Imagine a world where baseball cards could talk. Well that's exactly what the people at Topps and LJN envisioned back in 1989 when the created the Sports Talk Player:
Each Sports Card Player retailed for $24.99 and included four cards: #41 Hank Aaron, #82 Orel Hershiser, #123 Don Mattingly, & #164 Checklist.
Each card has a small vinyl record glued to the back:
The player has a needle mechanism that spins around as it reads each individual card's record.
Assuming you had a few AA batteries laying around, collectors now had everything they needed to start listening to their favorite stars in just four simple steps:
#1 Lift the Sports Card Player's plastic covering.
#2 Insert the card of choice.
#3 Close the cover.
#4 Turn it on.
Here's a commercial for the player from back in the day:
Collectors could purchase additional four card packs for around $4. Each pack was clearly labeled with its contents, so collectors knew exactly what they were getting:
There were a total of 40 different packs to choose from and 164 cards in the set. The first 8 cards in the set contained highlights from some of the greatest World Series games. Cards #9 to #41 were retired stars and legends like: #17 Ernie Banks, #20 Babe Ruth, #27 Stan Musial, and #34 Pete Rose.
The remaining 123 cards (with the exception of card #164) consisted of rising stars, key veterans, and of course all of your favorite super stars.
Each card measured 3.25" x 5.25", which means they were larger compared to the standard 2.5" x 3.5" trading card. You can see for yourself the size difference below:
The odd size makes these cards difficult to store, but I discovered that four pocket pages seem to do the job. They slide around a little, but as long as you don't turn your binder upside down you'll be okay.
How much can you expect to pay for a complete set and player? I purchased a lot of three new players and four unopened packs for $35 (delivered) off of eBay a few months ago. I ended up selling one of the players for $20 at the flea market and kept the other two.
I also found someone selling a complete case of 40 unopened packs (a complete set) for $39.95 (+ $12.70 shipping) on eBay, so for $67.65 I have two players, a complete set, and four unopened packs.
Today's technology definitely makes the concept behind this product a little obsolete. But if you're into 80's nostalgia or cool cardboard oddballs, then you should check these cards out.
What do you think? Cool? Weird? Not my cup of tea?
Happy Tuesday and sayonara!