Category Archives: Inside the SP78 Vault

Inside the SP78 Vault: 40th Anniversary Program

Created for today’s 40th Anniversary game, and already destined for the vault, is this four-page program featuring a scorecard, starting lineups for both teams, a message from the Commissioner, a seating chart for Riverfront Stadium, game notes, and a scan of an actual ticket stub from the August 22, 1978 game between the Reds and Cards. Overall, a steal at 25 cents.

 

Inside the SP78 Vault: 1978 Padres Program

Perhaps my very first addition to the SP78 vault, even before their was an SP78! On September 29th, 1978, my Dad and brother Scott and I attended the third-to-last game of the Padres season (and my fifth of the year, and first since June), a Friday night match-up against the Dodgers, who were in first place and headed for the World Series against the Yankees. LA’s Burt Hooton was going for his 20th win, but it wasn’t to be as the Padres pulled out a 3-1 win, in a game that took just 1 hour, 58 minutes to play.

On the way in, I paid a vendor fifty cents for the program, whose cover celebrated the Padres’ tenth year of existence, as well as them being the host team of that summer’s All-Star Game. It’s fun for me to look through the program now and check out all the San Diego ads, and the places I used to frequent that are no longer around: Square Pan Pizza, Dow Sound City, Monterey Jack’s, Picnic ‘n Chicken, Kinney Shoes, and sadly, San Diego Stadium itself, which hasn’t seen a Padres game played there since 2003.

Besides acquiring this program, this was also the game where I caught my first batting practice home run ball, in the left field seats off the bat of LA outfielder Dusty Baker. My brother also got himself a baseball, tossed to him by Dodgers utility player Joe Simpson from the bullpen, where Scott was watching some players warm up before the game.

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.