Nabisco makes some really good stuff.
There is the Oreo Cookie, Ritz Crackers, Chips Ahoy!, and Fig Newtons just to name a few.
Nabisco also made baseball cards. I know a lot of collectors don't like the off-brand food cards from the 1990s for the same reasons that they do not like the current run of Panini cards. The logos are airbrushed out on the players uniforms.
I generally agree, but it's Nabisco. I put them ahead of Panini because of their delicious snack foods, but they also they also make a much better baseball card. Nabisco has come up with some quality cards in the past. Logos or not, the 1993 All-Star Legends autograph set has a really strong checklist. Honestly, I don't care that Don Drysdale doesn't have a Dodgers logo. I don't care that they made the Dodger blue a little darker. This is a great card.
Well, in my quest to find some cards of former Durham Bulls players this summer, I ran across several who appeared in a Nabisco set from Canada. The set is called Nabisco Tradition. No word on whether Fleer ripped off the name from Nabisco later in the 1990s when they rebranded their base set. I am a little unclear on all the details behind the product, but there are a total of 36 cards in the set that is divided evenly between Expos and Blue Jays players. All of the cards featured players from previous Expos and Blue Jays teams, no current members of the teams were included.
As far as the Durham Bulls cards that I picked up, there were three cards in all. Each a name the average baseball fan from the 1970s and 1980s would recognize. The two appeared for the Bulls in the 1960s, the other in 1970.
Let's look at the cards.
The lone Blue Jay in my trio will be first.
Cliff Johnson was on the Blue Jays at the end of his career, which was in the mid 1980s. I remember getting his cards as a kid. Always on the Blue Jays, maybe a Rangers card or two in there too. He appeared on the Durham Bulls while the team was in their weird late 1960s/early 1970s phase. By weird, I mean Cliff Johnson actually played for the Raleigh-Durham Triangles.
I like that there is an explanation of the Expos logo.
Staub appeared for the Durham Bulls in 1962 after the Houston Astros drafted him out of high school. He was the Carolina League MVP that season. The Bulls had Joe Morgan pass through town the following season, and the team retired his jersey. Wish the team would do something similar for Staub. At least give him a bobblehead.
This is the part of the post where I advertise something.
Do you like podcasts?
I like baseball podcasts, started listening to them about two years ago. One of my favorites is Baseball Beyond Batting Average. Basically, it's two knowledgable baseball fans talking about all things baseball with a heavy lean on numbers. If you don't like statistics, you're a big fan of the game-winning RBI, it's probably not going to be your cup of tea.
Even if you don't decide to listen to the podcast, the two guys who make the Podcast have great baseball card related accounts on Twitter. One is Baseball Card Backs and the other is IDrawBaseballCards.
The last episode of Baseball Beyond Batting Average was all about underrated players from the 1970s. They did a great job of picking out two players at each position who need a little more appreciation for their career numbers. They won me over at Gene Tenace, but Ken Singleton also came up as one of those players. I completely agree, more people should pay attention to Ken Singleton. Not sure you could convince me he's a Hall of Famer, but he's at worst in the Hall of Very Good Players. Maybe if he were playing today, with the heavier slant on advanced stats, more people would appreciate him.
Singleton briefly played for the Durham Bulls. (Checks notes)
Singleton briefly played for the Raleigh-Durham Mets.
He also had three great years playing with the Expos in the early 1970s. Singleton was originally on the Mets, but was traded to Montreal for Rusty Staub early in his career. Apparently he set the team RBI record in 1973. You learn something new everyday.
The back would be better if they had included a fact that had something to do with Ken Singleton. He was not on the Expos in 1978, so he did not hit one of the 8 home runs against the Braves during that game. If Nabisco can come up with a Cliff Johnson specific highlight, they can come up with something for Ken Singleton.
More 1970s Durham Bulls next week.