30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wax... but not Junk Wax

I'm captivated by comics.  I'm obsessed with oddball issues.  And I'm totally bewitched by bubble gum and baseball.

That's why I'm such a huge fan of 1979 Topps Comics, which were issued as wax wrappers for individual pieces of 5¢ bubble gum.

Topps issued a total of thirty-three different players with a mixture of minor stars, stars, and super stars representing at least one player from each of the twenty-six MLB teams.

Some of the larger market teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants had two players on the checklist.

Thirty-six years after its release... over a third of the set has players with plaques hanging in Cooperstown.  But the best part of this set isn't the checklist... it's the comics themselves.  

Each one features the player's name, position, and has an interesting career highlight.  Topps also included random baseball facts or rules in the bottom righthand corners of the comics.  

The piece de resistance are the colorful and beautifully drawn comics that are reminiscent of the Bazooka Joe comics I read when I was a kid.  Yup... they even feature MLB logos!  Take that Panini and Leaf.

Now they're far from perfect.  These oddballs are definitely oddball sized.  They're approximately 3" x 3.25", so storage issues may arise.  Plus they're pretty flimsy, which means they're often torn.  And remember... they were once gum wrappers, so unless you find unused sheets... they're bound to have creases.

But I'm willing to overlook these flaws due to their budget collector price point.  Complete sets sell for around $10 on eBay... but if you're patient you can find them in the $5 to $8 range.  That's less than a quarter each.

I picked up a lot of three sets on eBay for $19.99 (+ $2.99 shipping), which means that I'll be giving a set away in a future contest... probably held sometime this summer.

In the meantime...

What are your thoughts on these?  Thumbs up?  Down?

Happy Monday and sayonara!


  1. Of course it's a big two thumbs up on these for me. You know me -- the odder the oddball, the more likely I am to like it. I haven't pursued this one for myself since the only Brewer is Larry Hisle -- whose career was ruined by a torn rotator cuff injury that kept getting aggravated...but man, I love these.

  2. I agree with Tony. I only gave two Yaz and Rice. There is a variation on these. You can find some that have an advertisement still attached.

  3. Those are pretty awesome oddballs! I still need to find the Bob Horner 'Rookie' (his RC was in '79 Topps). That JR Richards is sweet, too!

  4. I remember seeing these advertised in various baseball publications back then. I wanted to order for some, but money is an issue when you're 12.

  5. I appreciate the oddballitude of these, as well as the artwork... I very much want to like them, and there's no reason why I shouldn't like them... but for some reason they don't quite grab me. Maybe if I saw them in person...

    The "Inside Baseball" cartoon on the Ross Grimsley wrapper is especially timely, given that they're trying to enforce that rule in AA and AAA ball this year.

  6. A Contest sounds fun.
    I give the Baseball wrappers two thumbs up ( just like the Fonz does on Happy Days)

  7. Oh man that takes me back, the gum was horrible but 5¢ for the wrapper alone was worth it for my 7-year old self. You always come up with the most interesting things to cover.

  8. Like the others above, double thumps up, Fuji! I don't have any of these in my collection, but that's what's so great about the blogosphere: I get to ooh and ahh and gawk at another man's...wax job. TroLoLoLoL!

  9. tony - milwaukee had hisle... oakland had page. let's call it a wash.

    mark - oh no... wish you hadn't mentioned variations. i'm one of those guys who grew up hunting down variations and errors.

    chop keeper - nice. totally forgot that 79 was horner's rookie card year.

    night owl - good news is these don't seem to have appreciated in value much.

    shlabotnik - sometimes you feel like a nut... sometimes you don't. i understand. that's the beauty of our hobby. everyone has their own preference.

    barry - stay tuned. you never know. maybe people who left comments on this post will get an extra entry ;)

    corky - 7 years old? looks like we're the same age. thanks for the kind words.

    underdog - who doesn't like to ooh and ahh at wax jobs? lol