If I had to guess, I'd probably say the year was 1985 which was right around the time I was wrapping up my Little League career and getting myself ready for high school baseball. It's kind of a shame, because the following year, the company inserted baseball cards into their pouches of gum.
They resemble the SSPC Baseball Immortals trading cards produced in the 80's, which bears resemblance to the 1975 Topps set on the front and the 1954 Bowman design on the back.
See for yourself:
1986 Big League Chew #1 to #6
At the time, the first six cards in the twelve card set featured the six MLB players atop the all-time home run list.
1984 SSPC Baseball Immortals #177
1980 SSPC Baseball Immortals #1
1984 SSPC Baseball Immortals #178
1984 SSPC Baseball Immortals #185
On the back Big League Chew uses different player summaries and also includes the year when the player hit their 500th home run in place of the trivia question. It also says HALL OF FAMERS WHO HAVE HIT OVER 500 HOME RUNS at the top of the card above the bat and 1986 SERIES written inside of the bat.
However the most obvious difference on the back is the coloring.
Here's a look at the final six cards in the set:
1986 Big League Chew #7 to #12
This set must have been planned and printed sometime before the Summer of 1986, because Willie McCovey was also part of the 500 Home Run Club and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame that year.
Reggie Jackson was the only other 500 Home Run Club member at the time, but he was still playing in 1986. And if you're curious about the next slugger to join this exclusive club... it would be Mike Schmidt. He'd hit #500 early in 1987.
Here's a closer look at the collage/checklist card:
According to Beckett, these cards were inserted into pouches of Big League Chew at a rate of one per specially marked pouch. Kids and collectors could also send in $2 with two coupons and receive a complete set through a mail-in offer.
I definitely remember seeing the Baseball Immortals cards back in the 80's, but these Big League Chew cards totally slipped past me. Maybe by the time 1986 rolled around, I was more into spittin' seeds instead of dipping BLC.
What about you?
Did you play organized baseball? If so, what kind of wad was sitting in your cheek?
Happy Tuesday and sayonara!