Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mick the Quick, My Aunt, and My 1977 Kellogg's Set

Mick The Quick, My Aunt, and My 1977 Kellogg’s Set

by Mike DeNero

A few years back, I crossed the line between being a collector and a dealer. I have often heard you can’t be both, and since the day that, I have subscribed to that belief, until recently.

While I no longer purchase sportscards or memorabilia for my own collection, I do maintain those that I own, many of which I attained as a kid, in one way or another (e.g., buying packs, getting free 1977 and 1978 Burger King Yankees cards with my Whopper, fries, and a Coke, to name a few). One such item I have held onto since my childhood is my 1977 Kellogg’s 3-D Super Stars Baseball Set (card #1, George Foster, sporting his trademark California sideburns, through card #57, Steve Carlton, sporting a baby-blue Phillies jersey along with his 1970’s-style moustache). It was the first complete set that I ever owned. It was given to me by one of my favorite people in the world, my Aunt Robin.

In 1977, I was a seven year-old Yankees fan who lived in the North Jersey town of Lodi. While I started collecting cards at the age of three (to read the story of my first pack, click here), I (and my beloved Yankees) were just starting to hit our strides – me as a card collector, they as Major League Baseball’s most exciting team (to read the story of me pulling my first Reggie Jackson card from a wax pack, click here).

While I spent all of my fifty cents allowance each week at the local five-and-dime on 1977 Topps baseball cards and began to amass a pretty decent selection of the set, it was nowhere near complete – surely an impossible task, given my measly four-bits allowance, yielding me one rack pack (49 cents), if I had some extra pennies on me, or two wax packs (if I am not mistaken, they were 25 cents each).

But one day during the middle of the Summer of 1977, my Aunt Robin (who lived in Virginia) called my mom and told her that she was going to order me the complete set of Kellogg's 3-D baseball cards, a single card of which was included in each box of Kellogg’s cereal, and that it would arrive by the time we made our next visit to Virginia. I was ecstatic to hear that I was getting a complete set of baseball cards (and as a gift, no less – all the better). But, I had no idea what 3-D meant, as I’d never seen a 3-D baseball card, nor had I ever seen a 3-D movie. Regardless, I was excited.

A couple weeks later, my family and I arrived at my Aunt’s house for our typical summer stay. Upon our arrival, she presented me with the prize – all 57 3-D cards, which were the coolest looking cards I’d ever seen! The colors were vivid, the pictures incredibly sharp and detailed, and the 3-D effect made the players jump right off the surfaces of the cards!

I carried the set around with me everywhere – of course with Mickey Rivers, known affectionately to Yankees fans as “Mick the Quick,” on the top of the pile. Many of my favorite players at the time were included – the aforementioned Mick the Quick, Mark “the Bird” Fidrych, Steve Garvey, George Brett, Dave Kingman, Thurman Munson, Rod Carew, Big Dave Winfield, to name a few. The cards were so vibrant and awesome that I never noticed the absence from the set of Reggie Jackson, Nolan Ryan, and Tom Seaver, to name a few, until I sat down to write this tale. Regardless, the set includes seven Hall of Famers and countless stars of the 1970s.

If you don’t own the set, pick one up – it will only cost you $50-$150, ungraded, depending upon condition. I’ve had my complete set graded by SGC (see scans scattered throughout this article). The cards still look fabulous … and, of yeah, they are not for sale!

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