One of the cool things about collecting cards is finding something shiny that leads you down a new path. I was scanning eBay listings and saw a glitch in my matrix, a Fred Lynn card that was unlike any other I’d seen:
It wasn’t the #622 Fred Lynn rookie card photo I was used to (which just looks wrong):
It shouldn’t have shown up in my search, but it was mislabeled (lucky me). It was part of the 1982 Kmart 20th Anniversary AL & NL MVP’s Baseball Picture Cards Bubble Gum Collector’s Series.
Kmart box front
This set was co-branded with Topps – marked as a limited edition. Limited is ironic, I found hundreds plus a lot of unopened packs. Turns out the set was a precursor to the mass overproduction of the 90s. Awesome! Time for a vintage pack break that I could afford.
What I like about this set:
- an actual complete rookie card photo of Fred Lynn that fixes a flaw in 1975 card history – and even future reprints don’t have this view
- includes one of (if not) the first 1975 tribute cards
- it’s cheap… you can get a set for less than 5 bucks including shipping – there’s your blue light special
- the experience of opening a pack of 44 “vintage” cards (complete with a stale stick of gum)
Back of box checklist
The 1975 Topps set is my favorite, but I’m not a fan of the shared four player rookie cards. The three rookies per card format in 1973 was pretty good, and then for some reason Topps started cramming in four tiny faces on a card in 1974. So this Lynn card rights that wrong and on its own made it worth getting the set. The only other ’75 reprint in the set is Joe Morgan:
Update: After I wrote this I found another blog post about this card from a while back