There are certain ads that were ubiquitous in comic books when I was growing up. There was the “Win a Columbia Ten-Speed Formula 10 Racer” banner across the front cover of every Marvel comic in November 1981. Inside there were ads for Mile High Comics and Robert Bell selling back issues, D&D sets, model kits, Bubble Yum gum, Saturday morning cartoon blocks, you name it. And in the issues cover dated October 1982 (which means they would have been on the spinner racks of the Lawson’s convenience store at the corner of my street sometime around July of that year), there was an inside-the-front-cover ad for “Special Limited Edition Baseball Cards” from Cracker Jack!
I played little league (poorly) for a few years and grew up in the geographical center of the pro sports Bermuda Triangle (Northeast Ohio). My dad never seemed to have any interest in baseball and never took me to an Indians game. As a result of all this, I’ve never been a big baseball fan, but I do love comics, and I liked Cracker Jack. So I guess that’s why I saved up my eight box tops and shipped them off to Borden with my thirty-five cents. My reward was two sheets of all-time baseball greats.
I don’t know why I kept them over the years, but I have. I stumbled on them when we were cleaning the basement last summer. They were in a large box that also included my relatively meager collection of other sports cards – football, baseball, basketball – along with my Topps 1981 Football and Baseball Sticker Albums.
In Deus ex Comica, I talk about how playing with my toys never equated to destroying my toys, and the same was true for any of my other possessions. My comics were always neatly stored and my various cards were always kept in tidy little boxes. And the Cracker Jack sheets have remained uncut for the past three decades now.
A quick search on the interwebs, and it appears the cards were commissioned from Topps and aren’t worth too much. But immediately after scanning them for this blog post, they went right back into the box they came out of. And they’ll probably stay there for another 30 years.