How do you get a license to produce baseball cards without getting a licence to produce baseball cards? Get a licence to produce a tabletop game... that's composed of baseball cards. That's what Game Time did with their Classic Baseball game during the explosion of interest in baseball cards during the late 80s.
The first Classic cards were produced in 1987. 100 cards were shipped with the game and the company then sold expansion packs containing more cards. Tony had a card in the original set, which I blogged about here.
Classic released two more expansion sets in 1988, and the cards were sequentially numbered on from the original game.
Card Number 698: Classic Baseball (blue expansion set), 1988; #220
Game Time carried on producing expansion sets each year for a few years into the early 90s. Having a limited checklist meant that only a few players from each team featured. However, Tony had a card in the 1990 set as well.
Card Number 699: Classic Baseball, 1990; #17
The three expansion packs released by Game Time in 1990 were different sizes - 150 cards, 99 cards, and 50 cards respectively. This card is from the first set released. Tony's brother, Chris Gwynn, was also in this set of cards.
The Lou Brock Award is still given out every year. I have to admit, I hadn't heard of it. Vince Coleman won it six times in a row in the 1980s. No wonder he was labelled "the thief" on a baseball card.
Given the restrictive monopoly on licenses for baseball cards at the moment, I'm surprised nobody has used a similar loophole to produce baseball cards that are ostensibly part of a game. That could be a way for another company to produce baseball cards that aren't really baseball cards.
In terms of this blog, I am tantalisingly close to blogging my 700th Tony Gwynn card. However, I am taking some much-needed time out next week. I'm also planning to watch some more games in the UEFA European Championships (which is another reason my blogging has been erratic of late!)
I will be back blogging in early July to reveal card number 700 and also the few remaining cards in my yet-to-be-blogged folder. See you next month!
Total: 699 cards