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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Blockbuster, Baseball, & Holograms

A video rental store and hologram baseball cards.  Wow!  Talk about two things that can easily describe the 90’s.  Kids born today won’t have any knowledge of what its like to walk into a store and rent a VHS tape.  Those days are long gone thanks to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and every other streaming service.  Disney is the next big player to enter this field.

I have a lot of fond memories of renting videos.  Before the internet became big, you could wander around a video store and discover movies that you had no idea existed.  A couple that come to my mind is the 1966 Batman film based on the show featuring Adam West.  I knew of the show, but never heard about the movie.  The other is that god awful Captain America movie from 1990.  I also remember renting the 2-hour pilot episode of the 1990 The Flash T.V. show.

When it comes to video rental stores, Blockbuster was the big one.  There were smaller mom-and-pop stores, and other chains like West Coast Video.  But Blockbuster was a monster.  Before going defunct in 2013, at one time there were just over 9,000 locations worldwide.  Over half of them were in the U.S.  The corporate stores shutdown when the company went under, but some of the franchise-owned stores remained open.  As of today, there is only one of these stores left in America.  Its located in Bend, Oregon.

In 1994, Blockbuster (along with World Holographics) created three promotional cards for Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, and Comiskey Park.  I came across these cards one day, but could find very little information about them.  World Holographics printed the cards.  As it turns out, they are still in business.  Now they’re called World3D Lenticular Printing.  I sent them an e-mail to see if anyone could shed some light on these cards.  Given that it has been 24 years since they were made, I knew it was a shot in the dark.  I quickly received a response from a Greg Schuman.  Not only does Mr. Schuman work for World3D, he worked on the actual Blockbuster project.  Bullseye!

According to Mr. Schuman, 50,000 copies of each card were printed.  At first they were used as stadium giveaways.  The Yankees, Tigers, and White Sox gave them out to the first 25,000 fans.  The remaining cards found their way to local Blockbuster stores in New York, Detroit, and Chicago.  For about a month, Blockbuster tied those cards in with a video rental for $2.99.  Due to the MLB strike, many were sent back to World Holographics and got destroyed.

Despite many of them ending up in the garbage, all three cards are readily available on the secondary market.  Each can be bought for under $10.  They’re a neat snapshot in time when holograms were all the rage, and a video rental store was a titan.

Unrelated to the Blockbuster promotion, World Holographics also created hologram cards of Dodger Stadium and Roberto Clemente in the 90’s.

FYI – Here is a list of Billboard’s Top 10 video rentals from 1994:

  1. Sleepless In Seattle
  2. Philadelphia
  3. In The Line of Fire
  4. The Pelican Brief
  5. The Fugitive
  6. The Firm
  7. Carlito’s Way
  8. Silver
  9. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  10. Mrs. Doubtfire

2018 Little League World Series Pin Pickups

All eyes are on Williamsport, PA for the next week as the Little League World Series takes place.  Baseball fans from all over the world have made their way to Williamsport.  Hotels are booked.  Restaurants are packed.  Parking lots are full.  And pins have become the next best thing to currency.  Pins are all over the place.  They’ve got commemorative pins made for everything.

While the Little League World Series is going on, I usually pick a day to go up and look around their campus.  There is always a lot happening.  I’m a big pin collector.  I’ve got lanyards full of them.  Over the last few years I’ve found it a bit more difficult to score free pins from the corporate sponsors.  This is mainly due to you having to register with an electronic bracelet, and use all types of cell phone apps.  Perhaps that stuff is all great for the kids, but for an older pin collector like myself I find it to be an inconvenience.  Luckily, I take a handful of my Sports Card Info pins with me and use them to barter with these sponsors in order to get around all of that.  In some cases it works, and others not.

Dunkin’ Donuts was my first stop.  Little League came next.  Following that was 4th Street downtown, Penn College, The Thomas T. Taber Museum, and then some more businesses on Williamsport’s Golden Strip.  Pins just popup everywhere.  I was able to get a lot more pins from the corporate sponsors setup at Little League than originally thought.  My Sports Card Info pins really helped out.

Pin collecting at Little League is like opening a pack of cards.  You don’t know what might happen.  A man walked over and randomly handed me a pin.  I didn’t catch his name, but I believe it was Troy Lare.  He had what looked like a Little League World Series ring on.  Judging by the pin, he is an umpire from Maine.  Very cool find, and not something you can just pickup anywhere.  I have very few umpire pins.

At the end of the day, I ended up with (24) new pins that filled up (3) lanyards.

The Phillies lost to the Mets 8-2 in this year’s MLB Little League Classic.  Next year’s MLB Little League Classic takes place on 8/18/19 between the Pirates and Cubs.

I’d really like to see Topps have a corporate booth at Little League.  It seems like a perfect fit.  Hopefully someday they can work something out.  Topps could have pins, special cards, make your own baseball card, and perhaps bring in a big league player to sign autographs.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Chick-fil-A

Card of the Day: 1956 Topps Flags of the World – United States #1

Preview: 2018 Futera Unique World Football

A lot of collectors would like to see American card companies issue products in the way Futera does.  Here in America, collectors have many products thrown at them all year long.  Futera is the total opposite.  They produce a handful of products throughout the year in small quantities.  Most of these products center around football (soccer).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Futera makes some of the nicest looking high-end cards on the planet.  More collectors from the U.S. should pay attention to them.  Futera’s Colour Grading and Code For Collectors services demonstrate a level of documentation that American collectors can only dream about.  When issuing fewer products, services such as these can be put into place.

In August, Futera plans to release it’s next product, 2018 Unique World Football.

What will you find?

  • (4) packs per box
  • (6) boxes per minicase
  • (3) minicases per case
  • A full case will include (18) boxes and (72) packs

Every pack includes up to (12) base cards, plus either a limited edition memorabilia card, or an on-card signed autograph, or a 24ct gold-plated framed autograph or memorabilia card.  Every third pack also includes a “Heritage” card (one of either a “Heritage Gold” #’ed/23 or “Heritage Silver” #’ed/39).

Each box will include a pack which has either an on-card signed autograph, or a 24ct gold-plated framed autograph or memorabilia card.

A minicase will average (18) rare memorabilia cards, (3) on-card signed autographs, plus (1) “1 of 1” 24ct gold-plated framed autograph, memorabilia or combo auto/memorabilia card, plus (2) 24ct gold-plated framed cards.

For a full rundown of the entire product, checkout the sales sheet.

Once all of the packs are opened, you can use the box to store your cards.

My favorite cards are the ones featuring a 24ct gold-plated frame.  We have metal framed cards here in America, but the ones made by Futera are really ornately designed.  I pulled one from a pack last year.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Final Trailer

Pin Highlight: 2017 Williamsport Sun-Gazette LLWS Gorilla Pin

Baseball season might be over.  The weather is getting colder.  Christmas music has begun to play.  But in my mind though its still the summer.  And that means the Little League World Series.  With that comes pins.  Lots and lots of pins!!!

The Williamsport Sun-Gazette was founded in 1801, and issued their first pin in 2004.  Since then, they have regularly sold pins while the Little League World Series takes place.  Every year its exciting to see what new designs they come up with.

Ten new pins were released this past August.  Each one is limited to only (125) pins.  In terms of pins, that isn’t many.  That’s probably why I haven’t seen any 2017 Sun-Gazette pins show up on the secondary market yet.  The Sun-Gazette never sells them online.  You have to purchase them in person.  Low quantity combined with in person only availability holds them back from surfacing.

Most of their pins are baseball themed.  Some aren’t.  The craziest pin they made for 2017 has nothing on it pertaining to baseball.  It measures 3″ and has a gorilla on top of the Sun-Gazette building.  They sold t-shirts with this image on them.  It reminds me a lot of King Kong or that arcade game Rampage.