You are on page 1of 2

Page 1


Newsday (New York)

September 16, 1989, Saturday, NASSAU AND SUFFOLK EDITION

It's Equal Billing For Griffey Family

BYLINE: Norm Cohen


Other Edition: City Pg. 31

LENGTH: 748 words

At last there's an answer to the trivia question of the future: When was the first time that a father and a son
were pictured separately as active players in the same baseball card set?

The 1989 Topps Traded set became the answer this week as boxes containing Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken
Griffey Jr. began rolling in from Topps' satellite plant in Ireland.

Card No. 40 shows Ken Griffey of the Reds with a bat resting on his left shoulder. No. 41 is Ken Jr. of the
Mariners striking a similar pose. There is no gimmickry involved; not even a mention on either card that the
two players are related.

If any of the five manufacturers of baseball cards had been more attentive, the father-son question might
have been resolved in January.

Donruss, Fleer, Score and Upper Deck included Ken Jr., an unproven talent who wasn't supposed to make
the majors this season, in their regular sets. But they chose to exclude Ken Sr., a 39-year-old first baseman
who had 243 at-bats for the Braves and Reds in 1988. Any number of fringe players who wouldn't have been
missed could have been dropped in favor of the elder Griffey.

At least Topps, which has always been conservative in its player selection, was consistent. It included
neither Griffey in its regular set.

Upper Deck had the first opportunity to pick up on the father-son combination. Shortly after its first 700 cards
were released, the Anaheim, Calif., company announced plans for an additional 100-card series. With Ken
Jr. already accounted for in the innovative set, hobbyists just assumed Ken Sr. would be in the high-number
series. But Upper Deck bobbled the ball.

"We completely overlooked the significance of it," vice president of marketing Don Bodow said. "It was such
a natural. I guess we just blew it."

Both Griffeys appeared in Topps' midseason Bowman set, but the elder Ken was treated differently from the
other active players. His card was in a horizontal television screen format that also included a picture of his
son. Similar contrived cards were made for major league coaches Sandy Alomar, Mel Stottlemyre and Cal
Ripken, all of whom have two sons playing professional ball.

Relatively speaking, the card companies have exploited genetic ties among ballplayers for years. Brothers
Eddie and Johnny O'Brien both played for the Pirates during the early '50s, and Topps put them on the same
card in its 1954 set. More recently, Topps has done a number of subsets that featured active players whose
dads had played major-league ball. Some of those father-and-son card combinations include Tito and Terry
Francona, Ray and Bob Boone, the two Ozzie Virgils, Yogi and Dale Berra, Vernon and Vance Law, and
Page 2
It's Equal Billing For Griffey Family Newsday (New York) September 16, 1989, Saturday, NASSAU AND

Dizzy and Steve Trout.

The inside trader

Starting Lineup statuettes of Eric Dickerson could become a very hot item in the weeks to come. The Colts
running back has filed a suit against Kenner Products, maker of the sports statue series, claiming that the
toys bearing his likeness were produced without his permission. Kenner has licensing agreements with the
National Football League and the NFL Players Association, but Dickerson is not a member of the NFLPA.

If Dickerson wins the suit - or if Kenner decides to cease production of the Dickerson statue on its own -
collectors will be clamoring for the plastic replica.

Looking for Dickerson football cards? He appears in the Topps set, but you won't find him in Pro Set or
Score. "Since he's not a member of the players association, we'd have to negotiate with him separately,"
Score spokesman George Martin said. "After talking to the Pro Set people in Dallas, we both agreed that he
wasn't worth pursuing."

Bad faith

Beware of dealers who try to renege on delivering prepaid Upper Deck sets by claiming that the
manufacturer returned their checks or cut back their allotment.

"The only checks that this company has sent to hobby dealers are interest checks," Bodow said. "We're
estimating that cases of sets will be completely, totally delivered within two weeks. There has been no delay
and no cutbacks."

It is possible that those who claimed that Upper Deck returned their checks may be letting greed get the
better of them. Upper Deck sets are presently selling in the $ 80 range - almost double what many dealers
charged for prepaid orders.

"If a dealer tells you that, I'd ask to see a photocopy of the refund check or a letter from Upper Deck," Bodow
said. "Every hobby dealer is getting 100 percent of their case orders."







GRAPHIC: Photos-1-2) The Griffeys are the first active father-son combo featured separately in the same
card set

Copyright 1989 Newsday LLC

You might also like