Monday, February 10, 2014

The Police

From 1982 through 1986 -- which I think was the last year I was eligible to get the set as an "under 14 fan" -- my mom made sure that we knew the exact day of the season on which the Brewers would be giving away the Milwaukee Police Department's police card set.  Since we didn't exactly want to try to flag down police simply to get baseball cards when we were in the city, that game represented our one chance to get the cards for the year.

As an aside, I don't know how anyone put together complete sets for the police departments outside of Milwaukee in any honest way.  By honest way, I mean by not knowing someone on the police force or being on the police force.  We are talking about a 30-card set (at least) that was being given away ostensibly in two-card lots.  Who saw (or wanted to see) a police officer every week during the summer?

This was especially true where I grew up 35 miles outside of Milwaukee.  We didn't see a sheriff's department car more than maybe once or twice a month, and the deputies tended to frown on 12-year-old kids flagging them down on the highway so that the kids could ask for baseball cards.

All that said, the cards through the 1980s and into 1991 were odd-sized, on thin cardboard, and carried safety messages apparently written by a kindergarten teacher trying to tell high school kids what to do.  To give an example, let's look at an example: the Robin Yount card from 1985.
This was signed in person by Yount at a public appearance in the mid-1980s.
The photos on the cards likely were taken by the team's official photographers, as I do not think I have ever seen any of the photos anywhere else.  For the most part, the photos are decent quality and improved as the years went on.  During 1985, as the card states, the local afternoon paper The Milwaukee Journal sponsored the set.  In later years, food companies and other media outlets got involved as well.

But, the real joy is reading the backs of these cards.  Take Yount's "statement" to the kids, and let's ignore things like teammates having "special feelings" for each other:
Special feelings?
All sage advice, for sure.  Most of us don't collect cards from our local gangs, though this could have been a funny Chappelle Show skit 10 years ago.  I don't know about you, but that rookie card for Ashy Larry actually would have been quite a hit in a pack.

Anyway, I have this longing desire to find a list of every single police department from 1982 through 1986 who gave out these cards and, then in masochistic fashion, I would like to attempt to complete sets from all of them.  If you can help, shoot me an e-mail or comment on the thread below.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't track down your email. You emailed me about a 1989 mini Justin Verlander. Would the gold Gomez and Red Foil Segura work in trade? Drop me an email and let's work something out. Thanks, Adam (arpsmith)