Eric Davis rookie cards were hot ticket items in the Cincinnati area in the mid-1980s. It didn’t matter which 1985 issue you were talking about—Topps, Donruss, or Fleer—if you had a Davis rookie, you were a king on the playground.
But what if you had a 1984 Eric Davis? No, not a minor league card. A 1984 Eric Davis Reds card.
That’s what we have here. Not really a card, but still considered a card by most. Like the Fleer stamps and the Topps stickers, we have here a 1984 Borden sticker of Eric Davis. This regional issue is more difficult to obtain than Topps, Donruss, or Fleer, but it’s not all that much more expensive. It was issued on a perforated sheet with Mario Soto, Dave Parker, and Ron Oester, and featured coupons for Borden dairy products on the reverse.
I have no idea how these were distributed back in the day. Stadium giveaway? Mail-in offer? Free at checkout with the purchase of a half-gallon of Lady Borden Ice Cream? Now, thirty-five years later, you have to wait until they pop up on eBay for a reasonable price.
The coupons don’t have an expiration date. I wonder if I can still redeem them at Kroger…
Another guy who never should have been traded, especially for Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray. I mean, seriously? Tony Perez wasn’t flashy like Pete Rose or an all-time great at his position like Johnny Bench, but he was a key part of the Big Red Machine. Okay, so he was on the decline and Dan Driessen showed some promise, but I don’t know if the fans will ever forgive the front office for letting the Doggie get away in 1976. After seven years in the wind, Perez came back to Cincinnati to finish out his career.
Yesterday was National Bobblehead Day, and the Cincinnati Reds celebrated by announcing the bobbleheads scheduled for giveaways during the 2019 season. All six bobbles will feature Hall of Famers who spent time with the Reds.
- Ernie Lombardi – May 18. “The Schnozz” was a Veterans Committee selection in 1986. A slow-running catcher, Lombardi twice led the NL in batting average.
- Joe Morgan – June 1. “The Little General” was a first-ballot selection by the BBWAA in 1990, receiving 81.8% support. He led the NL in offensive WAR every year from 1972-1977, and won back-to-back MVP trophies to go with his back-to-back World Series rings in 1975 and 1976.
- Barry Larkin – June 15. Larkin was a 12-time All-Star, 9-time Silver Slugger, and 3-time Gold Glover, and he won the 1995 NL MVP. It took three tries, but the BBWAA finally elected him in the 2012 Hall of Fame vote.
- Tony Perez – July 27. Perez appeared on nine Hall of Fame ballots before finally getting the call in 2000. He was inducted with his Big Red Machine manager Sparky Anderson and 1975 World Series rival Carlton Fisk.
- Johnny Bench – August 17. When Bench’s name appeared on the BBWAA ballot, there was no doubt that he would be inducted. The question was how many would vote for him. As it turns out, only 16 voters declined to check Bench’s name.
- Ken Griffey Jr. – September 7. Junior is different than all the others on this list because he is more known for his time with the Mariners. But he has always been a hometown Kid, and I’m glad to see him included.
I love all these players, but already have bobbleheaded likenesses of at least four of them, so I am not sure if I will try to attend any of these games. If I do, it will likely be for Lombardi…wait…nope…gotta work that day. Maybe Griffey? Nope…working that day too. Maybe I’ll try to swing a shift trade with a co-worker.
Since I already have the other four in one fashion or another, I doubt I will attend those games. It costs a lot of money to go to a big league game, even at the cost-friendly Great American Ballpark. I will peruse the rest of their promotional schedule and pick another game or two to attend.
If I had my druthers, I would have chosen Bid McPhee, Edd Roush, Eppa Rixey, and Tom Seaver. The team is celebrating the diversity of uniforms throughout the year, why not show some more diversity of uniforms through the bobbles? I already know the answer. Bench and Griffey will sell more tickets than Roush and Rixey, and it’s always all about the money.
I’m anxiously awaiting the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum’s giveaway announcement. I have not been a member for a couple of years, but if the giveaways appeal to me, I may join again in 2019.
When I dove into collecting baseball cards at about ten years old, I collected everything I could get my hands on. There were nearly as many oddball sets as there are parallel sets today, and I grabbed as much as I could. Here are a few of the offerings that bore the Topps name.
These cards did not come in packs. You had to collect a certain number of “offer cards” from regular packs, then send them in along with postage to receive them. I never did order them directly from Topps but picked up a few in trades.
Mini League Leaders
Before baseball-reference.com, we relied on baseball cards stats to know who the best players were. In 1986, Topps issued a set of mini “League Leaders.” The back of this card reveals that Mario Soto finished the 1985 season second in the National League with 214 strikeouts, tied for 6th in games started, tied for 6th in complete games, and 7th in innings pitched.
Quaker Chewy Granola Bars
Baseball card companies partnered with food products often in the olden days. Post Cereal, Kellogg’s, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese were just a handful of the food products that featured cards in products. Quaker Chewy Granola bars was another, and Dave Parker was one of the more common Reds players to show up in these sets from 1985-1988. These cards are usually found in very good condition, so I assume they were available through mail-order rather than included in the box itself.
Topps Tattoos were sold in packs, but I don’t recall ever seeing them in stores. I picked up a few featuring Reds players through trades. The full sheets featured several players; this particular sheet included not only Tony Perez, but fellow Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith and a player with one of the greatest nicknames in the history of baseball: Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd. Right next to Perez is the late Donnie Moore, who tragically took his own life in 1989.
Let’s flip the image to see what it would look like if you applied it to your skin:
I’m so used to seeing them reversed, flipping it just looks weird.
Are O-Pee-Chee cards oddballs? Sold in packs in Canada, but singles always traveled south and into the hands of American kids. I loved cards like this Bill Gullickson, showing the original Topps photo but new team designation.
I intended to post these cards last week. They have been in my possession for ten days, thanks to Twitter trader and Yankee fan @Molorange . But last week the flu hit me, and it hit me hard. I didn’t want to look at a baseball card or do much on the computer. I have finally turned the corner, and I’m ready to show off a few highlights.
Nor do I get the love for Leaf cards. These cards are just awful. Don’t believe me? Just ask Pete Schourek.
Well, not all Leaf cards are awful. Leaf Preferred cards look pretty cool. Reggie Sanders always looks cool.
Thankfully, we left much of the hideousness of the 1990s behind when we entered the 21st century. Check out these sweet cards of Hall of Famer Tony Perez.
I miss Johnny Cueto. Can you imagine how much of a threat the Reds could be if they still had the starting pitchers of a few years ago?
Thank you for the Reds cards, Joe. Sorry it took so long to post them.
Tony Perez had a reputation as a clutch hitter in Cincinnati. On a team loaded with superstars, Perez often went unnoticed. How could he compete with such huge personalities as Johnny Bench and Pete Rose? But he kept hitting, day in and day out, and driving in runs. He drove in over 100 runs six times with the Reds, which is pretty impressive considering how many runs were already driven in by the likes of Bench and George Foster. Still, it took nine times on the ballot for Perez to clear the 75% threshold.
May 14, 1942
Seven-time All-Star. Four top ten MVP finishes. Tony Perez was a major part of the Big Red Machine, but was overshadowed by other superstars in Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Pete Rose. It took nine years for the BBWAA to figure out that without Perez, the Reds of the 1970s would not have been the powerhouse they were. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000 alongside his long-time manager Sparky Anderson and 1975 World Series rival Carlton Fisk.
There has not been a new post on the Cardboard Junkie website in four months. But Dave is still quite active on Twitter as @CardJunk, and after telling him that I wanted to send him some Barves cards, he said he had some Reds set aside for me. His package arrived last week. Here’s some of the awesomeness contained inside:
A couple of “1st Home Run” inserts from 2015 Topps featuring Josh Hamilton and Tony Perez. I don’t recall seeing any of these last year, and if I did, I certainly didn’t notice that some were silver and some were gold.
Some parallel goodies. Red-bordered Jonathan Broxton from 2014, and man, Reds players sure look good on red-bordered cards. The emerald green borders look sharp too, but I bet Donald Lutz would look better in an A’s uniform on that card. The Mike Leake is a mini, alternate-colored bordered Gypsy Queen. And a black-bordered Johnny Cueto Heritage. Are there any sets that don’t have some sort of parallel anymore?
Autographed goodness! Luis Pineda only played two seasons in the bigs, and only one for the Reds. But I got his scribbles now!
Future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman never played for the Cincinnati Reds, but he spent some time in the organization before going to
Miami Florida in the 1992 expansion draft.
Another fantastic reliever, John Franco, from the 1987 Topps sticker set.
Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, from the 1987 Classic green border set. I already had the yellow border card from the travel edition, but the green border features a different photo and everything.
Even more vintage. Leo Cardenas, 1968. This card is going to look fantastic with Leo’s scribbles on it. The only question is whether I wait until December at Redsfest or try to catch him at the Reds Hall of Fame this summer.
There was a ton of other stuff in the package…
…including a card that I didn’t even discover until I went to scan them last night. In addition to all the Reds goodies, Dave included a special 1/1 sketch card of one of my very favorite vampires…
A pleasant surprise slid in between two other cards in one of the hard cases. I absolutely love this sketch card!
I love blind trades. I sent a handful of Tampa Bay Rays cards to @JDaniel2033, a Twitter friend in Indianapolis, and he sent back a handful of Reds. Lots of Barry Larkin and Hal Morris cards, Jose Rijo, and Hall of Famer Tony Perez were included among them. But he also sent a vintage Reds card that I needed:
Former Reds outfielder Bernie Carbo (who also played for the Cardinals, Red Sox, Brewers, Pirates, and Indians).
But he didn’t stop there. He also sent me a non-Reds card from 1972…
Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan!
There are a few players that are always welcome in my collection, whether they are wearing Reds uniforms or not, and that includes any of the Big Red Machine’s Great Eight.
Thank you for the awesome cards @JDaniel2033, and I will certainly be sending some more Rays your way whenever I come across them!
I dropped the ball on this one! I intended to post this “fun card” earlier in the week, and forgot about it until today as I was looking at the other cards I have created for the set. This hasn’t been a season full of highlights for the Reds, but dedicating a statue to Tony Perez would make the list even in a World Championship year. “Doggie” had an outstanding career for the Reds, Expos, Red Sox, and Phillies, and remains one of the most popular players from the 1970s Big Red Machine era. A seven-time All-Star, Perez finished his career with 379 home runs and 1652 RBI. It was not until his ninth year on the Hall of Fame ballot, in 2000, that he was finally inducted. He never had less than 50% support for the Hall.