30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, December 27, 2015

So Many Oddballs

If you enjoy oddball issues, then this post is for you.  I've had a soft spot pretty much since I started collecting in the early 80's and they're still one of my favorite things to collect to this very day.

Do you remember when card companies would put cards on the bottom of their boxes back in the 80's and 90's?  I remember asking the manager at the local pharmacy if I could have his empty 1986 Topps baseball boxes.  Can't remember exactly when the fad died off, but Topps produced this sweet box bottom back in 2005:

From what I can tell, they're almost identical to the pack issued cards except for the missing gold foil.

Kudos to whoever at Topps decided to create a Team Japan box bottom... although I find it interesting that they left Ichiro out.  No biggie.  At least they included Hideo.

Let's head back into the 90's.  There were so many cool oddballs to collect during that decade.  One of my favorites were promo and preview cards, like this Hideo Nomo:

1997 Bowman's Best International

This card is technically an insert card out of 1997 Bowman baseball, but is sometimes referred to as a preview card.

Another cool 90's oddball are Pinnacle Inside cans:

RC Cola produced some cans with baseball players on them in the 70's.  Pinnacle borrowed their idea and replaced the soda with a pack of cards.  They even produced gold parallel cans for collectors to chase.  

The downside?  These cool looking cans are awesome for player and team collectors, but unfortunately... they take up more space than a standard trading card.

Donruss also jumped in on the "metal" bandwagon and produced some very cool tins when they released Donruss Preferred back in the late 90's:

Not only were the tins metal... Donruss actually produced a limited amount of cards made from precious metals.  I've never actually seen any of these in person, but they sell for a decent dime on eBay.

Another oddball issue I'd like to share with you are the oversized Donruss Studio cards:

When I say oversized, I'm not talking about 3x5's, 4x6's, or 5x7's.  We're talking HUGE here.  Each pack of these baseball, hockey, and football cards contained two 8x10's and are great for 'graphing.

Speaking of autographs...  

1998 Studio Autographs #3

In 1998, Donruss created a special autographed insert set that included three young stars: Travis Lee, Todd Helton, and Ben Grieve.

And wrapping up this oddball post is another oversized set...

Upper Deck went through a phase where they were creating postcard sized box toppers, promotional cards, and specialty sets back in the 90's.  This 1999 Gatorade set was one of them.

So, what about you...

Are you into oddballs?  If so, what are some of your favorite issues?

A special shout out to Dennis over at Too Many Verlanders... who sent me a huge box of awesome sports memorabilia that spans several decades and goes well beyond your standard issue base card.

In addition to all of the oddballs you've seen in this post, he also included some inserts, parallels, and even a memorabilia card for a bunch of my collections:

2010 Topps Peak Performance Relics #KJ

Thank you Dennis for this amazing holiday care package!  I have a special shoe box where I set aside any extra Detroit Tigers and Michigan Wolverine cards especially for you.

Happy holidays everyone... and sayonara!


  1. Love the oddballs. I tend to think '70s oddballs are much cooler than the rest. But the box bottom cards of the '80s are awesome -- the first time I discovered them was when I worked in a drug store.

  2. I'd been wondering where those '05 Topps box bottom were from. I saw a Sosa in a dimebox a little while ago and it completely stumped me - I thought they were some sort of magazine insert. Anyway, nice batch of oddities; my current obsession is the talking ProStar/Telestar cards from the early 00's.

  3. I am a big oddball fan. The ones from the 70s and 80s are my favorite but I am a fan of all.

  4. It's funny...I just posted a blog a day or two ago about a Tony Gwynn Pinnacle Inside can I found at a recent card show. Great post about the oddballs, some of my favorite cards to try to find.

  5. Loves me some Pinnacle Inside. Desperately want to bust more cans of that someday. I also bought a 10 pack lot of those ginormous Studio football on eBay back in the day. They were cool, but instantly buried because I kept no binders back then. Also like certain early/mid-'90s food issues, because they're a good source of relatively cheap Hall of Fame autographs.

  6. I've been fortunate enough to complete a couple nice oddball insert sets - those copper foil 2008 UD Superstars from the cereal boxes, and the wooden Lumber Yards from 2002 UD 40-Man.
    Also like stuff like the food issues and other non-card company issues over the years. Wish there were more of that stuff now in snack packages or at the end of your loaf of bread...

  7. I love oddballs. I like them all, but especially the ones that try to really be unique - cans, metal cards, 3D, etc. My favorite has to be the Bikkuriman stickers for the NPB league here in Japan. They were sold with chocolate wafers and have really fun artwork. Bikkuriman itself has been around for decades and remains popular.

  8. Are there any collectors that don't like oddballs? I never knew about the 80s boxes with embedded cards!

  9. night owl & arpsmith - i really need to add more 70's oddballs to my collection... starting with kellogg's and sprinkling a few hostess in between.

    tony - never seen any of those prosper/telestar cards, but the idea of a talking card caught my attention.

    comatoad - just read your post. sweet gwynn can

    lonestarr - those nabisco autograph sets are awesome... even without the logos :)

    gca - cards inserted into loaves of bread are a blast from the past. good times.

    ryan - had to look up bikkuriman... never seen them before. however eating chocolate wafers sounds like an awesome way to build a collection.

    steve - in terms of mainstream cards... i'm pretty sure it started in 1985 with donruss (contains an oddball rookie of gooden).

  10. Fuji: did I send you some soccer cards with chocolate wafers? Those are technically "Bikkuriman" stickers (something I just found out last week) though they aren't at all like most Bikkuriman. Definitely made by Lotte, the same company. I guess they were marketed under the Bikkuriman name.

    1. Hmmm... I think you did. I vaguely remember chomping on some chocolate wafers.