Friday, October 10, 2008

Baseball Cards- Evolution and Innovation through the Years- Part 2

Following Post cereal's exit from the baseball card business in the late 60's, Kellogg's immediately jumped in to fill the void. Starting in 1970 Kellogg's produced a first of its kind product with the 3-D baseball card. The Baseball Card Almanac currently catalogues 15 different sets produced between 1970 and 1983, a single set for every year besides 1972 in which the company released a second 15-card set titled All-Time Baseball Greats.

Featuring posed shots of the era's greatest players including Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Willie McCovey, Pete Rose, Brooks Robinson, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and more. The inaugural issue and its subsequent follow-up in 1971 were the largest sets containing a checklist of 75 total cards. the 3-dimensional technology was rather simple and with the card held in hand at just the right angle it really did make the player's image "pop" off the card. Singles, complete sets, and entire set runs are very affordable and are in abundance. PSA poulation reports indicate that some of the cards from '70-'74 are seeing a steady increase in submissions for grading as collectors realize these cards are approaching 40 years old and were produced in much smaller quantities than Topps from the same years.

Following the exit of Kellogg's from the market in 1983, the 3-D baseball card saw a couple of year hiatus until a new company emerged in 1985 called Sportsflic unveiling their "Magic Motion" technology with 9 promo and prototype cards. The prototypes were apparantly well received in the market as the following year, 1986, saw the release of a whopping 200-card set. While not technically 3-D by definition, the pictures of player depicted on the card were shot with a ultra-fast shutter speed to capture numerous movements of the player. The company produced a total of 4 sets in the '80's with it's final year being in 1988 with an even larger 225-card set. As you might expect from a product released in the over-production era, plenty examples exist on the secondary market including entire cases. Before we got spoiled with rich-media, multi-media, the DirectTV Extra Innings Package, ESPN and other venues, the idea of a card that depicted your favorite player actually swinging during an at bat or throwing a strike out of the stretch was VERY COOL.

This "Magic Motion" technology would later be utilized by an additional new-comer to the market, Score, which utilized it for their World Series History Trivia cards in the late '80's and early '90's. In an interesting irony the two original innovators, Kellogg's and Sportsflics collaborated for another go at the concept in 1992.

Stay Tuned for Part 2-A, Holograms


Dave said...

There were actually Sportflics sets in 1989 and 1990 too. Then it made a comeback in 1994. Sportflics and Score were produced by the same company.

Rob- AKA "VOTC" said...

Interesting, wonder why they weren't listed in the Almanac. Thanks Dave!

Post a Comment