariners as a free agent.

Hostess Card Of The Week: 1975 Sparky Lyle

1975 Hostess Sparky LyleI started writing this post thinking that today was the 41st anniversary of the trade where the Yankees acquired reliever Sparky Lyle from the Red Sox for 1B/3B Danny Cater and player to be named later, but I was wrong; that trade was made on March 22, 1972. Today is actually the 41st anniversary of the “naming of the PTBNL”; infielder Mario Guerrero was sent from AAA Syracuse to AAA Louisville to finish off the deal.

Screw it, I’m finishing this post anyway.

Sparky Lyle is a very rare type of player: He’s a Yankee I kinda like. It helps that he was a Yankee when I was young and naïve and liked both New York teams.

Sparky was one of the dominant closers of the 1970’s and won the Cy Young award while helping the team win the World Seies in 1977. How did the Yankees show their appreciation for their award-winning reliever? They signed Goose Gossage to a big contract and gave him the closer job. This is the kind of crap that drove me away from the Yankees (although, let’s be honest, my being driven away from the Yankees was inevitable).

The acquisition of Gossage obviously didn’t make Sparky happy. After the 1978 season the Yankees granted his wish and sent him to the Rangers in a 10-player trade. A newswire article I found about the trade quoted Yankees president Al Rosen as saying that the key to the deal was a 19-year-old AA pitcher named Dave Righetti.  Righetti would be the 1981 AL Rookie Of The Year and lead the AL in saves in 1986. It’s kinda nice to see a trade involving a key prospect where the prospects pans out.  FWIW, Righetti has been the Giants’ pitching coach since 2000.

Getting back to Mr. Lyle, he’s standing in the left field corner of Shea Stadium; the Yankees played at Shea in 1974 and 1975 while extensive renovations were being done at Yankee Stadium.

I really need to read Sparky’s book about the 1978 season, “The Bronx Zoo”.

Dodger Fans Rejoice! Jim Wynn Is The Hostess Card Of The Week!

1975 Hostess Jimmy WynnMuch to my chagrin, this is the first Dodger in nearly a year to be the Hostess Card Of The Week. If it makes you feel any better, there are six other teams which have been just as neglected.  (Phillies fans, you’re up next week.)

Jim Wynn was the first Major Leaguer I ever met in person, during his single season with the Atlanta Braves. It was the summer of 1976 and despite my nearly complete lack of athletic abilities, I was attending a local baseball day camp. That’s how much I loved baseball, I was willing to look foolish and get yelled at all in the name of experiencing the game.

One day when the Braves were in town Jim Wynn made an appearance at our camp in full uniform. Looking back on it, he seemed like a nice guy, but even though I was thrilled to meet a baseball player, someone who appeared on a baseball card, I was so shy and intimidated that it was about all I could do to get his autograph in the first place. I had him autograph a 1976 Topps card… and now that I think of it, I probably should’ve saved this story for when I feature that autographed card. Do me a favor… When I get there, just be polite and pretend you’ve never heard the story before, OK?

Hostess Card Of The Week: 1975 Larry Hisle

1975 Hostess Larry Hisle

Today is Larry Hisle’s birthday! Let’s celebrate with a number of fun Hisle facts!

Larry Hisle played for the Phillies, Twins and Brewers from 1968 to 1982, but he was also in the Dodgers organization in 1972 (as reflected on his ’72 Topps card) and late in 1972 he was the property of the Cardinals for just over a month before being traded to Minnesota … Was named as an outfielder on the Topps Rookie All-Star team in 1969 … Had two seasons with 100+ RBI … Was an All-Star in 1977 and 1978 … Hit for the cycle on June 4th, 1976 against Doyle Alexander and Mike Flanagan of the Orioles; in that game Hisle went 4 for 5 with 2 runs and 4 RBI, and hit a 2-run homer in the top of the 10th as the Twins won 8-6 in 10 innings.