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

Pro Set’s Failed Attempt At Entering The Baseball Card Market

Pro Set released a steady run of products starting in 1989, and continued to do so until they met their demise in 1994.  During that time period, Pro Set produced cards for football, hockey, golf, soccer, and racing.  They also released a handful of entertainment sets.  It was football and hockey that they were mostly known for though.  Pro Set was the king when it came to error cards.  Some of these errors continue to bring in big dollars today.

You wouldn’t know to look at them, but 1992 Flopps was made by Pro Set.  It was a project that didn’t get that far off of the ground.  To put it simply, it was Pro Set’s attempt at making a baseball card product.  Without obtaining a license from MLB or getting permission from the MLBPA, Pro Set decided to throw these spoof cards out there to see how collectors would react.

Pro Set made 5-card promo packs that were distributed to dealers.  Each pack contained the same cards – Barry Bones, Ken Groovy, Jr., Stickey Henderson, Wade Bugs, and Lance Perishable.  Of all the products that Pro Set made, these were probably the most artistic.  I wonder what happened to the original artwork?  The card backs feature fun write-ups too.

The name “Pro Set” doesn’t appear anywhere on these cards.  They made it look like “Flopps” was an official company.  Maybe that’s what Pro Set wanted because they knew there was a chance that someone was going to step in.  And that’s exactly what happened.  The MLBPA took legal action, and Pro Set never tried to make baseball cards again.  The actual set was suppose to contain (66) cards – (55) base, (10) Scratch N’ Sniff, and (1) collectible card.  I have no idea what the collectible card was going to be.  Holograms were big at the time, so perhaps something like that.

The only cards Pro Set officially released were the 1992 Flopps promo packs.  The MLBPA jumped in before Pro Set could go any further.  Occasionally a Scratch N’ Sniff card will popup.  Those probably found their way out the backdoor.  You would think a canceled product such as 1992 Flopps would be rare, but that’s not the case.  Sealed promo packs can easily be found for next to nothing.  Even the Scratch N’ Sniff cards barely draw much attention.

Futera To Launch Limited Edition Memorabilia Card Presentation Sets

Futera is one of those card companies I wish collectors in the United States would pay more attention to.  This company makes some awesome looking cards.  Here in the U.S., we have new card products coming out all the time.  Futera is the total opposite.  They produce a handful of high-quality card sets each year.

The collector services that Futera offers is incredible.  Every time I talk about this company, I have to mention their Code for Collectors and Memorabilia Colour Grading services.  Code for Collectors enables you to see the detailed process of how your favorite memorabilia card came to be.  Memorabilia Colour Grading is a service in which you can use to tell how many 1-color, 2-color, 3-color, etc… relic cards were made of a specific card.  This is very helpful when it comes to cracking down on fake patches.  U.S. collectors would love to have services such as these.

Futera is preparing to launch it’s latest round of products.  This time its all about a series of Limited Edition Memorabilia Card Presentation Sets.

  • There is a total of (10) quality football (soccer) memorabilia cards in each set, comprising a complete 9-player memorabilia card set plus an ultra-rare centerpiece memorabilia card of one of the featured players.
  • The release features game-used and training-used memorabilia – information about the player’s memorabilia is written on the back of the card.
  • Every card features a 24ct gold-plated element framing the player’s memorabilia.
  • Each card is individually foil numbered and has a unique security code.
  • Enter card codes on the FUTERA APP to digitally sort and store the cards in an online Card Album and get information about the rarity and features of each card and Portfolio/card values based on actual card sales (powered by PriceGuide.cards).  These are free information services active shortly after the launch.

Manchester City FC (10 sets), Liverpool FC (29 sets for each title), and World Football (27 sets for each title) cover this new product.  Each set cost $499.  According to Futera, the Liverpool FC sets are completely sold out already.  Sets should start shipping near the end of the month.

Click on each picture for that set’s sales sheet.

Manchester City FCLiverpool FCWorld Football

The History Behind Futera’s Earliest Sets

Ranging from their Code For Collectors and Colour Grading services, Futera is a card manufacturer that should be used as a beacon to others when it comes to autograph and relic authentication.  The amount of documentation that goes into their products is something that collectors in the United States can only dream about.  Here in America, we get glimpses of services like this, but nothing that comes close to what Futera has built.

Everyone has to start somewhere.  Upper Deck wasn’t the only new card company to enter the market in 1989.  This is when Futera got it’s start too.  Futera was founded by two U.S. professional baseball players – Tad Powers and David Voit.  Both were sent over to play in the newly formed Australian Baseball League (ABL).  Two team sets make up their inaugural 1989-90 baseball release.  One for the Sydney Metros and the other for the Perth Heat.  Each set came packaged in a playing card style light blue box with the team logo printed in dark blue on the front.  2,500 copies of each set were printed.

Sydney Metros

  • Stuart Barlow
  • Chris Brown
  • Mike Dennis
  • Matt Everingham
  • Don Franklin
  • Darren Fullerton
  • Karl Hardman
  • Michael Hennessy
  • Nick Kalaf
  • Troy Martin
  • Mike Milmoe
  • Sean Mullins
  • Peter Munro
  • Brian Murphy
  • Jeff Pettett
  • Tad Powers
  • Ross Thomas
  • Greg Turner
  • David Voit
  • Justin Weaver

Perth Heat

  • Tony Adamson
  • Kimon Anderson
  • Lyall Barwick
  • Mike Borgatti
  • Ken Burden
  • Scott Cameron
  • Kevin Driscoll
  • Heath Gillard
  • Greg Harvey
  • John Hearne
  • Sean Jones
  • Andrew Kendray
  • Ron Malcolm
  • Trevor Malcolm
  • Steve Meloncelli
  • Ray Mitchell
  • Dean Moyle
  • Michael Moyle
  • John Moore
  • Shayne Ruscoe
  • Dave Rusin
  • Mark Scorer
  • Scott Steed
  • Shane Tonkin
  • James Waddell

According to Futera, when Tad Powers and David Voit returned to the United States they brought lots of these sets with them.  That’s why they continue to hold a high demand in Australia.

Before having to sell the company due to a lack of funds, Tad Powers and David Voit issued another series of team sets in 1992.  Unfortunately 50% of them were destroyed because of poor storage and inferior transportation.  It’s believed that what did survive was purchased by a well known dealer in Melbourne, Australia.  Key cards from this series include the Phil Dale and Jon Deeble no number cards from the Waverley Reds team set.  Another important card would be the first Australian card of David Nilsson, who actually went on to play with the Brewers throughout the 90’s.

Once Futera was sold, baseball sets continued to be released until 1996.  Many other sports licensed products followed.  Today they are one of the best soccer/football card manufacturers in the industry.

What Has TeenyMates Been Up To Lately?

The Party Animal, makers of Lil’ Teammates and TeenyMates, have been working hard to bring some new products to its fans.  After the successful launch of their NFL Series 1 TeenyMates set last year, they’ve decided to roll out a Series 2.

 photo TMNFLS2RareFigs1_zps6f2be42f.jpg

The new Ice Blue chase figure reminds me of Iceman from the X-Men.

2013 NFL Series 2 Highlights:

  • Collect all 32 NFL teams + 6 rare figures
  • 2 Throwback figures, a Metallic Gold figure, an Ice Blue figure, a referee, and a Glow-in-the-Dark figure
  • Each foil bag includes 2 random NFL figures and 2 random puzzle pieces, adding mystery and excitement to each pack
  • Collect all 35 puzzle pieces and build a double-sided puzzle featuring a football field playset and collector mini-poster
  • Packs will cost around $3.99

 photo TMNHL1bundleContents1_zpsad1b9ef8.jpg

Hockey fans will be glad to know that TeenyMates decided to make an NHL set which is new for this year.

2013 NHL Highlights:

  • Collect all 30 NHL teams + 4 rare figures
  •  2 different Throwback figures, a Metallic Gold figure and a Glow-in-the-Dark figure
  • Each foil bag includes 2 random NHL figures and 2 random puzzle pieces, adding mystery and excitement to each pack
  • Collect all 35 puzzle pieces and build a double-sided puzzle featuring a hockey rink playset and collector mini-poster
  • Packs will cost around $3.99

 photo TMKC1ST_RTCombo1_zpsbe02e922.jpg

After the initial release of the Series 1 NFL set, collectors began turning their TeenyMates into keychains and earrings.  It looks like the folks at TeenyMates saw this and decided to create these new Tagalongs.

Tagalongs Highlights:

  • All 32 NFL teams available
  • Each Tagalong costs around $5.99

Judging by their website, it also looks like they will be making TeenyMates for the NBA too.

 photo 994542_605455082828130_265568242_n1a_zpsfe64e271.jpg

If you’re looking for something a little bigger, Lil’ Teammates are now making NCAA and NFL wide receivers.  Plus they have all new team sets.  I would like to see variations made for the bigger figures like we see with the blind packaged TeenyMates.  I’ve got some new packs of the NFL Series 2 and NHL TeenyMates to bust.  I’ll also be holding some contests for a few sealed packs and a Tagalong.

Lil’ Teammates Collectible Team Sets = Great Holiday Gift Item

Photobucket

The Party Animal, Inc. enjoyed working with Sports Card Info so much on getting the word out on their new TeenyMates line of toys, they decided to come back around for another go.  This time we’re dealing with a new holiday gift item – Lil’ Teammates Collectible Team Sets.  The Collectible Team Sets include all three positions for the NFL figures: quarterback, running back, and lineman.

They are currently being offered for 22 different NFL teams:

  • Chicago Bears
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Denver Broncos
  • Cleveland Browns
  • San Diego Chargers
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Miami Dolphins
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • New York Giants
  • New York Jets
  • Detroit Lions
  • Green Bay Packers
  • New England Patriots
  • Oakland Raiders
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Washington Redskins
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Minnesota Vikings

The Collectible Team Sets are for the standard sized 3″ vinyl figures and come in a nicely decorated display box.  These along with College, MLB, and NHL team sets are available exclusively at Kohl’s.  The MSRP on a set is $24.99, which is a deal considering what you would spend if you purchased each figure individually.

Starting this weekend Sports Card Info will be holding the first of two contests.  The winners will be able to select which NFL Collectible Team Set they would like.

On a side note.  Have you seen what the three rare TeenyMates figures have been selling for on the secondary market?  Take a look!

I don’t think it will be a long until we seem them make rare figures for their 3″ line.  Especially after seeing prices like this.

There Is Nothing Quite Like Great Card Design

After looking closer at my breaks today, I have to say that I really enjoy the design of this year’s 2008 Topps Finest football cards.  The boxes they come in are really cool as well.  Instead of the standard square box, these are all triangles.  Going back to the design, all the refractors seem to shine a lot more than any other refractors I own.  For some reason the backgrounds of all the cards really catch my eye too.  In recent years, Topps would replace the background with a textured silver finish, but this year they left the background of the photo the same.  I think the backgrounds look really good when they have a refractor finish to them.  In my opinion, this is the best Topps Finest set in years.  Good job Topps!!!

Hey look!  Its Matt Forte:-)

Sy Berger – The Father of Modern Day Baseball Cards

Sy Berger is the father of modern day baseball cards.  He is the designer of many of the hobby’s most popular sets including 1952 Topps.  Berger is one of the most influencial people in the hobby.