These items are ones that my younger brother must have gotten when he was a little kid (he is 11-1/2 years younger than me, born in 1983) and kept for the past 20-odd years. I know that to be the case because I stopped buying cards and baseball stuff when I went to college. I needed to pay for food and books more than I needed to buy the Topps Amazing Technicolor Dream Bordered Cards in 1990, so that's where my collecting ceased.
So, coming across the photos and magazine that I decided to bring back early was a pleasant surprise. Each of these will be added eventually to my Robin Yount collection (I haven't done that yet) since he features on each.
First, let's go with the early 1990s Brewers "efforts" at fan appreciation:
Okay, this wasn't the only thing that the team gave away -- indeed, all that is on the back of this 1991 team photo are the Rules and Regulations for Brewers Fan Appreciation Night. My favorite rule listed is that anyone could walk up to Window 17 at the stadium at the beginning of the 7th inning and enter the stadium free of charge. That clearly was a better gift than the "grand prize" of a 1991 Geo Metro LSI convertible.
By 1992, the Brewers had stepped up their game. First off, they picked up a sponsor for the team photo -- Pabst Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage which, shockingly to me, is apparently still available and being reviewed on Beer Advocate. Second, not only was the photo sponsored, but the team detailed all the giveaways that they would have for Fan Appreciation Day:
Several of these giveaways are intriguing today -- the random "3-pack" of autographed balls of Yount, Canseco, and Puckett, or of Yount, Clemens, and Mattingly would be pretty damn cool to have today. It would have sucked, though, to win all the flashlights, lanterns, and batteries from Rayovac...that must have been really heavy to carry home.
Finally, the magazine I found was just a big surprise to me. It wasn't a surprise that it existed -- just that my brother had bought it at some point 24 years ago:
Even better than finding this magazine -- which is in better shape than you might expect from the scan -- was the fact that the inserted cards in the magazine are both in the magazine and in gem mint condition:
Were these Topps Magazine cards the first attempts that Topps made at printing cards for retired players? I honestly don't know.
And there it is -- still attached to Nuschler the Racist and Nolan the K King: the Robin Yount Topps Magazine card. I bought one of those from COMC earlier this year for under $1, but to have the complete magazine is just cool.
Add in some of the articles in the magazine, and it makes me wonder if perhaps Topps should try bringing the magazine back in some way. In this magazine alone, Topps talked about its Doubleheaders release, its issuance of Topps Coins, and Topps 1990 Football cards as well.
What I am saying is this: perhaps Topps should try a digital magazine form to draw kids in, provide news and information to older collectors, and then Topps can leverage that by giving subscribers special cards that only they can get. A digital magazine is far less expensive to produce than a paper magazine, and Topps could use it to provide some of its digital checklists, information on new releases, linked advertisements for some of those specials they run, etc.
Finally, also in the magazine, I saw the article that led to a hobby frenzy: when Topps gave President George H.W. Bush his own baseball card:
I have to admit -- I don't recall how all that played out.
But the magazine really was and is a cool way in my mind for Topps to promote products in a fun way while generating a new revenue stream.
What do you think: would you welcome a Topps (or Panini or Upper Deck) digital magazine? Would it be of interest to you to subscribe if you got subscriber exclusives in card (and not virtual card) form?
Let's hear it.