Sunday, August 24, 2014

Food Issues

I began having trouble maintaining a healthy waistline in 1993. My metabolism has always been a bit low which added to the struggle.  I continued with regular activity and exercise but my diet began changing ever-so-slowly. As a very green collector, I had no idea cards could be found in grocery stores; hidden in cereal boxes, frozen foods and...sausage?

I stumbled upon these quite by accident, during a rare sausage purchase. Produced by MSA for Jimmy Dean and distributed in 3-card packs, right into the meat section of the local grocer.  This collecting newbie was excited to find my beloved Darren Daulton in a sausage roll!  He naturally belonged in a meat product!  It never occurred to me there might be a complete set.  I didn't care!  I purchased enough sausage over a short period of time to claim the extra ten cards via UPC redemption. Having eaten too much sausage, I certainly wouldn't be hungry for it anytime soon - if ever!  Breakfast meat behind me, I could breathe a bit easier while doing the weekly shopping.

I'd scribbled Red Baron frozen pizza on my grocery list. Reaching for my cheesy Red Baron, I noticed the Tombstone branded pizza.  I almost got away without creating another cycle of over-eating. Having the myopic vision of Mr. Magoo, how I noticed the baseball card on the Tombstone box is a mystery.

      Also produced by MSA (a company who
      obviously has issues with my waistline) in a
      30 card set.  Only five pizza proof-of-purchase
      logos required to complete the set, I returned to
      buy four more. Done.  Tombstone was a decent
      frozen pizza back in the day.

When does it end????  Seriously, can't a girl have fried chicken without Church's waving their cards in my face?  I eat fried chicken maybe twice a year.  It quickly became the Chicken-Fried Summer of  1994. Church's Hometown Stars, a product of Pinnacle brand was issued in four card packs. Lucky me, additional packs could be purchased for .69 each.  A 28 card set wasn't enough for Pinnacle.  One of the four cards was gold foil stamped.
Regular issue                                   Gold foil issue
Pinnacle didn't forget the insert chase!  Using their Dufex technology, the 10 card set Show Stoppers was inserted one in every fourth pack.    
These are still favorites of mine, some of the most colorful cards I've seen.  When I'd finally completed the insert set, I also had countless base sets and two complete gold sets. Man I ate a lot of chicken that year!

I love all beef hot dogs but sometimes crave a coney from a (then local) favorite.
Completely unhealthy but delicious Sonic Footlong Coney Dog
I couldn't even have a hot dog from the safety of my own car.  In 1995, Sonic picked up where Church's left off...  For a combo meal purchase, I received a 3-card pack of Sonic Upper Deck Heroes of Baseball.  Twenty cards total, players in sepia tones and card trimmed in red, white and blue:

Still barely two years into collecting, this set was my introduction to true heroes of the game.  I knew  Babe Ruth but little of Paige, Kaline, Hodges, Minoso and the 15 other players (new and old) featured in this set. A nice set, simply designed and difficult to complete - I ate a lot of hot dogs that Summer!

1996 came and so did the 1996 Denny's Holograms.  I didn't realize Denny's had issued sets since 1991. With the recent introduction of holograms to sportscards, this year's set of 28 were expected to be their most popular release.  Of course, included was a ten card Grand Slam insert set - and Artists Proofs of these lovely inserts. With your meal order, two packs could be purchased.

My collecting friend and I worked nights and shared days off, so we went to Denny's around 2am twice a week for a month or so. The first night our waitress Cindy gave us a couple extra packs.  We'd chatted it up with her, having planned to befriend the lucky waitstaff assigned to our table. We left a $10 tip for pancake meals and planned to return the next night.  Cindy practically met us at the door. Each time she came by to check on us, she'd slip a few packs on the table. We found out a bit more about her too: single mom working two jobs to make it.  Well...she may have been working us too because we left another nice tip of $20.  For the next couple of weeks, she'd bring handfuls of packs to the table, dumping them from her apron.  My friend and I opened easily over 100 packs of those cards.  Never did we find one single insert.  Lots and lots of base cards....

Those are some fun collecting memories! Pounds collected then have been shed and gained, and shed and gained.  It's too bad though for today's collectors since the days of finding cards in cereal or pizza etc. are long gone.  I know there are a few rarities around, such as Mother's Cookies. Still I'm better off.  I clearly have serious food issues!


  1. Food oddballs are some of the best kinds of oddballs. Those Sonic ones are among my favorites.

    1. I love oddball sets too! I never did finish that attractive Sonic set. I think I'll do just that!

  2. I loved all the food issues in the 1980s. In Milwaukee and during various years, you could get a 4x6 photo of a Brewers player with a Mr. Z's pizza, a 3-image "3-D" card with a Slurpee from 7-11, discs of White Sox, Brewers, and Cubs from Jays Potato Chips, fully licensed Brewers cards produced by Topps in your loaf of Gardner's Bread, and even glass tumblers from McDonald's and place mats from Pizza Hut. It was a great time to be a hungry fan -- or at least a kid with a reasonably fast metabolism! ;-)

    1. Pretty great selection of carbs! I missed out on some calories! Certainly more affordable then too! I enjoy adding odd cards and other MLB collectibles to my collection. The older, the better. I didn't attend my first ballgame til I was in my early 20s. It was AAA Ball. First MLB game came 10 years later.