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.

Fast Five: Airbrushed Hostess Cards

I’d planned on getting back on a regular posting schedule this week, but I’m finding the break to be restorative, plus I got a large box of cards from A Cracked Bat.  It’s quite the eclectic box and it’s going to take quite a bit of my hobby time to go through it (and scan a bunch of cards, because I see several posts coming out of it).

…And by the time I’m done with that I should be getting my shipment from COMC.  Plenty of good stuff coming your way!

But in the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy a couple of Fast Five posts… Today I’m featuring five Hostess cards which feature airbrushed uniforms.

1977 Hostess Andy Messersmith

Messersmith turned two excellent seasons with the Dodgers into a big (for the time) contract with the Atlanta Braves.

1978 Hostess Bruce Bochte

The Mariners signed Bochte as a free agent (he’d been with the Indians in 1977) and he rewarded them with a career year, batting .310 with 38 doubles, 81 runs and 100 RBI.

1978 Hostess Mike Torrez

Mike Torrez bounced around for a few years, being involved in trades which included a bunch of big names (Ken Singleton, Dave McNally, Don Baylor, Reggie Jackson, Ken Holtzman, Dock Ellis) and signed with the Red Sox as a free agent.

1979 Hostess Alan Ashby

The Blue Jays traded Ashby to the Astros for Joe Cannon, Pete Hernandez and Mark Lemongello, all of whom would play for the Jays but none would have a tremendous impact.

1979 Hostess Sparky Lyle

Sparky Lyle was the Yankees’ closer, won the Cy Young in 1977 and then the Yanks got Goose Gossage the following year and Lyle was eventually traded to Texas in a 10-player deal which would bring Dave Righetti to the Bronx.

I feel like the Topps airbrush artist should get some recognition for including the button and buttonhole from the Rangers’ Henley jerseys.

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.

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 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.

An Overview of 1975 – 1979 Hostess Cards

In light of the apparent demise of Hostess as a entity – and don’t worry, Twinkies and Ho-Ho’s and the like will resurface, it’s just a matter of who purchases the brands and when they gear up production – I thought this might be as good a time as any to give you a run-through of the 5 years of Hostess baseball cards.

Hostess cards were printed on the bottom of “family sized” boxes of Hostess snack cakes from 1975 to 1979.  Each year’s set consists of either 150 cards (if you’re me) or 50 3-card panels (if you’re looking for a greater challenge and have a greater budget).

Certain cards/panels are somewhat rarer if they were printed on the box for a less-popular snack cake (i.e. Chocodiles).

Topps provided the images, and did the airbrushing as needed, like on the above 1975 Joe Torre.

The 1976 set had bold red, white and blue stripes, because it was THE BICENTENNIAL and you couldn’t not do something to commemorate the fact that the country was 200 years old.  I think there was a federal mandate or something.

Business as usual for 1977;  I find this set the least appealing, but that’s a matter of relativity;  none of the sets are what you’d call beautiful in and of themselves, but the card design is not why I collect these.

1978 was more subdued than the previous two years, but not bad looking in a minimalist sort of way.

1979 just took the footer and moved it to the header.

You’ll see references to Hostess Twinkies cards…  There’s not a huge difference between Hostess cards and Twinkies cards.  Hostess cards were sold on the box itself, Twinkies cards were inserted into the individually-sold Twinkies packages (and they often have Twinkie stains on them).

Twinkies can be distinguished by the black stripe on the back, and the fact that they come in single panels rather than panels of three.

Hostess cards don’t have the black stripe, but every year’s card looks pretty much like this:
1975 Hostess #130 - Hank Aaron SP - Courtesy of

If you collect individual cards, there’s almost no reason to distinguish between Hostess and Twinkies, and not everybody does. I don’t, and I’ve noticed that doesn’t.

Not every card has a Twinkie counterpart; In 1975 and 1976, there were only 60 cards which were Twinkified, and there aren’t any Twinkies cards from 1978 or 1979.

If you really want to go crazy, or have a larger collecting budget than I do, negatives used for Hostess sets have turned up in Topps Vault auctions.

The mid-to-late 1970’s were my peak collecting years as a kid, but I long ago completed the Topps sets from 1974 to 1978.  Collecting Hostess cards allows me to keep collecting the players of my youth without getting into some of the more arcane sets of the era.

1978 Hostess Manny Sanguillén

I’d learned something new about Manny Sanguillén the moment I Googled him; I hadn’t been aware that there’s an accent on the ‘e’, and I’ve been mispronouncing his name for 35 years. It’s not like I’m alone in this, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard his name pronounced with the accent on the last syllable.  I will try to be better in the future about getting the Latino names right.  Please feel free to chastise me if I don’t.
Manny would’ve been a career Pirate if not for the one year he spent in Oakland. Actually, by the time this Hostess card hit the shelves, he was already back in Pittsburgh.  For someone who’d only played for two teams,  he had an interesting career path.  After the 1976 season, he was traded to Oakland for manager Chuck Tanner.  He played the one season with the A’s, then was traded back to Pittsburgh for Miguel Dilone, Elias Sosa and Mike Edwards.  After five more seasons with the Pirates, he was traded along with Bert Blyleven to Cleveland for four players, and then Sanguillén was released before Spring Training.

Manny was an All-Star in 1971, 1972 and 1975 and was on the World Champions Pirates teams of 1971 and 1979.  He also caught a no-hitter pitched by Bob Moose in 1969, against the “Miracle Mets”.

After Roberto Clemente’s death following the 1972 season, Sanguillén was put into Clemente’s spot in right field, but he didn’t adjust to the outfield and was moved back behind the plate.

Sanguillén currently runs Manny’s BBQ, a concession stand out past the centerfield fence in PNC Park.

1978 Hostess Ron Cey; Weigh-in #22

I frankly don’t have much to say about Ron Cey… Six-time All-Star, Played for the Dodgers, Cubs and briefly for the A’s.

Fact that I just learned:  He was drafted by the Mets in 1966, but did not sign.

Facts and stats are nice, but you’re really here to bask in the Penguinosity of this card.


Numbers for this week:

Cards coming into the house: 0

Cards leaving the house:  0

Cards entering the collection:  102

Cards leaving the collection:  24

Cards moving from inbound to outbound without entering the collection:  200

To date:

Net change in the collection: -543

Net change to the # of cards in the house:  -2720

1978 Hostess John Denny; Weigh-in #18

John Denny reminds me of a sort of game I’d heard about years ago, in which you try to make a chain of baseball player names where the last name of the first player matches the first name of the second player, sort of like dominoes.  The objective is to see how long of a chain you can make.  The one I can remember – and I didn’t come up with this, I just read about it – was Tommy John Denny Doyle Alexander… or Tommy John, John Denny, Denny Doyle, Doyle Alexander.  As you can tell by the general era of these players, I read about this quite a long time ago.  I think it would be more difficult these days because you don’t have as many guys with first names like “John”, “Denny” or “Doyle”.

John Denny pitched for the Cardinals, Indians, Phillies and Reds.  His best season was undoubtedly his Cy Young winning year of 1983 when he went 19-6, 2.37 for the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies.  The Phillies lost the World Series to the Baltimore Orioles in 5 games.

Numbers for this week:

Cards coming into the house:   114 (Heritage blaster, several packs of Opening Day, pack of 2011-12 Hoops)

Cards leaving the house:  40 (I ran across a stack of 1989 Fleer Padres, Dodgers, Royals, A’s and said “Do I really want these?  Does anybody really want these who doesn’t already have these?”  After deciding the answer was “no”, I removed them from my inventory and tossed them into the recycling).

Cards entering the collection:  0 (My 2012 cards are in limbo while I try to get my card-tracking Access database into “production” …almost there!).

Cards leaving the collection:  40 (see “Cards leaving the house”)

Cards moving from inbound to outbound without entering the collection:  59 (Most of the Opening Day cards, as well as the Hoops cards, went straight into the “give to kids at Halloween” box)

To date:

Net change in the collection: -931

Net change to the # of cards in the house:  -3440