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

20 Years Later Topps Crystal Is Still A Mystery

Drawing a blank upon hearing about 1999 Topps Crystal?  I was debating whether or not to use this for a post since very little is known about it.  But then I thought perhaps just talking about it could shed some new light on this set.

Right now, there are only five different cards known to exist that come with the Topps Crystal name – Craig Biggio, Wally Joyner, Ivan Rodriguez, Andy Brown, and Mike Mussina.  Every card that has surfaced is serial numbered to (99) copies.  Given how rarely you see these popup, I highly doubt (99) copies were actually made for each card though.

The reason why you probably haven’t heard of Topps Crystal is because it was never released.  Many people believe that Topps printed these cards as a test for what would eventually become 2000 Topps HD.  The printing technology between the two is very similar.  Topps HD was a minor success, but only survived for two years.  What makes the cards standout is that they are printed on thick plastic.  Its unfortunate that they didn’t catch on.  I think they look really well done.  Especially the handful of on-card autographs that include Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Adrian Gonzalez.

Seeing that Topps Crystal was never officially released, it makes you wonder how these five cards found their way out.  The most logical explanation is that someone at Topps walked out the door with them.  The odds of finding a new Topps Crystal card are slim, but it could happen.  It would be cool to find one from the Phillies.  For all we know, one of Pat Burrell could be out there somewhere.

What’s Inside A SportsCards.com Mystery Box?

SportsCards.com sells a variety of monthly subscription boxes, has an eBay Store, and their database allows you to see completed eBay auction listings long after they’re not visible directly on eBay anymore.  I received this box as a gift.

What was in this Mystery Box?

  • (1) pack of 2019 Leaf Draft Football
  • Fred Lynn 1976 Topps #50
  • Ty Cobb – A Word From – Sample Card
  • Marquese Chriss 2016-17 Donruss Newly Crowned Relic
  • Buck Leonard 1978 Grand Slam #36 BGS Authentic Auto

Pin Highlight: Lord Darth Vader Star Wars Celebration 2017 40 Years Mystery Pin

The Last Jedi is here!!!  So many questions will be answered while new ones will take their place.  Its gonna be good.

Star Wars Celebration 2017 took place in Orlando, Florida.  Disney made a whole bunch of pins to commemorate this event.  One set contains twelve pins.  Two pins come packaged in a blind box.  You have no clue as to which pins you’ll be getting.

The checklist of pins includes:

  • Artoo-Deetoo
  • Han Solo
  • Grand Moff Tarkin
  • Lord Darth Vader
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Chewbacca
  • Stormtrooper – chaser
  • Princess Leia Organa – chaser
  • Aunt Beru – chaser
  • Uncle Owen – chaser
  • Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi – chaser
  • See-Threepio – chaser

The chaser pins are difficult to pull and are limited to 1,500 copies.

If the pictures on these pins look familiar, you’d be correct.  Most come from 1977 Topps Star Wars Series 1 Stickers.  Chewie’s pin uses the image from his Series 2 sticker from that same year.  I don’t believe Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru, and the Stormtrooper have stickers that use those exact pictures.  Those look to have been made just for this pin set.

Card of the Day: 2005 Bowman Heritage Mystery Redemption

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Mystery No More – Manziel Is Leaf’s Surprise

Its no longer a mystery.  Johnny Manziel or “Johnny Football” is the subject matter on the mystery art/cut signature card that has had collectors scratching their heads ever since the release of 2013 Leaf Metal Football and 2013 Leaf Valiant Football.  There was quite a bit of speculation that this mystery redemption was going to be of Manziel, but today it was all confirmed by Leaf.  Each one of those redemption cards is good for one of these very early cards of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.  They all come certified by PSA/DNA and are encased in a BGS holder.  Leaf is one of my favorite manufacturers because they aren’t afraid to push the envelope and try something new.  I wouldn’t mind seeing more art/cut signature cards in the future, especially of deceased players.

Leaf CEO, Brian Gray, mentioned that he recently purchased a Bear Bryant jacket from Heritage Auctions.  He didn’t say if it was for his personal collection or for use in a future product.  An all Alabama product wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.  Last year Leaf released Lombardi Legacy and it didn’t contain one Green Bay Packers logo.

I don’t think they look too bad, considering all the legalities they probably had to work through in order to make them.

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“Pin-Up” of the Week: Star Wars R2-D2 Vinylmation Jumbo Mystery Chaser Pin

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In case you’ve been living under a rock, the internet almost exploded last week when we got word that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm for a little over $4 billion.  Disney plans to move forward and make at least three more Star Wars films starting with Episode XII projected to be released in 2015.  This will be the first Star Wars film not directed by George Lucas as he will be retiring and working on smaller projects.  As you can imagine, speculation on what the next three movies will be about is already flooding the internet.  It’s said that Lucas has the next set of stories written which have been under lock and key for years.   As a Star Wars fan, I was very excited to hear this news.  Back in 2005 I seriously thought we would never see another Star Wars movie after Revenge of the Sith.  From a financial standpoint it makes perfect sense to go on with them.  Star Wars merchandise is so collectible and fans will jump on the opportunity to own more stuff.

It would be fun to see Mark Hamill back in the role of a much older Luke Skywalker helping to rebuild the Jedi.  The same can go for Han Solo and Leia.  As it sits right now, almost everything is a rumor.  The only two things confirmed is that there will be at least three more films, and the stories will be all original.

Now lets get to this pin.  Disney and Star Wars have been working together for years.  This pin is rather large measuring 3″ by 2″ and is part of a Star Wars themed set.  Each pin in the set is shaped liked Mickey Mouse, but is made to look like a character from Star Wars.  It was released this past year in a boxed mystery set.  It is limited to only 250 copies which isn’t that many.  That’s probably why they sell for around $50.00.