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.

Hooray For The Red, White And Blue!

I don’t often do holiday-themed posts, but it just so happens that I have several 1976 Kellogg’s cards and 1976 Hostess cards I’ve been wanting to share, and both have that Bicentennial red, white and blue thing going for it, so I figured “What the heck”.

1976 Hostess Lee May
Lee May had 354 homers and 1244 RBI over his 18 year career… In 1976 he lead the league with 109 RBI.

1976 Hostess Tom Grieve
Tom Grive was the 6th overall pick in the 1966 draft, but never established himself as a regular at any position.  In 1976 he played in 149 games, 96 as a DH.  He’s the father of former Major Leaguers Ben & Tim Grieve.

1976 Kelloggs Eric Soderholm
Eric Soderholm was the Twins starting third baseman in 1974 and 1975, but he missed all of 1976 with a knee injury.  He was the comeback player of the year in 1977, but that was after he’d joined the White Sox as a free agent.

1976 Kelloggs Marty Perez
Marty Perez split the season between the Braves and Giants, playing mostly at 2nd base.  He played for five teams over his career, including a 1-game stint with the Yankees at the beginning of 1977.

1976 Kelloggs Rick Wise
Rick Wise had a 19 win season in 1975 and a 19 loss season in 1978 (with the Indians).  In 1971, while with the Phillies, he hit two homers in the same game that he was no-hitting the Reds. 

1976 Hostess Graig Nettles
Graig Nettles lead the league with 32 homers in 1976, but it was the only year from 1975 to 1980 where Nettles was not an All-Star.  More notably, he’s a Yankee that this Mets fan doesn’t hate.  (Don’t tell anybody).

Ya Get Whatcha Get: Four Airbrushed Hostess Cards

1976 Hostess Jim Wynn
1976 Hostess Jimmy Wynn
On 11/17/75, the Dodgers traded Wynn, Lee Lacy, Tom Paciorek and Jerry Royster to the Braves for Dusty Baker and Ed Goodson.  Unlike his Topps card, Wynn was airbrushed into the blue road uniform.

1977 Hostess Bert Campaneris
1977 Hostess Bert Campaneris
Signed with the Rangers as a free agent.  The airbrush job is better on his Hostess card than on his Topps card.

1978 Hostess Bert Blyleven
1978 Hostess Bert Blyleven
On 12/8/77, Blyleven was involved in a complex trade by the Rangers, Pirates, Mets and Braves. Among the other players flying in every which direction were Al Oliver, Willie Montanez, Jon Maatlack, Ken Henderson and John Milner.

The airbrush artist gets major bonus points for doing the gold and black pinstripes, even if he did use a slightly dated cap design.  Blyleven’s Topps and Kellogg’s cards show him with the Rangers.

1979 Hostess Rod Carew
1979 Hostess Rod Carew
On 2/3/79, the Twins traded him for Ken Landreaux and three other guys.  Carew’s 1979 Topps and Kellogg’s cards show him with the Twins.

Weigh-In #51, Plus Four Oddballs

Posting a quarterly update on my progress in organizing and purging helps me in a number of ways. It gives me an opportunity to look at the big picture, and helps with both motivation (if I do well) and guilt (if I don’t).

I know it’s not the most exciting subject for a post, which is why I’ve included four carefully selected oddballs.

The numbers here reflect changes since October 12th (not QUITE quarterly this time around)…

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  Regular readers of The Shlabotnik Report will remember that I bought two large boxes of cards back a couple of months ago.  Because I knew that the vast majority of those cards would be coming in and going back out, I did not count those “temporary” cards in my totals… It would’ve needlessly inflated the numbers, and to be honest, I do the same thing with those junk wax cards which come in as part of a repack and immediately go into the recycling.

1989 Topps Sticker back Gary Carter

1989 Topps Sticker back Gary Carter

Net change in the collection since 10/12/14:  +354 (519 added, 165 purged)

Net change to the # of cards in the house since 10/12/14: -5,180 (1,574 in, 6,754 out)

2001 MLB Showdown Sean Casey

2001 MLB Showdown Sean Casey

In the below figures, “to date”  means since I started tracking this stuff on 10/16/2011.

Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 10,595

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 41,862

Net change to the collection, to date: -2,546

Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -26,404

1976 Hostess Joe Coleman

1976 Hostess Joe Coleman

Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 49,956

Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 17,623

1998 Classic Update Red Travel Edition Cal Ripken

1998 Classic Update Red Travel Edition Cal Ripken

…which means I’ve got at least 67,579 cards in my collection.

Epilogue:  Looking at these numbers makes me feel like I have a long way to go, but that’s good because it makes me want to be more aggressive in what I purge.

Cards From “The Unholy Mess”, Part 2: Hoping For Hostess

Again, we continue the trip through “The Unholy Mess”:  A cheap box of semi-vintage football and baseball commons in complete and utter disarray.

When it became apparent that the bulk of the collection came from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, I thought “Please, please, please let there be Kellogg’s and Hostess cards in here!”

I struck out on the Kellogg’s, but scattered through the countless cards of Beasley Reece and Bob Babcock…
Unholy Mess_0002
…I did manage to find two Hostess cards.  The condition was a bit rough, but I certainly can’t complain about the player selection.

1976 Hostess Willie Stargell
1976 Hostess Willie Stargell
It takes a special skill to look menacing while doing a fakey baseball card pose.  1976 wasn’t a particularly “standout” year for Pops, but he was 36 and still had 20 homers and 65 RBI while the Pirates finished 2nd to the Phillies with a 92-70 record.

1978 Hostess Joe Morgan
1978 Hostess Joe Morgan
Joe was an All-Star in 1978, and the Reds finished 2nd to the Dodgers with a 92-69 record.

I got another 1976 Hostess card that I already had, and found no Kellogg’s… but I more than made up on that with all the 3-D cards I got from COMC on Black Friday (tease, tease).

The Spirit Of ’76!!!!

I think it’s safe to say that many of you weren’t around for America’s bicentennial in 1976.  Too bad, you certainly missed something.
1977 Mets Yearbook Photo Of Bicentennial
It was hype and nationalism and commercialism all wrapped into one particular event which was technically one day – July 4th, 1976 –  but had one hell of a lead-up.  Imagine the Olympics lasting for 18 months, and you’ll start to get an idea.

CBS broadcast a “Bicentennial Minute” every day for 2 years.  We had bicentennial TV specials, bicentennial candy bars, bicentennial soda bottles…  We even had special quarters.
1976 US Quarter reverse

That might not seem like a big deal now, but back then it was absolutely crazypants to have anything other than an eagle on the back of a quarter.  There were special half dollars and dollar coins as well, but we didn’t really notice because then, as now, nobody used those.

Everything was Stars & Stripes and three-cornered hats.  If there was anything that could be spangled with stars, Buddy, you’d better believe that it was star-spangled!

1976 Mets Yearbook Dairylea ad

Everything was made to be red, white and blue… fire hydrants, freight trains, water towers, trash cans, park benches…

…baseball yearbooks…
1976 Mets Yearbook Revised Edition
1976 Pirates Yearbook
1976 Tigers Yearbook

…baseball cards…

1976 Kellogg's Felix Millan

1976 Hostess Bucky Dent

After two years of build-up, I’m sure that there were a lot of people who became sick and tired of all the hype surrounding this event… but at least they could comfort themselves with “The Beer For The Bicentennial”.
Schmidt's Beer Ad From Mets Yearbook

Hostess Card Of The Week: 1976 Dave Cash

Dave Cash came up through the Pirates system, and took time at second base away from fading Hall Of Famer Bill Mazeroski. Cash put in some good seasons with the Pirates, but also had to contend for playing time with Rennie Stennett. The Pirates also had minor league prospect Willie Randolph coming up, so after the 1973 season, Cash was traded to the Phillies for pitcher Ken Brett.

1976 Hostess Dave CashI guess something about Dave Cash and Philadelphia just clicked, because the three years he spent with the Phillies from 1974 to 1976 were the best of his career.

This is what he accomplished with the Phillies that he didn’t manage elsewhere: Three All-Star game appearances, three years of MVP votes, three years of leading the league in at-bats, leading the league in hits in 1975, leading the league in triples in 1976. In fact, in all his time with the Pirates, Expos and Padres, Dave Cash never lead the league in any sort of significant category.

After 1976, Dave Cash became a free agent and signed a 5 year/$1.5 million contract with the Expos. He had two good seasons in Montreal, but lost the starting job to Rodney Scott and was traded to the Padres where he played one last year before retiring.

Oh, and his 65th birthday is this coming Tuesday! Happy birthday, Dave!

Hostess Card Of The Week: 1976 Willie McCovey

1976 Hostess Willie McCoveyIf you have a 2013 Baseball Hall Of Fame desk calendar like I do, you’ve been spending the last couple of days looking at Willie McCovey. This card is also my most recent Hostess acquisition, so I figured that it was kismet.

In 1976, Willie McCovey was 38 years old, and struggled for most of the season. He would eventually lose his starting job to Mike Ivie, and get sold to the A’s on August 30th, where he would serve as a DH for the first and only time of his career. In 82 games that year, he batted .204 with 7 homers and 36 RBI. For those into Wins Above Replacement, McCovey was 0.4 with the Padres and -0.2 with the A’s. I didn’t even know you could have a negative WAR.

After such a lackluster season it seemed like Willie’s career was over. However, he convinced the Giants to give him a spring training invite in 1977, and he would go on to hit .280 with 38 HR’s and 86 RBI, earning him the NL Comeback Player of the Year award and the Hutch Award. I was only generally aware of what the Hutch Award is, so I looked it up, and according to, “The award is given to a Major League player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication on and off the field of former baseball great Fred Hutchinson”. The 2012 winner was Barry Zito.

Hostess Card Of The Week: 1976 Jerry Morales

1976 Hostess Jerry MoralesFun Facts about Julio Ruben (Torres) Morales!

Signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent in 1966 . . . Selected by Padres in the 1968 Expansion Draft . . . Made his M.L. debut in September, 1969 . . . Was an N.L. All-Star in 1977;  was HBP and scored a run in the N.L’s 7-5 victory . . . Aside from Padres and Cubs, also played for the Cardinals, Tigers and Mets.

1976 Hostess Greg Gross: It’s Another Tequila Sunrise…

1976 Hostess Greg GrossThis card give you a good view of the first version of the infamous Astros uniform of the 1970’s… “Rainbow”, “Tequila Sunrise”, fugly as all get-out, call it what you will.

Some of the “features” which would get eliminated within a year or so were the white circle on the back and the “1970’s Computer-y” uniform numbers on the back and on the right thigh.

I grew up in the 1970’s, I love a lot of the bright colors introduced to baseball in the 70’s… but even I look at this uniform and say “Oh, my God…”

I tend to think of Greg Gross with the Phillies, so it’s odd to see him in orange, especially without the glasses and facial hair. Gross was a starting outfielder for the Astros from 1974 to 1976, and in 1974 he was named to the Topps Rookie All-Star team and was the Sporting News N.L. Rookie Of The Year (Bake McBride was the “official” NL ROY).