Under The Tree: 1983 Tonka NFL Players Figures & Vans

Sports toys of the past can be quite interesting to look back on.  Your options are entertaining.  One of these options comes from Tonka.  There aren’t too many kids who 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 are cheaply put together, and the helmets don’t even have the team logos.  Tonka describes them as: “NFL Players are the collectible, fully articulated action figures, from your 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.

Painted on helmets make these things look like Hannibal Lecter.

That same year, Tonka made NFL inspired team vans.  Each van came packaged with an according NFL figure and bench.

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.

The Magic Of Dual Autographed Cards

Dual autographs are one of the cooler parts of the hobby.  They can feature players from the same team, position, or maybe they are all Hall of Famers.  Other times dual autographed cards can leave collectors scratching their heads wondering why the manufacturer put these two players together on the same card.  A lot of people think that dual autographs are more expensive than single autographed cards, but that isn’t always the case.  Dual autographed cards can actually be a great way to get that superstar autograph at a lower price.  The reasons why some dual autographed cards come at a lower price would be serial number, and who that superstar is teamed up with.  Sometimes if a superstar is paired with an athlete that didn’t quite do so well, the card might come at a discount.  This specifically can happen when a superstar or legend is teamed up with a new rookie that never panned out.  Take this card for example.  It is a 2006 Press Pass Legends Dan Marino / Greg Lee Dual Autographed card numbered to 50.  I know what your thinking.  Who the hell is Greg Lee?  After doing a Google search I found out he is a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, and he’s not the most popular player to collect.  In the case of this card, thats a great thing.  Currently this card is up for sale with a “Buy It Now” price of $95.00.  It probably won’t sell for that price, which means if it were a regular auction the price might be lower.  Press Pass cards usually don’t sell for as much as the ones made by Upper Deck, Topps, and Donruss/Playoff, but being able to snatch up a Marino autograph numbered to 50 for less than $100.00 is pretty nice.  I know of only a few other Marino autographed cards that you can get for under $100.00 and be an on-card signature.  The important thing to remember is that this may not work all the time, but its a good way to try an obtain that superstar autograph at a lower price.

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Card of the Day: Scott Rolen 2000 Topps Chrome Power Players Refractor

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Happy New Year!!!!

 

Hot Players = Misleading Sellers

One of the hottest players in baseball this year is Chase Utley of the Phillies.  Utley is currently batting .325 and leads all of Major League Baseball with 21 HR’s.  The next person behind Utley with HR’s is Dan Uggla of the Marlins with 18.  When a player becomes as popular as Chase Utley, there will be a lot of sellers that will try and mislead customers.  Recently, I checked out completed auctions for Utley cards and found someone that had sold a 2005 Upper Deck SPx base card for $20.00.  After further inspection of the auction I found that the seller marketed the card as a rookie.  Utley wasn’t a rookie in 2005.  His rookie cards come from 2001.  Because this player has become so popular, people will bid on cards without doing any research.  Right now isn’t even the time to be buying Chase Utley cards because the prices are so high.  Before buying a rookie card of a player who is on a big hot streak, please do your research before buying.  Some sellers will use any excuse to make a card a rookie when it really isn’t.