1992 Kellogg’s All-Stars: the last (to date) Kellogg’s cereal set in the USA
It was almost enough to make me swear off of Frosted Flakes forever…almost.
As a twelve-year-old in the summer of 1970 I was just about at the peak of my childhood baseball card interest. We had lived in our new home city for about a year, and I had made several new card trading buddies. The Topps cards were easy to get (but the gray-bordered cards seemed boring compared to the colorful 1969 set), and my friends and I all made sure we got a complete set of each series as it was released at the neighborhood 7-11. We really wanted a new challenge…a better card…and we were given it with our breakfasts!
The Kellogg’s Cereal Company made their first venture into the baseball card producing game that summer. The cards were individually inserted one per specially marked boxes of Kellogg’s cereal, and suddenly my mother (and the mothers of my friends) were hearing the virtues of Kellogg’s above all other brands. The card design used a brilliant color photo of the player (especially compared to the Topps cards of that season), which was set against an indistinct background. The entire production was then covered with a layer of plastic to simulate a 3-D look.
In a marked (and futile) attempt to build the entire 75-card set the guys in my group took to asking for cereal at lunch time. We begged our siblings to eat more of the sugary concoctions. I even bribed an elderly neighbor by mowing her lawn if she would eat that brand and give me the cards! Alas, none of us ever finished that set in childhood, and the specially marked boxes were too soon off the shelves.
Twenty-two years later, the cereal behemoth produced what has been, to date, its last set of baseball cards in the United States. (A three-card set honoring the great Roberto Clemente was released in Puerto Rico in 1994.) In 1992 Kellogg’s created a 10-card “All Star” set of retired stars, with one card inserted in specially marked boxes of Corn Flakes, and complete sets available by mail. The cards, produced by Sportflics (actually, Optigraphics Corp. of Grand Prairie, TX), featured two sequential action images on each front. Red, white and blue designs colored each card border, with yellow banners above and beneath the photo. The card back has a black-and-white portrait photo, plus a summary of the player’s career (teams and years he played for those teams), awards, and career highlights. The card backs also carry the logos of the cereal company, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni and Sportflics.
Kellogg’s put together a pretty nice line-up for the set, with only Madlock and Quisenberry being non-Hall of Fame ballplayers. The list of ten is
#1 Willie Stargell
#2 Tony Perez
#3 Jim Palmer
#4 Rod Carew
#5 Tom Seaver
#6 Phil Niekro
#7 Bill Madlock
#8 Jim Rice
#9 Dan Quisenberry
#10 Mike Schmidt
All of this came to mind recently when, in a collection, we came across a complete and unopened set of the 1992 cards that someone had obviously ordered by mail. That set was produced more than two decades after my corn cereal eating frenzy, but just seeing the set made my mouth remember the tastes and crunches. On reflection, they were grrreat!
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