Blog Bat-Around: My Wacky Regret

This post is part of a “Bat Around” question posed by the esteemed proprietor of the Garvey Cey Russell Lopes blog:

What cards have you owned that you regret are no longer in your collection?

I have to admit, I didn’t think I’d be taking part in this because I couldn’t think of any cards that really were worth writing about. I haven’t done a whole lot of trading or selling, and most of it has been either duplicates or card I had no interest in keeping.

Just as I was about to punt, I thought of another angle on the subject, and then most of this post formed in my head before I had a chance to attempt to write it all down…

Back when I was a kid in the mid 1970’s, there were a lot of different toys and games and collectibles to occupy the youth of America, but there was one thing that united everybody in my school (and many other schools)… It seemed like every kid, boys and girls alike, spent some of their allowances on Topps Wacky Packages stickers, commonly known as “Wacky Packs”.
1979 Topps Wacky Packages Gyppy Pop

For those who aren’t familiar with Wacky Packs, they were stickers that featured parodies of common products of the day… but they weren’t gentle little parodies, they were like Mad Magazine in a pack…. funny, subversive and very nicely illustrated by professional artists.
1970's Topps Wacky Packages_0004

But they were stickers… and if you’re a kid, what do you do with stickers? You stick them on things.  (Joe from 1975 adds “That’s what stickers are for.  Duh.”)

Unlike many of the sticker sets that would follow in later years, there was no such thing as a Wacky Packages album, so we were left to stick them wherever we saw fit.
1970's Topps Wacky Packages_0001
Like many kids, my preferred target for my Wacky Packs was the looseleaf binder I used for school. I eventually had the entire binder, front and back, inside and outside, covered with Wacky Packs. That binder eventually got too beat-up to use, but I hung on to it because, well, it had all my Wacky Packs on it. When it started to fall apart, I kept the two main pieces and I still have them…. somewhere.
1970's Topps Wacky Packages_0003

With the exception of the “Gyppy Pop” which I got late last year, the Wacky Packs I’m sharing here are “doubles” I had… No point in sticking them on my binder when I’ve already got the same one on there, right?

…But if I’d only saved my Wacky Packs like I’d saved all of my baseball and football and hockey cards… or even like I’d hung on to my small assortment of “Welcome Back, Kotter” cards… I’d have a really nice collection enshrined in 9-pocket pages, rather than a pair of battered pieces of a looseleaf binder, lost in a box that’s buried in a closet.


Before I close this out, I’d like to thank GCRL for reviving the Bat-around concept. Back several years ago when bat-arounds were more common, I would always enjoy reading them and I’d think “Man, if I had a blog, I could have a lot of fun with these”…. and because of the way things go, I started my blog too late to participate in one…

…until now. Thank you!

Blog Bat Around – My favorite set of the year is Topps FrankenLineaStickAttaxMan

2011 was an unusual collecting year for me.  There wasn’t any particular set that I loved busting wax for, but there was a lot to love scattered about the various Topps sets.  Rather than pick out a particular release as my favorite of the year, I’m going to build a Frankenset out of my favorite elements of 2011 sets.

First off, the base set is itself a Frankencard… The front would use the design from Topps Stickers, except it would be standard size and non-sticky.  The back would be from the regular Topps set, and the cardstock would be Heritage.

Also from Heritage would be the manager cards and some of that classic slightly-ridiculously-posed photography:

2011 Heritage Adam Wainwright: Thanks to CheckOutMyCards.com for the image

Packaging for my set would include a rack pack much like what was used for Attax, where you could see at least one of the cards in the pack.  I like packs like these, they bring me back to the day where you could decide which of the racks to buy based on the glossy insert or the base cards you could see.  As long as I’m talking about packaging, I’d also like to see some sort of packs which have a lower price point by removing the “lottery” inserts but keeping the more common inserts.  The Dollar Store insert-less packs are a bit spartan, but I’d also like the chance to get inserts without having to worry about whether Peter Johnson-Packfeeler has removed anything of value.

Here are the inserts I’d include in the 2011 Frankenset:

Diamond Giveaway code cards:  Yeah, yeah, the free cards aren’t really free.  Sure,  you can probably get many of them cheaper through other sources, but screw that.  Diamond Giveaway is fun.  I’ve enjoyed signing on every day to see what’s been offered for my cards, see what ridiculously one-sided offers I’ve gotten for my 1961 Chuck Stobbs, whether anyone’s accepted my offer for that 1972 Danny Frisella, and so on.  I also like the idea of an exclusive card for the giveaway;  Even though I traded the one die-cut I got, it was still a moment of mojo and, through a series of trades I got a lot from that one die-cut (more on that in a later post).

Lineage 2011 Rookies:  Unlike a lot of the other throwback-y inserts in Lineage and other sets, I remember pulling these cards out of rack packs, and I still have every one I pulled.  Well, OK, not the doubles, but you get the idea.

Bowman inserts and Bowman as an insert:  Rather than Bowman as a distinct brand, I think Bowman should be an insert which focuses on prospects rather than rookie cards.  Bowman as a set has too many uninteresting veteran cards and non-prospect minor leaguers.  I do really like some of the Bowman inserts, such as Topps 100 (and if an insert set ever begged to be in Topps instead of Bowman…).

I bought this card from COMC.com, it just hasn't shipped yet...

Funny, it wasn’t until I inserted this image in my post that I realized how Oriole-centric this post is turning out.  Just as well, I’ve had enough Mets cards lately.

By the way, Xavier Avery has one of the coolest names in the minors, and if you ever hear him mentioned on TV or radio, it’s fun to hear them carefully pause a beat between first and last name so they don’t end up slurring it into Xavieravier…y.

Lineage 3-D inserts:  I’m the right age to remember Kellogg’s 3-D cards, but for some reason I didn’t have any as a kid.  I guess it might be because I wasn’t allowed to get many of the “kids cereals”.  Doesn’t matter, 3-D cards are awesome!

Lineage 1975 Mini inserts:  Although I never saw a 1975 mini until well into my adulthood, the 1975 Topps set is one of my all-time favorites, and the first set I ever completed.  That being said, I still haven’t decided what to do with this insert.  I was initially a little disappointed that it was a parallel (for the most part) rather than a stand-alone insert, but since I’ve not really taken the Lineage base set to heart, I could almost look on that set as the parallel.  I’ll probably collect the Mets, Orioles and my other “guys” and leave it at that.  Still, this is a great insert.

Cheerleader Cards:  Wait a minute, how did this get in here?  Not that it wouldn’t make a great baseball insert (and I doubt many of your are complaining…)

Topps 60:  Another nice insert set, I like the mix of current and legend players on a non-ugly background.  I guess it’s a good thing that Topps 60 and Topps 100 weren’t in the same set.

Honorable mention:

Aloha, Mr. Hand!

If I  had to pick one and only one set, the regular Topps set would be it.  This was a design subtle in it’s appeal… I liked it well enough when I saw the sneak peek images online, liked it a little more when I opened packs, liked it even more when I started putting cards into binders and saw how nice they look together in a sheet.  I didn’t go for a lot of the inserts, but on the whole it was a well-above-average effort from Topps.

Also, I had a lot of fun busting packs of Attax and Stickers, even though neither is the type of set I would normally buy (and I’m still not really collecting either one).  My internal grew-up-in-the-70’s child enjoys packs where there’s nothing but base cards, and where the mojo comes from getting one of your favorite players.