Flashback Product of the Week: 1993 Duracell Power Players

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Its the holiday season.  The chances are fairly high that many of you will receive high-tech gadgets that will require batteries.  For the most part, I’ve always been an Energizer guy.  Those Ultimate Lithium batteries seem to last forever in my digital camera.

My mind continues to be blown away when I see the different types of card sets certain companies made for promotional purposes.  Cards have been used as promos since the dawn of time, but during the 80’s and 90’s it got really junky.  Throughout 1993, Duracell ran a promotion for their customers.  The whole master set consists of (48) cards.  It was split up between Series 1 and Series 2.  Each has (24) cards a piece.  When it comes to the design, there really isn’t anything earth shattering to talk about.  The card’s front features an action shot of a star from that time.  Probably the biggest thing to stand out is the Duracell battery on the top.  On the back you’ll find the normal stats, closeup picture of the player, and a facsimile signature.  None of the cards have team logos.  They’ve all been airbrushed out.  But they were allowed to use the official team names.

If you bought a Duracell Saver Pack one of these packs could’ve been yours.  Duracell also offered them to customers who bought other products and had a proof of purchase.  This is one set most collectors have forgotten about.  It doesn’t contain any rookies and was mass produced.  Duracell should have figured out a way to include Al Kaline in this set.  I mean his name sounds just like the type of batteries they sell.  How did the marketing people miss that one?

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Flashback Product of the Week: 1983 Tonka NFL Players Figures & Vans

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I guess you could say that Christmas has me in the mood for some vintage sports toys.  Before Starting Lineup and McFarlane Toys, sports collectors had some primitive options to choose from.  One of these options came from the people at Tonka.  There aren’t too many kids that didn’t play with a Tonka Truck growing up at one time or another.

In 1983 Tonka released a line of NFL themed toys featuring figures and vans.  These figures are not player specific, although each one does come with a bunch of stickers containing jersey numbers that you can place on the figure and imagine its a certain player.  They were cheaply put together, and the helmets don’t even have the team logos.  Tonka described them as: “NFL Players are the collectable, fully articulated action figures, from you favorite NFL Teams.  Each player comes with his own display stand, decal sheet for decorating and a team emblem.  There are figures for all 28 NFL Teams.  Be the first on your block to collect them all.

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Painted on helmets make these things look like Hannibal Lecter.

When it comes to value, sealed figures can sell from $5.00 to $25.00.

That same year, Tonka also made NFL inspired team vans.  Each van came packaged with an according NFL Players figure and bench.  The vans seem to hold a bit more value selling for $50.00+.

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Card of the Day: Mike Tyson 1991 Players International Ringlords – Sample

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Card of the Day: Musial / Mantle / Yastrzemski 1992 Score The Franchise Players Auto

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The T206 Collection: The Players & Their Stories – Review

The T206 Collection: The Players & Their Stories is a great addition to the coffee-table style books about athletes and trading cards.

Reading through this book was like taking a trip back in time.  The ballplayers from that time period are really quite different from the people we are accustomed to watching today.  One of the major things to stick out to me were some of the team names, specifically the Typewriters.  I highly doubt in today’s society you would find a team named after a piece of defunct technology that barely anyone uses.  But I guess at the time a typewriter was a high-tech piece of equipment.  If they did something like that today, I guess they could have a team named the Iowa iPods 🙂

The ballplayers from this era seemed to be a lot tougher too.  They like to bend the rules and try to get away with anything they could.  John McGraw was one of the best to try and fool the umpires.  A lot of these guys had second jobs when they weren’t playing baseball and many of these jobs were very labor intensive.  Today’s players do stuff when they aren’t playing, but whatever they are doing its not the main job that’s paying the bills.  Many of the guys in the T206 set needed second jobs just to live.

One thing that really got my attention, was the fact that so many of these players died at a young age because of disease.  As tough as this guys were, they couldn’t avoid disease.  If they had the medicine we have today, many of them would have had much longer careers.  In fact, they would be in a league of their own and couldn’t even compare to the players of today.

This book was very fun to read and laid out well.  They did an excellent job of researching all the players.  I’m sure some were much harder to dig up information on than others.  I couldn’t believe how many players from the T206 set lived and died around where I’m from.

Next I would like to see a coffee-table style book about the Old Judge tobacco cards from the 1880’s.

Update:

There is a book about Old Judge tobacco cards.  Its called The Photographic Baseball Cards of Goodwin & Company (1886-1890).

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Should Sports Cards Be In Video Games?

For years manufacturers have been trying to get more people interested in The Hobby.  One of the main demographics companies have been targeting is kids.  With all the high-tech toys out on the market, one of the last things many kids find interesting is sports cards.  Products such as Topps Attax and MLB Showdown are just a few of the many products companies have created to try and attract more kids to the industry, but it hasn’t really worked too well.  I highly doubt that even the Topps 3D venture will go far.  The last thing kids want to be treated like is kids.  This is why many of the kid friendly products don’t perform too well.  If I were “Hobby King” for the day you want to know what I’d do?  I’d try to incorporate sports cards into popular video games such as Madden and MLB The Show.  I’m not saying devote an entire portion of the game to cards, but slightly incorpate trading cards into the game.  For example, when reading the bio of your favorite player there could be a section that lists some of their key cards that have been made up to that point.  Since most of the popular entertainment systems have internet access, why not allow people to click on one of those key cards and provide them with more information.  Perhaps it could even point them in the right direction of where to purchase cards like that.  If a company really wanted to get involved with the gaming industry, maybe they could sponsor online events and the winners could obtain certain products.  Current manufacturers don’t seem to get very far when they try and do this stuff by themselves.  I think they need to see what people are interested in and try to incorporate themselves into that market.  What most manufacturers have done so far is the total opposite.  They try to create something slightly innovative and then hope people will come to them, when in reality it should be the other way around.

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Cards Picturing Cards

Here is a design feature you don’t see all the time – cards that picture other cards.  There was a set made during the 90’s (I think it was Stadium Club) that would put a picture of that player’s rookie card on the back.  Today you don’t see it very often.  The three products that stick out to me would be 2002 Upper Deck, that one Honus Wagner manufactured patch found in 2007 UD Premier, and the relic cards found in 2005 Topps Gallery.  I’d like to see more cards pictured on other cards, especially the player’s rookie.  Today its a lot harder to put a picture of a player’s rookie on the back because there are so many to choose from.  A lot of players from the 90’s only had one true rookie.

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This is the closest I will ever get to owning a Wagner T206.