Mystery Solved: Why Are The Crash Test Dummies In These Sets?

Are we alone in the universe?  Is Bigfoot real?  Who really shot JFK?  These are all questions that have plagued humanity for a very long time.  But one question rises above them all.  Why are the Crash Test Dummies (Vince & Larry) included in two minor league baseball team sets?  I needed to find out.

According to Ad Council, “The single most effective protection against death and serious injury in a car crash is the safety belt.  Since Vince & Larry, the Crash Test Dummies, were introduced to the American public in 1985, safety belt usage has increased from 14% to 79%, saving an estimated 85,000 lives, and $3.2 billion in costs to society.  The campaign tagline, “You Could Learn A Lot From a Dummy,” as well as the crash test dummies themselves, was retired in 1999, when the U.S. Department of Transportation revised the campaign.”

Between 1985 and 1999 the Crash Test Dummies (Vince & Larry) were everywhere.  Their slapstick comedy promoting safety belt usage will go down as one of the most successful advertising campaigns in history.  Their popularity spawned comic books, video games, and a line of action figures.

The Oklahoma City RedHawks (now the Oklahoma City Dodgers) played their inaugural season in 1998.  Like a lot of minor league teams, they had team sets made which could be purchased at their souvenir shop.  At the time Multi-Ad was one of the key companies to print these up.  Between their 1998 and 1999 sets not many names ring any bells besides Todd Van Poppel (1998).  The most interesting cards are of the Crash Test Dummies (Vince & Larry).  But what the heck are they doing in here?

The Crash Test Dummies (Vince & Larry) are featured on five cards in the 1998 set – #26-#30.  Each card looks exactly alike except for the card number.  You’ll find two cards of them in the 1999 set – #29 and #30.  Once again they look alike besides the card number.

On the back of each card it reads “Vince and Larry are no rookies-these guys have been pitching safety belt use in a major league way for nearly 11 years.  As crash test dummies, they’ve had their share of hard hits.  When it comes to a save situation, safety belts and air bags are the perfect stoppers.  Take it from these two MVPs…if you want to be safe at home, wear your safety belt.”

My search lead me to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.  Their Communications Manager came back with the following response:

“The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) has a long history of working closely with the OKC Dodgers (and formerly the RedHawks) as it relates to traffic safety marketing.  Each year, the OHSO enters into a marketing contract with the team (and others around the state) to promote traffic safety at their games and events.

I’m sure the inclusion of Vince and Larry was a part of a previous contract.”

There you have it.  Mystery solved.  I wish the explanation would have been some elaborate story.  But it was just a simple marketing deal between the Oklahoma City RedHawks and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

Now we can all rest comfortably.

1998

1999

Flashback Product of the Week: 1991 Ace Novelty Co. Inc. Tackling Dummies

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Sticking with the toy theme for Christmas, this week its all about those Tackling Dummies.

From 1991 to 1992 Ace Novelty Co. Inc. released a slew of stuffed toys covering a wide variety of sports.  The football line was known as Tackling Dummies.  With all the success that Tonka was having with their Wrestling Buddies, it only seems natural that other sports would get sucked in too.  I guess Ace Novelty was able to snag licenses to the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL before Tonka could.  Or at least they came to an agreement with certain players.

The 1991 run of Tackling Dummies consists of only four players – Joe Montana, Randall Cunningham, Boomer Esiason, and Dan Marino.  In 1992 they added Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly, and Warren Moon to the checklist.  Unlike most sports collectibles, these guys are made to be played with.  They’re built to take a beating.  Today their value can vary a lot.  Having them in their original box increases their value dramatically.  Mint in box examples can be worth $50.00 to $120.00.  They aren’t quite as desirable as Tonka’s Wrestling Buddies.  Most used versions can be found for under $30.00.

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That is one creepy looking face.