October 04, 2006

Appreciation: 1987 Kraft Home Plate Heroes

There are a number of great things about these cards, and foodie cards in general. Unlike the Dan-Dee and Red Heart cards that mimicked the 1954 Topps set, foodie cards throughout the ages, from the Post and Kelloggs cards of the Sixties and Seventies to the Kraft, Ralston/Purina, Drake’s Cakes and others of the Eighties and Nineties have all had to dream up their own designs.

These cards were found on the backs of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese boxes. And let me tell you, I made sure to eat a ton of macaroni and cheese while these were on there. And because they were on the backs of boxes, the cards had to fit the packaging. What I’m trying to say is that they were smaller than normal sized cards, more on the scale of 1951 Bowman, if a little fatter. This meant that once you found out you were never going to find the Darryl Strawberry panel you so desperately needed, the cards ended up in a shoebox with all your other cards, and when you were sorting and stacking, there would be funny gaps and spaces (because they were smaller).

Two other fun things about the Home Plate Heroes series: because they were issued on the packaging, you had to cut them out yourself (or have your Mom or Dad or older sibling do it for you). I kind of had a twitch as a kid and bad vision with no depth perception, as well as no coordination—my Wally Joyner card can attest to all of this. The other great thing about this set is that while the Player’s Union licensed it, Major League Baseball did not. So John Tudor and Kent Hrbek were on the Red Team, while Joyner, Brett and Gwynn were on the Bluish/Black Team. It’s a wonder any other team could compete against these two powerhouses.

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