Category Archives: Inside the SP78 Vault

Inside the SP78 Vault: Phillies Tastykake Pin

I acquired this 2¼-inch pin sometime in the 1980s, at one of the many baseball card shows I’d attended in San Diego and LA, and besides programs and pocket schedules, is one of my earliest additions to the SP78 vault. I know very little about the pin itself, except for the obvious: it was a Philadelphia Phillies souvenir, it was sponsored by Tastykake, and it was released during the 1978 season.

I did a quick search on-line before typing this post, and could find no information related to the pin itself: was it sold at stadium gift stands, or maybe given away as a promotion at a game, or was it included in packages of Tastykake products? I couldn’t even find one for sale on eBay, so its current value is unknown; I can tell you that back in the ’80s, I probably wouldn’t have paid more than five bucks for it (however, if it had been a Reds pin, sponsored by Frisch’s Big Boy or Hudepohl Beer, I might’ve allowed myself to spend ten).

And 1978 was indeed ‘the year’ for Philadelphia, at least in the NL East; they won the division with a 90-72 record, besting second-place Pittsburgh by a mere 1½ games, and went into the post-season as favorites over rival LA. But they would go on to lose the best-of-five NLCS to the Dodgers in four, and thus the Phillies’ baked goods totem would proudly be worn no more.

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.

Inside the SP78 Vault: 1978 Royals Program

For this first entry in this new series of posts, I take a look at my most recent addition to the vault, a 1978 game program for the Kansas City Royals. It’s an unscored copy I purchased off eBay a few weeks ago for $10.50…a full ten bucks more than it cost at the ballpark back in ’78. It’s in near-perfect condition, and from what I can gather from the insert scorecard pages, this copy was sold at a Royals-Red Sox game played on either May 15th or May 16th, when the two teams split a 2-game weeknight series at Royals Stadium.

What I noticed when I first leafed through the program was a photo and bio for pitcher Andy Hassler, included with the listings for other KC players; what’s odd about that is, in my SP78 season, he’s pitching for the Red Sox. A quick check on-line told me that he was purchased from the Royals by the Sox on July 24th. Of course, Avalon Hill chose to include him with the Boston player cards; if I’d known about these wacky AH decisions early on, I would’ve sent him back to Kansas City where he belonged.

With the purchase of this program, I now own all American League team programs for the AL West, and need only one from the Red Sox to complete the AL East. Look for more programs to be spotlighted here—along with other SP78 and 1978 baseball memorabilia—in the coming months!