Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ooo, Piece of Candy!

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when one could get a nice piece of gum or candy with their baseball cards.  What could possibly make a cardboard square of one of your childhood heroes even cooler?  Why, a sugary treat of course!

But, then I remember just how bad the gum was that came with Topps by the 80's and the problems of stains, warping and odd smells.  Maybe the candy is more romanticized than anything.

*Sidenote - it's a very bad idea to try and eat a stick of gum from an old wax pack that has survived to the present.  I know, that should be pretty obvious, but curiosity got the best of me one Christmas morning.

This tiny morsel of cardboard scrumptious-ness hails from the distant, tropical land of Cuba and it came with a caramel back in the day.

Caramel Deportivo released this set of nearly square, Cuban League cards sometime between 1945-46 to promote their sweets.  Seen here is Jorge "Pancho" Comellas, who spent a few innings with the wartime, pennant winning Cubs in 1945 - 4.50 ERA in 12 innings across 7 games, including 1 start.  A mediocre player overall, but notable for being one of the first Cuban players on the Cubs roster.

At any rate, these cards were meant to be glued into a special binder, similar to a Panini sticker book of today, where a completed set could be redeemed for a special prize.  Of course, Caramel Deportivo super short-printed one of the cards, HOFer Ray Dandridge, thus making the task damn near impossible.  Topps wasn't the first to pull that trick!

Here's the back of my Comellas - as you can plainly see, it was pasted into something at some point in it's life.

Another characteristic of this set that really threw me off was the cardstock:  it is extremely thin - paper thin.  It feels like holding a piece of regular printer paper, which led me to believe that the seller I purchased this from on Ebay had duped me by giving me a printout of a scan.

In a hasty and panicky bit of research, I was assured by multiple sources that this is exactly as it is supposed to be.  These cards are noted for their fragility and thin-ness.  Phew! Dodged a bullet there.

Jorge laughs at my lack of faith, shown here in his Cubs duds

Thus, I could then enjoy the fact that I was able to acquire another obscure, briefly tenured, old-school player for my All-Time Roster Collection.  A foreign, oddball, super-vintage card at that; I'll take that every day and twice on Sunday!

It's unique pieces like this one that add so much character to my CATRC set.  After all, it'd be quite boring if it was all made up of Topps flagship cards.  I love my Cuban, Japanese, Venezuelan, etc. cards from far-off lands - even if I didn't get my piece of candy with them!

In closing, I'll leave you with the Family Guy bit that inspired the title of this post - never trust James Woods!

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