Friday, July 26, 2013

Red Sox & Root Beer - Two of My Favorites Combined

Root beer has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I remember having my very first glasses at my grandmother's house as a little kid, more than two decades ago now, and being blown away.  From then on out, it was one of the go-to sodas of my childhood.  I don't drink much soda at all any longer, but when I occasionally get the craving I'll go for root beer, or one of its less popular "cousins" like cream soda or birch beer.  It just so happens that the home I purchased a few years ago in Rhode Island is less than a mile from a '50s style root beer stand.  You know, the kind that serve their own draft root beer, along with burgers, and typical fare in a retro "lights on for service" type atmosphere.  No, that did not influence my decision to buy the house, I don't love root beer that much.  Point is, I enjoy the beverage.

When I recently stumbled across today's card on eBay I knew it had to be mine, since it's the perfect combination of two things I enjoy very much:

This is a really large item, so in case you can't read the scan it's a 1958 Hires Root Beer Pete Runnels.  Clicking on the image may give you a better look, depending on your browser.  These were distributed by Hires in their root beer cartons in '58, with 66 cards in the set in total.  Included was a trading card with colorized photo inset against a wood background, with player name, position and team name in white print against a black background at bottom.  Nothing too spectacular in terms of design, but it does have a nice vintage feel to certainly looks like a card from the '50s.

The cards had a perforated tab attached that could be mailed in for membership in the "Hires Baseball Club".  Basically you'd send off ten cents and a couple of Hires bottle caps and in return you'd get a book and a "valuable" membership card.  As you can imagine, the majority of these tabs were torn off.  I figure many kids tore them off whether they planned to send them in or not.  After all, the card was what you wanted, not some crummy promotion.  As a result, cards with tab intact like this one demand more of a premium.  The big name Hall of Famers go for hundreds of dollars even without the tab, but if you don't mind getting a lesser-known guy you can find one like I did here for just a hair over the cost of a blaster.

Here's the back, which is just awesome.  You can click this for a better view as well, although the scan makes some of the really small text hard to decipher.  Mail-in form for club membership is on the left (you'd tape your coins to the bottle cap to the right of Hires' address, in fact if you zoom in it actually says "paste dime here" on the cap).  On the right is the back of the actual card.  There aren't any stats, just a paragraph write-up on the player and the basic info.  I really like two elements though, the bottle on the left of the card, and the fact that the card number is listed inside a Hires cap at top right.

This is definitely one of the more unique additions to my Red Sox collection so far in 2013, and it's yet another reminder to myself of how much happier I generally am when I hand pick something rather than spending my money on modern wax.

How about you, are you a fan of root beer?  Birch beer?


Brad's Blog said...

Drank a lot of Hank's root beer growing up, mainly cause my neighbor developed and owned it. Good Root Beer though, not sure if its made it up to Rhode Island


Like you I don't drink much, but with a pizza, give me a Barq's.

I need one of those cards for my sample collection !

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