Today, for the first time in a while, I actually had a couple of hours free on a weekday afternoon when the local hobby shop was open. I hadn't been in at least a couple of months, so it was nice to catch up with the owner and scavenge around a bit. As always seems to be the case, I got some really great stuff without spending much money ($20 on myself, $20 on cards I'll be sending to folks I trade with).
The owner, John, always has a really good selection of current wax in both pack and box form, but I was pleased to see this time that he had quite an array of discounted older packs available. Let's look at a pack of 1995 Topps Bazooka that I grabbed...
Yes, the green price tag is accurate, and this post cost me a total of 25 cents to complete. You may notice that the pack didn't scan all that well. Well, it's a little bit bulged shall we say. The reason? It actually comes with bubble gum!
Nice. Your standard 5-cent Bazooka bubble gum that I recall fondly from back in the day. What has 20 years done to this gum, and did I try eating it?
I was considering taking one for the team and trying the gum so I could describe it for you, but when this thing came spilling out of the wrapper that plan went out the window. I figured the gum was largely sugar and preservatives and might at least look close to its original state, but the years have not been kind. There are shades of brown and dark purple in there that are downright scary. I didn't even want to smell it because I felt like something would transfer into my airways through my nose.
Had I eaten this, I'm thinking overnight hospital stay at a minimum. I have a feeling my health insurance company may refuse to cover any of the many tests I'd undoubtedly need if they discovered the root cause was a 32-year-old white male knowingly and willingly ingesting a piece of Bazooka gum that was packaged up when he was 12.
Of course the gum came with a comic, which I have to say was pretty weak. I don't think there's any age where I would have been even mildly amused by this flimsy attempt at humor. Also, this sat right inside the wrapper with that gum for two decades, I feel like it's contaminated. Unlike the gum it's not in the trash yet, but I feel like it's headed there soon.
Enough about all of that, how about the actual cards?
Well, the first one I laid eyes on was Roger Clemens. A new Red Sox card, I think this purchase was meant to be! I would have paid $1 for the pack just for the amusement factor of the nasty gum and this Clemens alone, so for a quarter this was a definite win. Anything else is icing on the cake at this point.
The back of the cards are a colorful disaster. They're meant to be used in a game that you could play with a friend. When I was a kid "Play Ball" meant taking an actual bat, ball and gloves outside and finding the biggest stretch of open space you could. Times have changed.
Here's the little cardboard cutout you need to play, and a list of "basic rules" that seems unnecessarily long. The "basic rules" title is a little odd, and it makes me wonder whether there's a more advanced set of rules available out there for the real nerds? I tried reading this, but made it no further than the pink section. It looks bad enough to many people I'm sure that I collect baseball cards as it is, if a grown adult starts playing a baseball card themed game using cheap cardboard punch-outs, at home, alone
, on a Thursday night, that's just crossing a line I'm not sure I'm ready to cross.
The design of the cards is pretty basic and minimal. There's a definite emphasis on the position, but that's because I think you're supposed to assemble a team of guys at each position for the game.
The checklist is short, looks like 132 cards. I don't think I'll be trying to complete this set, so I'd be happy to trade away any of the cards other than Clemens in this post. Brian, would be happy to ship this one in a PWE if you need it?
The Expos team colors are pretty much an exact match for the Bazooka gum colors. It's really noticeable on this one since the logos are right next to each other.
Some good star power to end the pack with Mike Piazza. I like the photograph on this one as well.
Like I said, I'd call that a definite win for a quarter. I grabbed maybe 5 or 6 more of these to bulk up my unopened pack shelf a bit. Not for everyone, but I think they're a fun concept. Though it was inedible, there's something about getting gum with your baseball cards that just feels right.