Product Highlight: 1990 Good Humor Big League Ice Cream Bar Baseball Bat Autograph Stick

Products come in some elaborate packaging today.  You have to cut, tear, rip, and occasionally use a flamethrower just to access the cards.  It can be ridiculous.  Not to mention drive the price up.

How about having to eat ice cream in order to see what you got?  That’s exactly what needed to be done with the 1990 Good Humor Big League Ice Cream Bar Baseball Bat Autograph Stick set.  The set consists of (26) sticks shaped like miniature baseball bats.  Players are listed in alphabetical order, and numbered accordingly.  Every stick has a facsimile signature on the barrel.

Here’s the checklist:

  • Jim Abbott #1
  • George Bell #2
  • Wade Boggs #3
  • Bobby Bonilla #4
  • Jose Canseco #5
  • Will Clark #6
  • Eric Davis #7
  • Carlton Fisk #8
  • Kirk Gibson #9
  • Dwight Gooden #10
  • Ken Griffey Jr. #11
  • Von Hayes #12
  • Don Mattingly #13
  • Gregg Olson #14
  • Kirby Puckett #15
  • Tim Raines #16
  • Nolan Ryan #17
  • Bret Saberhagen #18
  • Ryne Sandberg #19
  • Benito Santiago #20
  • Mike Scott #21
  • Lonnie Smith #22
  • Ozzie Smith #23
  • Cory Snyder #24
  • Alan Trammell #25
  • Robin Yount #26

I know what you’re thinking.  “Those are cool.  But how would I store them?”  You’re in luck.  Good Humor made a special album that was available through a mail-in offer.  That album is probably more collectible than the actual sticks because you rarely see it.

Not a whole lot of value can be found with these sticks.  They’re all over the place.  None of them sell for more than $5.  Anyone still have a box sitting in the freezer?

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Pin Highlight: 39th National Sports Collectors Convention

Its no secret that I had a great time while attending the National Sports Collectors Convention this year.  I’ll be talking about it forever.  Sports Card Info pin/t-shirt, Topps hat, and pulling a Babe Ruth/Shohei Ohtani dual relic #’ed 1/1.  All while surrounded by some of the most museum quality sports memorabilia known to man.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

I was very happy to see the NSCC selling show-branded merchandise.  Its been a long time since we’ve had stuff with the show’s name on it.  This past year they went all out.  Five different types of t-shirts, poster, and a pin.  Some of this could only be purchased online or in person at the show.

When I saw they had a pin, I needed to pick one up.  Pins were a regular thing they sold for awhile, but then stopped.  Show-exclusive bobbleheads should be next.

Product Highlight: 1999 Jersey Topps

Have you seen these before?  They’ve been around for the last nineteen years, and this is the first time that I’ve spotted them.  Its funny the kind of stuff you’ll come across when you’re researching for a blog post.  Whenever I see a mainstream manufacturer issue a product that isn’t card related at all I have to stop and look.  Especially when its something as obscure as this.

What we have here folks is Jersey Topps produced by the Topps Company in 1999.  There isn’t a lot of information floating around about them.  Mainly because they didn’t make it past the inaugural edition, and plus there really isn’t much to discuss in the first place.

Packaged inside each box is (1) mini replica jersey.  According to the back of the box:

We took the game’s best and cut them down to size to bring you these new collectibles.  Jersey Topps are free-standing, miniature replicas of the authentic jerseys of six of the greatest players in Major League Baseball.  They’re finely crafted from flexible vinyl to capture the real, lifelike details of your favorite player’s uniform the way no photo can!

The checklist consists of:

  • Mark McGwire
  • Derek Jeter
  • Sammy Sosa
  • Cal Ripken Jr.
  • Chipper Jones
  • Ken Griffey Jr.

Despite existing for almost two decades, I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t heard of them either.  $10-$30 seems to be the going rate.  No player collection should be without one… or a hundred.

Pin Highlight: 2018 MLB All-Star Game Press Pin

Its hard to believe that we’re half way through the 2018 MLB season.  Phillies fans like myself should be thrilled with how the team is playing.  Especially when you compare what their record is now to what it was last year at this time.  The Phillies are 53-42, and half a game ahead of the Braves while sitting atop the NL East Division.

Earlier this year, I purchased a 2018 Topps Now Philadelphia Phillies Road To Opening Day Team Set.  If anyone from that team does something special throughout the season, Topps will send out a special card to those who purchased the set.  One of those special moments is placing #1 in the division at the All-Star break.  So I will have to keep an eye on the mail for that.  I’ll show it off when it arrives.

The 2018 MLB All-Star Game takes place in Washington D.C.  FanFest has lots of merchandise to buy.  But its the stuff not for sale that draws massive attention.  Pictured above is the press pin made for members of the media, and various MLB partners.  The center portion is made of a finely crushed marble powder, which was then mixed with a resin and molded into the shape of the U.S. Capitol Building.  That’s just not any marble powder they used either.  Its from the actual U.S. Capitol Building steps that were removed during a 1995 renovation.

I find it ironic that something as patriotic as this pin was made in China.  Well, the metal part of the pin and plastic container it comes in is from China.  A few have leaked their way on to the secondary market.  One completed sale ended at $125.

Past And Present Cleveland Indians Highlight The Topps 2018 NSCC VIP Set

Cleveland Indians of the past and present will be found in the Topps VIP set this year for those attending the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention.  Its a 5-card set.  I wouldn’t be surprised if packs only contain (4) cards.  Like in years past, Topps wants you to trade in order to get that fifth card.

Product Highlight: 1998 Riddell Game Greats

Why?  Its a simple question that is asked quite a bit in this hobby.  Sometimes you just have to wonder what people were thinking when it came to giving the “ok” to a new product.  Maybe they deliberately wanted these products to flop just to create good blogging material twenty years later.  If that’s the case, then I’d call it a success.

Traditionally, Riddell is known for making sports equipment.  Over the years though they’ve dabbled in the collectibles market.  One of their collectible ventures came in 1998 with Game Greats.  These miniature busts feature 360° wrap-surround digital imaging.  That’s just fancy talk meaning they printed a digital picture and folded it into a loop.  I guess using an actual image was the main selling point verses having a molded plastic face.

Riddell made a series for both baseball and football.  The baseball set consists of six players – Ken Griffey, Jr., Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Sammy Sosa.  Football has seven – Troy Aikman, John Elway, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Kordell Stewart, Steve Young, and Barry Sanders.

In order to obtain the Barry Sanders bust, you needed to mail-in three proofs of purchase along with the original register receipt.  Barry Sanders wasn’t sold in stores like the others.  If you didn’t want Barry Sanders, you could still request one of the other busts for free.

Riddell offered a mail-in program for baseball too, but I’m unclear as to what you’d get in return.  On the proof of purchase for the football busts, it states the exact name of the bust it came from.  For example, the proof of purchase for the John Elway bust says “’98 Elway – Blue Jersey”.  The proof of purchase for the baseball busts is a little different.  For example, Mark McGwire’s just says “’99 McGwire”.  Just like the football, the baseball busts were released in 1998.  The checklist on the backside of the baseball packaging identifies them from 1998 too.  So why do the proof of purchase for the baseball players state they’re from 1999?  Unlike football, nothing is stated on the back of the baseball busts as to what you’d receive.  I’m thinking the baseball proof of purchase were going to be used for a future product that never arrived given how poorly Release 1 sold.

You can easily find these for sale.  Sellers can’t give them away.  It wouldn’t surprise me if someone at Riddell is sitting on a few rare prototypes.

Product Highlight: 2001 Topps Tribute

Remembering the first truly high-end product you saw I guess depends on when you began collecting.  For me, the first high-end product I can remember is 1997 Donruss Signature Series.  At a cost of around $15/pack with a guaranteed autograph inside each pack I thought it was a very big deal.  Having the opportunity to open up a few was great, even though I wasn’t too familiar with the autographs I was pulling – Eric Young, Todd Hollandsworth, and Jeffrey Hammonds.

High-end is one thing.  Super-premium is another.  In 2001, Topps introduced us to their Tribute brand.  At the time I suppose you could consider it a super-premium product.  Packs cost $40.  2001 Topps Tribute marked a first for Topps.  It was the first Topps product to feature a “hit” in every pack.  Quite the norm today, but fairly a new idea back then.

If your looking to put together the base set, it shouldn’t be that difficult.  Only (90) cards make up the entire set.  There are no parallels, short prints, or variations.  Just cleanly designed cards of retired stars.

The “hits” are what drive Tribute.  Its odd to think about Tribute not having any autographs, but the 2001 incarnation did just that.  “Hits” purely come in relic form only.  Zero autographs.  When opening a pack, you’re most likely going to pull a horizontally designed jersey, pants, or bat relic.

Franchise Figures Relics (1:34) is a (19) card set featuring multiple players and relics on the same card.  2-4 players per card all from the same team.

Game Patch-Number Relics (1:61) contain patches.  Although these aren’t serial numbered, the Game Patch-Number Relics are limited to (30) copies each.

Dubbed just Dual Relics (1:860), Casey Stengel and Frank Robinson are the only two individuals here.  Cards have two relics for each player.

By far the hardest card to pull is the Nolan Ryan Tri-Relic.  These fall 1:1,292 packs, and hold three Nolan Ryan relics.

Long expired now, Topps did include some redemption cards for original cards.  Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams each had (50) redemption cards thrown in.  You even had the chance of pulling a redemption for an original Mickey Mantle card graded by PSA.  The exact Mickey Mantle card and grade were not stated on the redemption.

Topps regularly released Tribute between 2001 and 2004.  Then it took a break for five years and returned in 2009.  I actually enjoy the earlier Tribute sets more compared to the newer stuff.  Those checklists have many older players who you just don’t see getting a lot of attention today.