Friday, January 2, 2015

Food-Issue Friday: Not Your Run of the Mill Players

Aside from the occasional regional set or prospect-laden releases, oddball and food-issue sets from the 80s and 90s typically included players who were some of the best in the game. I mean, do you really expect to sell your Raisin Bran or Fruity Pebbles cereal by including cards of Johnny Ruffin? I think not! Give 'em The Kid or Tony Gwynn!

One of the Food-Issues I picked up this past year was from the 1986 General Mills of Canada 'booklet' set, and features ten of the best from the old west- the old N.L. West, that is. The set featured six booklets, each measuring 3-3/4" x 15" when fully opened. As with the N.L. West booklet, each of the other three divisions are represented and featured 10 of its best players. The fifth and sixth booklets are dedicated to the two Canadian teams, featuring ten of their best players.

So, who were these heroes of the Old West?

What kind of Braves fan/ Murphy collector would I be if I didn't have ol' Dale as the first image shown? Even the name Dale evokes thoughts of the old west. Well, that's probably due to Dale Evans- wife of legendary cowboy actor/singer Roy Rogers.

Pitching in the West wasn't kind to Bruce Sutter. As a Brave, he went 10-11 with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.352 WHIP. Compare those numbers to the rest of his career- spent in the NL East

The set also features one of Night Owls online buddies: Pedro Guerrero. A true outlaw of the Old West. 

Another former Brave. Nettles was clearly on the downside of his career when this set was released, and was only one year away from his one season spent in Atlanta. I think this photo reflects how this booklet would have looked, had he been looking at it as a Brave. Fuzzy eyesight, as evidenced by his .209/.294/.350 line in 1987.

My first real memories of major league baseball involved the Dodgers-Reds rivalries- particularly during the 1976 season. I don't really recall watching baseball before that season. Before I was an Atlanta Braves fan (1980), I was a Seattle Mariner fan. Before the M's, though, I counted myself a Big Red Machine fan- even if my fandom only lasted two seasons.

Make fun of the Dodgers all you want, but they had two runs on N.L. Rookie of the Year ('79-'82, '92-'96) that we may never see again. These two won in back-to-back years ('81, '82). I think Sax must have thrown away that Dodgers run once he fielded it; they didn't win it again for ten seasons. 

The least heralded player out of the group, Kennedy was a four-time All-Star during his fourteen year major league career. Drafted by St. Louis sixth overall in the 1977 amateur draft, Terry had been a two-time All-American at Florida State University- where he was also named the Sporting News College Player of the Year in 1976. Following his playing career, Kennedy (the son of a former MLB manager) coached and managed in the minor leagues for a number of teams. 

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