Inside the SP78 Vault: McDonald’s Baseball Quiz

It was a summer evening in 1978, perhaps on a calendar day close to where I am right now in my SP78 season, and my parents had taken my brother, sister, and I out to dinner at our local McDonald’s in Escondido, California. Their current promotion, apparently available only at Southern California restaurants, featured a baseball quiz card given to customers with every Big Mac purchase; the prize was a free Big Mac to fans who answered the multiple-choice quiz question correctly. As you can see, I did just that, during the drive home after leaving the restaurant:

And it wasn’t guesswork, either: I actually knew the answer to the question, without the luxury of on-line stats, scores, and game recaps instantly available at my fingertips. Instead, I studied the daily sports pages and the annual Street & Smith baseball guides, and I watched ABC’s Monday Night Baseball and the NBC Game of the Week on Saturdays, and went to Padres games at San Diego Stadium whenever I could. I actually cared about baseball back then, which made answering this question a cinch.

And as you’ve noticed, I kept this particular game card, which means I did not get myself a free Big Mac on my next visit to McDonald’s that summer. But that’s okay…I’m glad I still own this rare piece of baseball memorabilia, since that Big Mac would’ve been long gone and forgotten by now. I tried to find another quiz card like this one on-line, but even eBay doesn’t have one to offer, so maybe mine has some real value to it. Or maybe it’s worth nothing more than a Big Mac…just as long as I redeem it before October 8, 1978.

18 responses to “Inside the SP78 Vault: McDonald’s Baseball Quiz

  1. grandrapidsgirl

    Absolutely kewlest post EVER! You don’t give yourself anywhere near enough credit for your expansive knowledge of baseball and all of its ingredients. And all because you had a genuine passion for what was once America’s favorite pastime. Plus you have a knack for statistics and such. Your baseball brain is indeed a rare one and excruciatingly valuable – as is that Mickey-D’s card!!

    • Very kind words, Julie…thank you! And yes, ‘what was ONCE American’s favorite pastime’…I totally agree. And I wish I’d saved more from the ’70s than I have, but I’m also thankful I saved what I did!

  2. Maybe an “on loan” piece to either Cooperstown or the McDonalds Museum in Des Plaines?

    • Good idea! But I’m not sure which place would appreciate it more…or which place doesn’t already own one. I’d say Cooperstown gets it first!

  3. Actually, I turned it in when you weren’t paying attention. I actually got a free Big Mac for it!… from 1978. I’m still in the hospital if you want to come visit. I’m lying next to a patient who’s there because he had a fresh Big Mac.

    • I guess I should say ‘thank you’ for leaving me an exact replica, which I’m holding right now; you can’t even tell it’s fake. And next time I’m in New York, I’ll come visit you at Bellevue.

  4. This post made my day.

  5. OK, cool card and all, but I’m jealous of the fact that your parents took you to McDonalds in 1978! The last time I can remember my parents taking me to McDonalds was in 1970, and I can pretty much guarantee that it was the same McDonalds that you went to in 1978. They used to have outside tables across the parking lot from the restaurant and that’s where we would eat.

    • I agree, it had to be the same one…corner of East Valley Parkway and Ash! And those tables were still out there at least until the early-1990s, when my co-worker from Pomerado and I would eat there. Were you aware that that particular McDonald’s was gutted in a fire a few years ago and torn down? There’s a new one there now, and it just doesn’t feel right. I think E-Z Takeout Burger is gone, too.

      • Yes, I was aware of the fire and rebuilding. I’ve seen the rebuilt restaurant but have not eaten there. There’s precious little on Valley Parkway that is what it used to be – E-Z Take Out left in the late 90’s, and if I’m not mistaken, there’s a Popeye’s Chicken there now. I remember getting Pioneer Chicken not far from there, before it became a ‘Berto’s Taco Shop of some sort. Cue the Mayor McCheese jokes in 3 . . 2 . .

      • …1! Cathy Conley!

  6. grandrapidsgirl

    I remember that McDonald’s well too and the fire was definitely a kill-joy. Not the same joint / feel. At least Agrusa’s is still goin’ strong!! WHOOT!!

    • And I’m happy to tell you that, as of last December when I drove by on East Valley Parkway, Agrusa’s was indeed still open!

      • grandrapidsgirl

        I Googled prior to posting as I was sure if it was closed I’d be sunk! Thanks for checking on my 1st real job locale! 🙂

      • You bet! And next time I’m in Escondido, I’m actually going to stop there and have lunch!

  7. I just noticed that crease on the right hand side. Have to bring down the rating to a 7 now.

    • I was seriously going to Photoshop the crease out, but decided no, I wanted everyone to see it in its true condition. So there you go.

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