Pin Highlight: Original vs. Remake 1983 Little League World Series Hot Air Balloon Pins

The East Marietta National Little League team from Marietta, Georgia defeated the Liquito Hernandez Little League team of Barahona, Dominican Republic in the Championship Game of the 1983 Little League World Series.  It was the first time since 1976 that the Championship Game did not feature a team from Taiwan.  Guess what else was a first that year?  Little League released their first official pin.

Are there Little League pins that predate 1983?  Yes.  But none were officially made and released by Little League itself.  This Little League rookie pin is quite simple.  Its a multi-colored hot air balloon that says “Little League WORLD SERIES WILLIAMSPORT, PENNA. USA”.  The year isn’t even printed on it.  Back then this hot air balloon was a common sight in Williamsport when the Little League World Series was going on.  You can even find it on this Baseball Wit trivia game card.

Locating one of these pins for your collection isn’t easy.  When an example becomes available it will set you back about $50.  I can personally guarantee that in 1983 they didn’t cost anywhere near that much.

A word of WARNING.  Always check the back of the pin before buying.  In the 90’s, Little League remade this pin due to it’s popularity.  Little League continued selling these remakes well into the 2000’s.  The remake has the word “CHINA” printed on the back.  Original pins do not.  The backs of original pins are completely blank.  As you can imagine, the remakes don’t carry as much value.

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Product Highlight: 1993 Maxx Hot Wheels 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition

When I was a kid, my go to toys to play with were action figures.  I had bins full of them.  Batman, X-Men, Star Wars, you name it.  Like most adults I look back and wish I would have kept them in their original packaging.  But where would have the fun been in that?  Keeping toys sealed wasn’t even a thought.

Outside of the action figures, Matchbox and Hot Wheels weren’t that far behind.  I had a bin full of these too.  Although I don’t live in the house I grew up in anymore, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of those toy cars are still lodged underneath a cabinet or something.  The house’s current owner is probably completely oblivious that they’re still there.  Long forgotten relics of a childhood race that perhaps got a little out of hand.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Hot Wheels.  Twenty-five years ago Maxx Race Cards helped them celebrate their 25th anniversary with a commemorative set.  Issued only in factory set form, the set features what they call “the most memorable 25 cars from 1968-1992”.  The card fronts picture a Hot Wheels vehicle with a full-blown description on the back.  Collecting tips are even provided for each vehicle.

Here is the checklist:

  • 1968 Beatnik Bandit #1
  • 1969 TwinMill #2
  • 1970 Boss Hoss #3
  • 1971 Evil Weevil #4
  • 1972 Funny Money #5
  • 1973 Sweet 16 #6
  • 1974 Sir Rodney Roadster #7
  • 1975 Emergency Squad #8
  • 1976 Corvette Stingray #9
  • 1977 ’57 Chevy #10
  • 1978 Hot Bird #11
  • 1979 Bywayman #12
  • 1980 Hiway Hauler #13
  • 1981 Old Number 5 #14
  • 1982 Firebird Funny Car #15
  • 1983 Classic Cobra #16
  • 1984 ’65 Mustang Convertible #17
  • 1985 Thunderstreak #18
  • 1986 Poppa ‘Vette #19
  • 1987 Ferrari Testarossa #20
  • 1988 Talbolt Lago #21
  • 1989 GT Racer #22
  • 1990 Purple Passion #23
  • 1991 Street Beast #24
  • 1992 Goodyear Blimp #25

I don’t recall owning any of these specific vehicles.  I do remember picking up a few Hot Wheels cars at a yard sale when I was little, and later discovered they came from their famous Redline collection.

Maxx produced lots of racing cards during the classic junk-wax era.  Most of their sets carry little value today.  Cards of Dale Earnhardt are what they’re particularly known for.

This Hot Wheels set is one of Maxx’s oddball products.  Sealed examples are readily available, and can be found for nothing.

Doesn’t this Hot Wheels car look like a Superfractor?

Card of the Day: Giancarlo Stanton 2010 Topps Red Hot Rookies #4

Card of the Day: 2017 Topps Pro Debut – Ben’s Biz – The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor #4

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Card of the Day: Rakeem Christmas 2015-16 NBA Hoops Hot Signatures

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Flashback Product of the Week: 1991 Hot Aire Trading Cards

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In a million years you couldn’t have guessed that I’d pick this product.  The 80’s and 90’s were filled with a lot of obscure sets.  With the rise of sports cards as an investment, people were willing to put anything on cardboard hoping one day it would amount to riches.  Looking back, I think we can all agree how that went.  Overproduction set in, and many products ended up being worthless.  Needless to say, all this rush did create some funky products that manufacturers today would never even think about making.

Yes.  This is a product dedicated to hot air balloons and their pilots.  Hot Aire Trading Cards made their debut in 1991 during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  It was the brainchild of two hot air balloon enthusiasts, Danny Edwards and Patrick O’Hea.  Edwards would collect pilot bios and take photos while O’Hea designed the cards.  Their first set consists of (100) cards.  When they were first introduced, you could purchase them by the pack for $2.50 each or in factory set form for $23.50.  Only producing 30,000 sets was thought to increase the cards’ value.  As you can probably guess, that didn’t happen.  The last complete set to sell went for $15, which is still way more than what I was expecting.  Hobby boxes range anywhere from $15 to $30.

Hot Aire Trading Cards lasted for a few years, and then fizzled out.  I’m surprised they lasted that long.  The Fiesta continues to be held each year though.  When it comes to chase cards, there really aren’t any.  No “hot” packs.  These are more of a novelty now than anything.  A modern day interpretation of a product like this would be interesting.  You could have autographs, relics, and perhaps some type of inflatable card.

Card of the Day: Matt Bush 2004 Fleer Hot Prospects Draft Edition Auto

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