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.

Hostess Card Of The Week: 1979 Phil Garner

1979 Hostess Phil GarnerEven with the reddish tint my card has, you can still bask in the glow of Phil Garner’s very yellow Pirates jersey.  You can tell from the guys in the background that the uni of the day included yellow pants as well.  Even though I came of age in the 1970’s , it was a happy day in the Shlabotnik household when the Pirates went away from the mix-and-match combinations of the white/yellow/black jerseys, white/yellow/black pants, yellow & black “pillbox” caps and yellow & black stirrups.

Phil Garner split his time between second and third in 1978 and 1979, but but moved over to second base full time when the Bucs traded for Bill Madlock in June, 1979.  He batted .500 (12 for 24) with three walks in that year’s World Series as the “We Are Family” Pirates beat the Orioles in 7 games.

Garner was an All-Star with three different teams (A’s, Pirates & Astros) and has managed the Brewers, Tigers and Astros.  He’s currently a Special Advisor for the Athletics.

Hostess Of The Week – 1979 Terry Whitfield: Jerseys, Japan, Johnson City

Terry Whitfield was an outfielder and pinch hitter who played for the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers, with a stint in the Japanese Pacific League sandwiched in the middle.
1979 Hostess Terry Whitfield

I’ll be honest, I’d mentioned Johnson City in the header mainly to keep the alliteration going… In 1971 Whitfield was a first-round draft pick (19th overall) of the Yankees, and started his professional career in Johnson City, where he was teammates with Louisiana Lightning himself, Ron Guidry.

Whitfield moved up through the Yankees farm system, but never established himself with the parent club after a couple of “cups of coffee” with the Yanks. He shares his 1975 rookie card with Fred Lynn, Ed Armbrister and Tom Poquette.

During spring training of 1977, Whitfield was traded to the Giants for Marty Perez (known on this blog as the Latin Davy Jones)…
1977 OPC Marty Perez
…and much to the dismay of the airbrush artist who did this card for the 1977 O-Pee-Chee set, Perez played in one game for the Yankees before being shipped off to Oakland as part of a package for pitcher Mike Torrez.

Terry Whitfield established himself as a regular outfielder with the Giants with good offensive stats, although maybe not what may have been expected of him.

Whitfield is notable in that he may have been the first American player to spend his peak years playing in Japan; his contract was sold by the Giants to the Seibu Lions for the 1981 season, when Whitfield was 28 years old.

He’d play three years in Japan, helping the Lions win Japan Series titles in 1982 and 1983 while hitting 88 homers over the 3 years.

After Japan, Whitfield was signed to a three-year contract by the Dodgers, who must’ve figured that they signed a guy who’d sorted out his hitting issues while overseas, but it didn’t work out that way. Whitfield ended up as more of a pinch hitter than a regular and would hit just 7 homers in three years with the Dodgers.

OK, I’ve covered Japan and Johnson City… what about the Jersey?

The jersey Whitfield is wearing is fine in and of itself, but I view it as a mistake along the lines of the New York Rangers’ uniform change of the 1970’s…
1977-78 Topps Walt Tkaczuk
You’ve already got a classic uniform, why would you change it?

…And the answer to that is, of course, it was the 1970’s.

Because Everybody Loves An Embarrassing Yankee Loss (1979 Hostess Amos Otis)

1979 Hostess Amos OtisOn this day in 1978, Amos Otis was involved in a moment in Yankees history that I wish I could say I remember.

Here’s the scene:  In Royals Stadium that Friday, Ed Figueroa was pitching well for the Yankees, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits, and going into the 9th inning with a 3-2 lead.  Figueroa g0t Hal McRae and Al Cowens to pop out, but with two outs he walked catcher Darrell Porter and then went 2-0 on Amos Otis.  Billy Martin decided he’d seen enough, and brought in closer Goose Gossage.

Gossage’s first pitch to Otis was hit to right-center field, and centerfielder Paul Blair seemed to catch it for the final out, but…

…and this is the part I like…

…he collided with rightfielder Reggie Jackson, the ball and Blair’s glove went flying and a shaken Paul Blair wasn’t able to get to the ball before Otis came all the way around with a walk-off  inside-the-park home run!

Royals Win!  Thuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh Royals win!!!!

Coincidentally, the Yankees are in Kansas City this weekend.  Maybe something similar will happen today and the Royals can avoid the sweep.

Incidentally, there are sources on the web which say the collision was between Jackson and Mickey Rivers, but Blair had pinch-run for Rivers in the 7th.  I wonder if there were extenuating circumstances, because I can’t imagine why you’d need to pinch-run for “Mick The Quick”.

1979 Hostess Rick Manning

1979 Hostess Rick ManningRick Manning is probably better known for the 20-plus years he’s spent as a color commentator on Indians broadcasts, but he was also a pretty durn good outfielder.

The Indians selected Manning out of high school with the second-overall pick in the 1972 June draft, just after the Padres took Dave Roberts.  Other notable names in the first round were Scott McGregor (Yankees), Roy Howell (Rangers), Dick Ruthven (Twins) and Chet Lemon (A’s).

Rick Manning played 13 years with the Indians and Brewers, and was known for his speed and his defense.  He won the A.L. Gold Glove in 1976.

Hostess Card Of The Week: 1979 Sal Bando

1979 Hostess Sal BandoSal Bando was a 4-time All-Star, won 3 World Series with the A’s, finished second in 1971 MVP voting to teammate Vida Blue and was the GM of the Brewers from October, 1991 to August, 1999.

He also did a guest appearance on a 2006 episode of The Simpsons!

Two things that struck me about Sal Bando when preparing this post…

1)  He looks like an ordinary guy.  Maybe it’s just the jaded view from the midst of the steroid era, but he looks normal.

2)  He lead the American League in a very wide variety of statistics;  check it out:

1968: Putouts at 3B, 188

1969:  Plate Appearances, 734; Errors at 3B, 24

1970: Putouts at 3B, 158

1973: Doubles, 32; Extra Base Hits, 64; Total Bases, 295

1974: Sacrifice Flies, 13

1975: Double Plays turned at 3B, 36

1990 Topps Magazine Cards And A Familiar-Looking Image

Earlier this week I was idly sorting through a box of oversized “I don’t know how to properly store this” stuff, and I ran across my Topps Magazine cards, still in sheet form but long since divorced from the magazines they came in.

I think I subscribed to the first 4 issues of Topps Magazine, but decided that it wasn’t exciting enough for me to re-up… Despite the inclusion of special cards which manage the difficult feat of being uglier than the 1990 Topps design.
1990 Topps Magazine TM9 - 12

While I was looking at this particular set of cards, I couldn’t help but notice that the Jim Palmer photo looked familiar…
1990 Topps Magazine TM13 - 16
…and that’s when I realized it might be from the same photo shoot as this past Sunday’s Hostess Card Of The Week:
1979 Hostess Jim Palmer
Although the Topps Magazine card is a bit washed out, both photos were taken in Yankee Stadium on a partly sunny day, both have the Brut cologne ad on the left, and in both photos Jim Palmer’s hair has an unintended flip on his right.

I don’t have a real point to this, other than “Heyyyyyyyy, lookathis!”  Having two similar Jim Palmer photos in the same week was nothing I’d planned, I’m nowhere near that organized… it’s just a serendipitous occurrence (and 25 cents goes in the “Big Word” jar).

Getting back to the 1990 Topps Magazine cards, these are pretty much what you’d expect from 1990 baseball cards.  On the first half of the sheet, we’ve got four ubiquitous-for-1990 faces in Bo (Overhyped 2-sport player) Jackson, Nolan Ryan (who had just reached 5000 K’s), Will “The Thrill” Clark and Robin Yount, the AL MVP of the previous season.

The second half of the sheet features the two 1990 Hall Of Fame inductees in Joe Morgan and Jim Palmer, as well as two players who’d been drafted in 1989 and made their Major League debuts that September.  Ben McDonald was the first overall draft pick, and went on to have a decent career with the Orioles and Brewers.

John Olerud played for 17 years for a number of teams and had a couple of exceptional seasons where he batted .363 and .354.  He’s also notable in that he’s one of those players who went straight to the Major Leagues without making any minor league stops.  In fact, he didn’t play in the minors until he did a brief stint with AAA Pawtucket at the end of his career, in what seems to have been an audition for the Red Sox.

Olerud’s card is interesting in that it lists him as both a first baseman and a pitcher, even though I can’t find any evidence of him having pitched in the pros… although he did pitch in college

Hostess Card Of The Week: 1979 Jim Palmer

1979 Hostess Jim PalmerJim Palmer is hanging out at Yankee Stadium on what looks to be a beautiful day.

Two things struck me about this photo:
1) The Orioles really wore their uni numbers up high, didn’t they?

2) I noticed the ad for Brut cologne over Palmer’s shoulder, and I was about to do some research along the lines of “Brut was a men’s cologne back in the 1970’s”… only to find that they still make Brut. Obviously, I know squat about cologne. That’s because, like Jim Palmer, I don’t need cologne to attract the ladies.

Shhhhh… If you listen very closely, you can hear my wife laughing…

In 1979, the Orioles would beat the Angels in the ALCS, but lose the World Series in 7 to the “We Are Family” Pirates. In the regular season Jim Palmer went 10-6 with a 3.30 ERA, won a Gold Glove, but wasn’t an All-Star, won no other awards, and didn’t lead the league in anything. Slacker.