Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

Want Lists are located here. NPB Baseball Want List is located here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 26)

Day 26: A favorite oddball card from the 1980s
It's all about the backs today. What is oddball, exactly? "Anything not mainstream" is the easy answer, but what is that? Is Panini oddball, since it has no logos? I don't think so. What about online-only products like Topps Now? Convention and show promos? I have an "oddball" category in my type collection, and generally they don't make it. But some major manufacturers do have oddball products in my opinion. And since I've featured non-major brands for the past few posts, it's time to look at mainstream oddballs.

The 1980s were a time of growth for baseball cards. New brands popped up, and cards tied in with products grew in popularity too - Bazooka cards made their comeback, 7-11 had Slurpee discs, and teams partnered with local businesses to give away cards at the stadium with police department tie-ins. Even K-Mart and Woolworth had their own sets. Topps helped produce many of those, but they also experimented with their own releases too. They tried mini cards again about a decade after the 1975 set, and then went the opposite direction with Topps Big.
I love the Topps Big set. The fronts aren't terrible, though the borders are quite large given that the card sizes are larger. I think they just scaled up the border. The backs are the best, though, because Topps geared this product to kids with a large part of the card devoted to a cartoon about the player. They basically highlight different events in the player's career - Smoltz was a rookie so he didn't have many MLB highlights, but Topps focused on his minor league and school day success.

It would be nice to have more personal tidbits tossed in here and there, and maybe there are some - unfortunately my set is on the other side of the planet so I can't study it to find a favorite cartoon.

Isn't it odd that a guy who never read a comic book in his life enjoys comic panel-style art on his cards?


  1. I wasn't a big fan of Topps Big when I was younger, but I've learned to appreciate them the past decade or so. They remind me of my favorite card design of all-time: 1956 Topps baseball.

  2. A lot of the 1980s sets were fun novelties for me back then, but I do appreciate them more now. Maybe because there aren't innovations like that these days.