One of my favorite parts of some of the recent collections I’ve purchased are the little “odd ball” sets. These are sets that were part of a product’s advertising campaign or promotional giveaway. Sometimes they have a regional focus, and sometimes they were found nationwide.
There are a variety of reasons these sets appeal to me. Sometimes the photography or airbrushing that was used makes me laugh, sometimes it’s looking back at the players who were selected for inclusion, and sometimes it’s because the set itself is just really cool!
Well, in 1995 Tombstone Pizza, in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Association released a 30 card set featuring some of the greats of that era.
Is it weird that I smell my cards?
There were two different ways to obtain the cards. Collectors were able to build their set one by one with the purchase of a Tombstone Pizza. That’s a lot of pizza! Or they could send in a redemption certificate with proofs of purchase and get the entire box set at once. Some have said a hint of frozen pizza scent can still be found in the singles which came alongside the food, but unfortunately there was no pizza smell in the box set I have.
On a side note, I feel like mail in redemptions were way more popular in the 80’s and 90’s than it is today. I remember getting Monopoly board games with special gold pieces for buying like 40 boxes of Kix cereal. Once, I received a special Star Wars Emperor action figure by mailing in a bunch of UPC codes from something. Anyway, those were the days, and the 6-8 week processing window seemed to take forever. Ok, back to the cards...
If you notice, the cards used full player names and identified their team in text form, but since they were not licensed by Major League Baseball, all team logos are airbrushed out. As is typically the case, this is more noticeable on some cards, and less on others.
For instance, the Ivan Rodriguez card shows him in full catchers gear with a helmet on backwards. It looks completely natural. However, the Ozzie Smith looks ridiculous. There is no logo on the batting helmet, and he’s just wearing a plain white uniform except for a 1 right above the waistline on his left side. It just looks weird.
These sets can be found for less than $5 online, and often even less than that in person at hobby shops or shows. In my opinion, it’s a great add to any collection at that price. With Ken Griffey Jr., Greg Maddux, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Cal Ripken Jr, Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn, and more, there are plenty huge names from the 80’s and 90’s included.
Who is Bob Hamelin and Why is he in my pizza box?
These sets also provide an opportunity to reflect back and thing about what “could have been”.
If it weren’t for this set, the fact that Kansas City Royal Bob Hamelin was the 1994 AL Rookie of the Year would most likely never have entered my mind. Raul Mondesi was the 1994 NL Rookie of the Year and was actually the third Dodger in a row to win the award(Karl’s won in ‘92 and Piazza in ‘93). You see, if it weren’t for what seems like random players being included in these types of sets, many of us would forget these 20 year old pieces of baseball trivia!
Closing Remarks and a Giveaway!
We are closing in on the three month anniversary of the blog! As a small token of my thanks for the support I’ve received so far, I am going to give away the Tombstone Pizza set pictured in the post to one lucky person. I will randomly select one person who either subscribes to the blog or follows and retweets the twitter link for this article. Subscribing to the blog and following/retweeting on Twitter gives you two chances to win!
I will draw the winner on Monday, March 26!
Thanks again, and good luck!
3-27-18 UPDATE: Congrats to @Pyle_of_Billy, the winner of the Tombstone Pizza set givaway!