Teddy Ballgame has become Teddy Ballcard.
This month, the first issue of the Ted Williams Ballcard Co. goes on sale. And the focus is on the past.
The 200-card set features former major-leaguers, stars of the Negro Leagues, four members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and two current players. Juan Gonzalez and Jeff Bagwell are the active players featured in a 10-card subset with Williams' comments on the backs.
There are regionalized insert sets featuring the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers, 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1975 Cincinnati Reds. Other insert sets honor Roberto Clemente and Brooks Robinson and nine players of the past painted by major-leaguer-turned-artist Gene Locklear.
Besides honoring players of the past with his cards, Williams hopes fans of a different generation come to know these players.
"I'm especially proud that through the Barrier Breakers subset we can pay tribute to the greats of the Negro Leagues who got their deserved chance at playing in the major leagues as well as educating the young fans about players who I feel are the greatest hitters ever to play the game," says Williams in a statement.
"What Ted wants to do is to recognize guys . . . who didn't get a lot of notoriety," says spokesman Tom Cosentino.
Cards come in packs of 12 with two POGs, or milk bottle cap covers, in each pack instead of bubble gum. The POGs feature top hitters from the major leagues and Negro Leagues and reproductions of signatures of former players.
Cosentino says there is a reason there are no factory sets. It's another throwback.
"If you want a set, you'll have to trade," he says.
Before the NFL season is half old, SkyBox will begin mailing its 20-card Impact update set that shows top players in their new uniforms. Among the players in the set are Pat Swilling, Reggie White, Wilber Marshall, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Boomer Esiason and Gary Clark. Send five Impact wrappers and $3.99 for shipping to SkyBox Impact Update Set, P.O. Box 588, Church Hill, Md. 21690.
Two six-card subsets commemorating the careers of Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki expand Action Packed Racing III to a 51-card set. "We felt that one commemorative card was not sufficient to honor the careers of these two great drivers, so we created this special set that shows the drivers on the track and off," says Action Packed Racing president Tom Cotteleer.
Starting Lineup club
Collectors of Kenner's Starting Lineup figurines may join a club offered by the manufacturer. Dues are $7.99 per year, and members receive a quarterly newsletter and the opportunity to buy special-edition figurines. For an application, write to Starting Lineup, P.O. Box 1205, Ridgley, Md. 21681.
Fun and games
Classic Games' latest offering is a four-sport draft pick set of milk caps. Milk caps are a popular collectible in Hawaii. Classic is JTC marketing its caps as game pieces (rules included) called TONX. The set includes 47 TONX and is not a milk-cap version of the 1992 four-sport draft pick set. Players include NBA top picks Chris Webber (1993) and Shaquille O'Neal (1992), NFL top pick Drew Bledsoe, IHL goalie Manon Rheaume and 1992 baseball top pick Phil Nevin.
Saturday-Sunday, card show, Towson Marketplace (expected signer Saturday is Jack Voigt), Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m., (410) 337-6935 or (410) 837-0870.
Sunday, card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.
Sunday, card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.