Fidel Castro and Derek Jeter Keep The Little Sun Card Company Relevant

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 is 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.  An unsigned Proof also exists.  Those three 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 (11) 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 2016 National, 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 of the artwork for these cards.

Flashback Product of the Week: Red Grange 1928 Sterling Doll Company

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I don’t know about you.  But if I saw one of these waiting for me underneath the Christmas tree, I’d probably freak out and try to kill it with fire.

Some call it cute.  Others call it creepy.  One thing is for certain, and that its collectible.  During the 1920s, fans saw the rise of two very big sports figures – Babe Ruth and Red Grange.  The Sterling Doll Company decided to capitalize on this by making dolls that sorta carry both Ruth’s and Grange’s likeness.  Neither doll officially looks like Ruth or Grange.  Other than the Babe Ruth doll dressed as a baseball player, and the Red Grange doll dressed as a football player, the two look identical.  Both have the same face with eyes looking off to the right.  What the hell is it looking at?

The first time I saw one of these was at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  They have one on display.  You’ll find Red Grange wearing either a red or blue jersey.  The red ones seem to be the most common.  Prices can be all over the place.  It all depends on the condition, and how complete they are.  Examples that are in pristine condition probably could fetch over a thousand dollars.  When they do popup for sale, most are in heavily used condition.  The average price seems to be $200-$300.

There is no way I’d add one of these to my collection.  I’m not taking the chance of it coming to life at night and attacking me.

Book Mailday!

UPS dropped off a package today, and inside was my latest purchase.  Its not a card, instead it was a copy of The Photographic Baseball Cards of Goodwin & Company (1886-1890).  Jay Miller, Joe Gonsowski, and Richard Masson have put together what looks like the most comprehensible book about the Old Judge brand from the late 1800s.  This book isn’t the easiest piece of reference material to find either.  It is a self-published book and would normally cost $125.00, but sometimes one pops-up for sale on eBay.  My copy only cost $40.00 and came with free shipping.  Tonight I will starting working my way through this beast and plan to blog about it as I go.


Origins of Baseball (1744-1899)

The American Archives Publishing Company has produced one of the most educational card sets when it comes to the history of baseball.  Their 1994 Origins of Baseball (1744-1899) set sits right up there next to both modern day Obak products.  The other week, I snatched up a complete sealed set for only $12.50.  Thats not bad considering individual cards have been known to sell for $3.00 a piece.

Over the last few days, I have been carefully reading through each of the 100 cards.  One of the cards in the set shows two figures from 700 A.D. and are from Mexico.  They depict what it looks like are a batter and someone throwing a ball.  I can’t help but think they look like ancient Lil’ Teammates.

The players of this time were so much more rugged than they are today.  Bid McPhee chose not to use a glove, and instead would beat his hands with an anvil in order to toughen them up.  Since the game was in its infancy, its fun to read about all the scandals that went on too.

The cards aren’t cheaply made either.  They come with a glossy font and back, and have an older look.  The photography is excellent and the backs have extremely detailed descriptions.  The only drawback are the black borders.  Any set that has all black borders is subject to chipping.  Being sealed since 1994, the cards also stick together.  Probably my favorite card in the set is of Connie Mack.  Its my favorite because it shows him as a player, instead of a manager/owner.

If your a fan of products like Obak, I think you would really enjoy this set.  Sure you can read about the history of baseball online or in a book, but I think it sinks it better when reading it off the back of a baseball card.  There aren’t any relics or autographs, but its my favorite modern day set.



More Promo Pins From The ’10 LLWS

After work today I went back up to Williamsport because I heard there were some pin vendors setup at some of the local hotels.  I purchased a ton of new pins for my collection, and I don’t think I even spent $20.00.   I was able to pick-up a few new promos from the Wilson Trophy Company, DPH Custom Pins, and the grocery store Wegmans.  Check them out!




To get the Wegmans pin, all I had to do was eat two pieces of pizza and drink a soda.

Flashback Product of the Week: 1993 The Ted Williams Card Company Premiere Edition

The year was 1993 and The Hobby was at the pinnacle of overproduction.  Athletes of the past were cashing in on their fame, so it only seemed natural that Ted Williams would have his own card company.  Williams was a smart guy and knew what he was worth well before many other players did.  Although it sounded like a good idea, The Ted Williams Card Company wasn’t successful.  After being around for a few years it folded.  Many cards in this set are filled with errors, most likely because they were rushed into production.  These cards also have little demand and/or value.


Happy Fasnacht Day!

Today throughout many parts of the world its Fasnacht Day.  For those people that aren’t familiar with what a Fasnacht is, its basically a fatty doughnut.  People are suppose to use all the fat in their kitchen before the start of Lent.  Its a big tradition in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Switzerland, and Germany.

I know, I know.  What the hell does Fasnacht Day have to do with sports cards?  This is why cards are so cool.  They are part of almost every American tradition.  In 1937, Doughnut Company of America produced a set called Thrilling Moments in the Lives of Famous Americans.  There are only 7 athletes in the set.  The rest of the set features non-sport figures.  These cards needed to be cut off the side of the box if you wanted to add them to your collection.  They can also be found in four different colored backgrounds: blue, green, orange, and yellow.  A large portion of these cards were thrown away because you had to take the time to cut them out.  Depending on the condition, they get be very expensive and sell for into the thousands.  Usually you never want to purchase a card that has been trimmed by the collector, but in this case you don’t have much of a choice.  This is a set your rarely hear about because the cards are so scarce.

Go have a doughnut everyone!


Red Grange

Take Away Their Relics & Autos: My 2¢ On Upper Deck’s Lawsuits

I have held my tongue for awhile about Upper Deck and its legal troubles, and I promised that I wouldn’t write an entire post about it but thats not what having a blog is for.  A blog should be used to speak your mind and be a platform for your voice to be heard.  Its not a place to hold your thoughts back.  If you have something to say, just come out and say it.

It surprises me that entities such as MLB and Topps would think that taking away Upper Deck’s right to use certain logos would prevent them from making baseball cards this year.  It sure didn’t work when Donruss/Playoff was told they couldn’t use MLB logos.  Since when have collectors purchased cards just for the logos?  Thats right.  Is been a hell of a long time.  When you have a market filled with collectors willing to spend well over $100.00 for a single pack, I’m betting they have a good idea who those players have played for.  And if by chance the collector doesn’t see a logo, what stops them from just researching who they played for online?  Nothing at all is the answer to that question.  Collectors don’t need logos which is why I think Upper Deck shouldn’t have put them on with their newest releases in the first place.  Upper Deck was just asking for trouble when they did that.  Its something they could have easily avoided and certainly didn’t need to get all wrapped up in after having to pay millions of dollars to Konami for counterfeiting a ton of Yugioh cards.

Upper Deck has been one of the top, if not the top manufacturer when it comes to high-end cards.  Collectors aren’t looking at logos when the card they just pulled contains some jumbo, multi-colored, World Series logo patch.  They are looking at the quality of the relic and of coarse the serial number.  If you want to take a shot at a manufacturer and really nail them below the belt, simply take away their autographs and relics.  That is what most collectors are looking for in the first place.  I’m no legal expert, and I doubt this would even be possible, but if you take away a company’s relics they would have to survive by doing something else.  I can’t even think of the last product released that didn’t contain at least one autograph or relic per box.  If they couldn’t stay alive its most likely they would go under and there would be one less manufacturer in The Hobby which is really what entities like the MLB want.  At least thats what they appear to want when they give exclusive licenses to companies.

Many people believe Upper Deck has a good chance of filing for bankruptcy due to all their current financial problems.  Just because a company files for bankruptcy doesn’t mean its going away.  There are all kinds of bankruptcy.  If by chance, and I mean this is a small chance, Upper Deck were to leave The Hobby altogether I think all the bloggers within the card blogosphere should get together and start-up their own manufacturer.  Bloggers by far know more about this hobby than certain executives only in it for the bottom line.

So who’s with me?

One Old Gimmick

Gimmick cards flood The Hobby today and for a few moments they get their time in the spotlight.  Here is a very early gimmick card made back in 1888 by the John A. Toleman Katosa Coffee Company.  It features a drawing of a baby with a caption that states: “Oh Mamma! Baby Anson”.  The card is poking fun at Hall of Famer Cap Anson after the way he acted when he lost the Championship game.  I think its funny that even before there was an industy for sports memorabilia gimmicks were being produced.  Even though this card is from the late 1800’s, it doesn’t sell for that much.  Just like a lot of gimmicks, it lost its popularity pretty fast plus it doesn’t feature a real image of Anson himself.


Unique Baseball Patch Find

A few days ago I received a package in the mail from an older family member.  Inside was an old Dutch Masters cigar box filled with old newspaper clippings and various other stuff I really didn’t know why they wanted to send me.  Near the bottom of the box I discovered a really old Irving Trust Co. baseball patch.  Irving Trust Co. merged a long time ago with The Bank of New York, and I haven’t been able to find anything on this baseball patch.  On eBay, I see a lot of older baseball patches but nothing quite like this.  I know there are many vintage baseball patch collectors and people that collect old bank memorabilia.  I wonder if this thing has any value?  I might give it a try on eBay and see what happens.

Lets just hope someone doesn’t buy it to make fake patch cards 🙂