Flashback Product of the Week: 1988 Little Sun Minor League Legends

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At one time there was a small card company located in Monrovia, CA called Little Sun.  They pumped out mainly baseball card sets between 1988 and 1992.  Along with Upper Deck, Little Sun was one of the first manufacturers to include randomly inserted autographs within their products.  The first Little Sun autographed cards can be found in their 1991 High School Prospects set.  Shawn Estes, Cliff Floyd, Benji Gil, and Al Shirley all have autographs in there.  Each one is limited to (500) copies.  Of all the sets they issued, their final one gets the most attention.  The 1992 High School Prospects set not only includes a Derek Jeter base card, but an autograph as well.  Those two Derek Jeter cards are highly sought after.  Collectors are willing to spend big money for them.  Other autographs include Jason Kendall, Dave Landaker, and Chad Roper.  Each of these autographs has a (250) copy print run.  You could say that Little Sun went out with a bang with this set.  Derek Jeter is pretty much the only thing keeping the Little Sun name relevant these days.

Early on in Little Sun’s card making career, they came out with a minor league product.  The set is called 1988 Little Sun Minor League Legends.  It only features eleven cards – Checklist #1, Pete Gray #2, Ike Boone #3, Lou Novikoff #4, Luke Easter #5, Steve Bilko #6, Frank Shellenback #7, Smead Jolley #8, Jigger Statz #9, Joe Hauser #10, and Fidel Castro #11.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has a card in here.  Castro was a great athlete who enjoyed playing baseball.  The Washington Senators once held tryouts for Cuban players, but he wasn’t offered a contract.  After he came to power, Castro would occasionally pitch an exhibition game for the Barbudos.  Despite the opposing team always hitting strongly against him, nobody would dare pull Fidel Castro from the game.  Over the years, Castro has popped-up in various products.  Topps even made a few cut signatures of him.  While attending the National last summer, Iconic Auctions had a Fidel Castro signed baseball on display.

Like most of Little Sun’s sets, this one doesn’t hold much value.  You can easily find the cards for dirt cheap.  I like the artwork.  It reminds me of those Diamond Stars cards from the 1930’s.  National Chicle also comes to mind.  Artist Michael Guccione did all the artwork for these cards.

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