Card of the Day: Ray Lankford 1995 Upper Deck SP #104

Card of the Day: John Elway 1995 Action Packed #14

Card of the Day: Milt Thompson 1995 Pinnacle #83

Card of the Day: Mike Devereaux 1995 Topps #23

Product Highlight: 1995 Taco John’s Iowa Barnstormers AFL Team Set

Arena football has it’s followers.  You wouldn’t know that based on the small amount of AFL cards out there.  Upper Deck gave it a shot, but unless you pull an autograph of a famous coach or owner that box probably won’t be too rewarding.

In 1995, the Iowa Barnstormers played their inaugural season with a young quarterback on their roster named Kurt Warner.  After being released from the Packers in 1994, Warner turned to the AFL since no other NFL teams seemed that interested in signing him.  He played with the Barnstormers for three seasons before heading over to Europe, and then eventually found his way to the St. Louis Rams.

Leave it to the Iowa Barnstormers and a Mexican fast food franchise called Taco John’s to produce what is likely the most valuable AFL card ever printed.  Taco John’s sponsored the team’s first set.  You could obtain these cards in two different ways.  First was to purchase an entire team set directly from the Iowa Barnstormers.  The second way would’ve taken much longer.  For each week of the AFL season, participating Taco John’s restaurants would give out two different cards from the set with a purchase.

The entire set consists of (42) cards.  Kurt Warner is the most notable one of the bunch.  Its his first football card.

Having (42) cards in the set meant it could take up to (21) Taco John’s meals before pulling a Kurt Warner.  I wouldn’t want to see what the bathroom looks like after eating (21) Taco John’s meals.  That’s a scene best saved for a Garbage Pail Kids sticker.

Card of the Day: Pat Mahomes 1995 Pinnacle #252

Tombstone Pizza’s 1995 Super-Pro Series Could’ve Landed You An Autograph

Happy National Pizza Day!

Food manufacturers have included sports cards with their products for decades.  It still happens today, but not quite as often.  At one time sports cards were offered with potato chips to dog food.

The folks at Tombstone Pizza created a few different sets throughout the 90s.  In 1995, I remember pulling a Frank Thomas card from one of their specially-marked frozen pizza boxes.  The 1995 Tombstone Super-Pro Series Baseball set consists of (30) cards.  (15) players from the National League, and (15) players from the American League.  Inside each Tombstone Pizza box you would find (1) card.  Randomly inserted autographs could also be pulled.  Some lucky pizza lovers opened their box and found an autograph card of George Brett, Johnny Bench, or Bob Gibson.  Tombstone included 6,000 total autographs.  That’s 2,000 autographs a piece.  In order to get the certificate of authenticity you needed to send away for it.  You could also send away for a complete set with (5) proofs-of-purchase.

Card of the Day: Brian Harper 1995 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice #181

Under The Tree: 1995 Gottlieb Big Hurt – The Pinball Game

Frank Thomas was the cover man for Big Hurt Baseball during the mid-90’s.  Big Hurt Baseball is a video game that was released for various consoles between 1995 and 1996.  The video games aren’t nearly as collectible as the pinball counterpart.

Gottlieb released a pinball version of Big Hurt Baseball in 1995 simply titled Big Hurt – The Pinball Game.  Just under 2,000 machines were produced, which according to pinball collectors isn’t many.  A small portion of them have been registered on the Internet Pinball Serial Number Database and the Pinball Owners Registry.  With Frank Thomas having a huge fan base, this machine is in high-demand.  Finding one that’s in excellent, fully working condition isn’t the easiest thing to do.  If you do find a complete example that functions properly, it’s going to cost into the thousands.  Roughly what a Frank Thomas 1990 Topps “No Name” rookie would set you back.  It would’ve been great if they could have incorporated one of those into this machine’s design.

You have to admit, a piece like this would make a great addition to any Frank Thomas collection.  Just as long as you have the money and space.  Even if you don’t have the money and/or space for one of these, collectors still buy loose parts for their collection.  It really wouldn’t surprise me if one day we see parts from one of these pinball games embedded into cards.

Game highlights include:

  • Roaring crowds
  • Play-by-play announcer
  • Moving baseball glove obstacle
  • (3) flippers
  • (2) pop bumpers
  • (2) slingshots
  • Drop targets
  • Captive ball
  • 4-ball multi-ball capability

If you woke up to one of these pinball machines on Christmas morning, your tree must have been huge.

1995 Fleer Christmas Trading Cards – Don’t Eat The Yellow Snowflakes

Wow!  Junk wax from the 80’s and 90’s really produced some crazy stuff.  That includes entire products dedicated to holidays like Easter and Christmas.

Fleer’s Christmas Trading Cards hit store shelves in 1995.  This isn’t a sports product with Christmas characters randomly thrown in like we see done today.  Oh no.  In fact, there are zero sports figures included in this set.  Its nothing but Christmas characters.

The entire set contains (42) cards.  Over those (42) cards, (6) themes are covered – Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Christmas Songs.  Its a very artistic set.  Contributing artists include Greg Hildebrandt, David Delamare, Joe Boddy, and Turl MacComble.

Have you been dying to know if there are any chase cards?  Yes there are.  One card from each theme has a Golden Memories parallel.  Looking almost exactly like the base, these parallels have the Golden Memories logo in the upper left corner on the back.  Gold snowflakes also adorn the back instead of the standard yellow ones.  I don’t think anyone enjoys yellow snowflakes.

Needless to say, this product never made it past the Premiere Edition.  Boxes, packs, and singles are readily available on the secondary market.  Unless its a small, niche set sold as an online-exclusive, Christmas products such as this traditionally don’t survive.  (36) packs of Christmas cards is just way too much.

If you’re going to make a Christmas product.  Go all-in and make it super high-end.  I want a cut signature of the actual St. Nick that lived from the year 270 A.D. to 343 A.D.  Charles Dickens cut signatures.  Redemption card for a 1st edition of A Christmas Carol.  Cut signature of Clement Clarke Moore, author of Twas the Night Before Christmas.  We could call it A Transcendent Christmas.