Saturday, June 3, 2017

Pins and Needles

One of the upsides of being on Twitter is sometimes the conversations go down rabbit trails of strange and weird and cool collectibles just by someone bringing up a random topic. Now, I can't recall how it is that Greg a/k/a @grogg came to send me some great player pins from 1990, but All Hail to him for that!

That song is from a Manchester Band called PINS -- an all-female band formed 6 years ago. The songs I've listed to have a very mod 1960s feel. There's a lot of that feel in the way they dress as well. If you'd like to hear something different from them, check out "Aggrophobe", which features Iggy Pop doing mostly spoken-word verses while singing the chorus together. It's a lot different than a lot of the songs I've listed to lately, and it's a nice change.

But, it is weird too.

So, the pins. 1990 featured some of the most diverse oddballs one can imagine. There were the collector-issued "Broder-type" cards, such as the "Blue Sox Sports Sports Promotions Action Superstars." You had your random unlicensed stuff, like the "1990 All-American Baseball Team." Those were fairly normal cards compared to others, though. A company called "Ace" put out a set of 108 MVP pins, defining the term MVP rather loosely to include luminaries such as Bill Doran, Gary Gaetti, Tom Herr, and Dennis Rasmussen with real MVPs such as Robin Yount, Kevin Mitchell, and Dale Murphy.

From there, things went even weirder. Good Humor Ice Cream issued a set of 26 "bats" (one for each team) that were the sticks on which your ice cream was frozen. Of course, you had your usual cola-sponsored or cookie-sponsored or fast-food-sponsored sets. MSA was back at its disc-creating best. And don't forget about all the random player-specific sets that the Star Company put out, including the 1990 version of Aaron Judge: Kevin Maas.

All in all, having a set called "Baseball Buttons" that was fully licensed was nothing out of the ordinary for 1990. It appears that the set was broken down colorwise by having the NL players with a blue button and the AL players with a red button. I'm not entirely sure where Trading Card Database got its numbering system for the set, though, as I personally do not see any numbers on the buttons. 

It's a truly weird set in many respects. The Los Angeles Dodgers were just two years -- basically one season -- removed from winning the World Series, but only three Dodgers made the 120-button set. On the other hand, the Brewers had seven buttons in the set.

It's like the Baseball Button people were the Anti-Topps. The designs on these leave a lot to be desired. Why do Ted Higuera and Dan Plesac have their name and a copyright line included on their photos while the other players do not? 

The photographer who took the photos of Yount and Gantner must have been new to the business as well -- you never take a photo where the sun is behind a person's face if you are intending to feature the face in the photo. That's photography 101. At a minimum, you need additional lighting in that case to light up their face. If you don't you end up with a dark photo that makes it difficult to tell Jim Gantner and Robin Yount apart without a label.

Still, I'm not complaining about these. Like I said, this set is like the anti-Topps -- featuring far more Brewers than it even should. This package helped bring my Yount collection total to 1,052 items, including ninety-seven from 1990 alone.

Many thanks go out to Greg -- he's a great guy, a good follow on Twitter, and he has great movie recommendations too. 


  1. Labels are important. If it weren't for the label on the pins, I wouldn't know that Robin Yount is, in fact, Robin Yount.
    If it weren't for the label on the PINS video, I would've thought they were singing "Aw, hell!"

  2. Robin Yount holds a special meaning for me. When I first discovered 30 card repacks in a Dollar Tree, I bought one with a Robin Yount card on the front.