A couple years ago, yet another local card shop was closing. This old dude had been at his location for like 30 years, but hard economic times and modern collecting sensibilities had driven him from maintaining a brick and mortar shop. He had kept up with the times by having a strong online presence and it just made sense for him in time to keep that and ditch the overhead of the store. This story has repeated itself locally a dozen times and nationally thousands of times over. It is nothing new. But where as I once had a bunch of local card shops to choose from, I now only have two, and both of those are basically offices for the proprietors to work out of. Of course, in my sorrow, I am never one to overlook a bargain, and when this shop went out of business, he sold off a lot of his inexpensive-type inventory dirty dirt cheap. I swept in and grabbed a lot of great deals and a lot of stuff I normally wouldn't have purchased. There was a huge box of oddball sets marked down to a dollar each. I'm not sure if I bought them all, but I came pretty close. One of those sets was one I had seen a few random singles from but never the entire set, the 2001 Sunoco Dream Team Limited Edition set.
The cards in this set were supposedly given out at gas stations in 2001, but I never saw it advertised and if I ever stopped at a Sunoco station, I never got any cards out of the deal. This was not Sunoco's first baseball card promotion; they were involved in some Fleer parallels in the mid 90's and those I remember, but this set slipped through my consciousness. It is a 12-card set of All Time greats representing a famous team two at a time. You have wonderful duos like Joe Morgan and Tony Perez, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice, Jim Palmer and Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, and even some more eclectic combos like Yogi Berra and Don Mattingly, and Sparky Anderson and Al Kaline. Anyway, they are pretty sweet looking cards and I got 3 or 4 of the sets in that card shop liquidation sale. I sold the excess ones on eBay and kept one for myself. And well, to tell the truth, I decided not to keep that set intact. Twelve card sets just don't do well in a 9-card page setting. I do have a few of them represented - mostly Fleer World Series sets from the 80's - and they either leave a nasty six card void, or if you put them together it is hard to keep a continuity, or worst of all, if I get cute and do six cards a page, you leave two three card spaces to fill. They just don't work well for what I want my collection to look like. So with the Sunoco set that I had, I kept nine of the cards for a page and I then divided the three cards I excised: one went into my team collection, one went to my player collections, and the final one went to a hardcore team collecting blogger. Here is the page you were left with:
I assume this giveaway was an east coast/mid west thing as you have 2 Philly cards, 2 Yankees cards, then a Detroit, a Cleveland, a Cincinnati, and a Pittsburgh. For completeness, let's look at the backs:
Each card has a snappy write up and even a title, which is a nice touch. Plus, Coca Cola gets in on the sponsorship too (when doesn't Coke get in on the advertising?). It is also nice, and kinda rare for this kind of oddball set, that the cards are authorized and therefore can use the MLB logos. That always makes for a better looking card. I keep this page in with my set binders because if I weren't so damn particular about how things look, it would be complete....in my mind's eye, it is.
You will see on the side margin there is a new bit of propaganda. That is because I want you to go vote for Greg Zakwin on Beckett's website so he can win contest and a Sandy Koufax autograph. I like his blog and I even genuinely like his entry best, so please take 20 seconds and do so. Thanks.