Saturday, December 5, 2009

1979 Topps Burger King Phillies

I recently acquired the 1979 Topps Burger King Phillies set. This was a 22-card set, plus a checklist card which was available from Philadelphia area Burger King stores. You got 3 cards with a purchase of french fries. I already had the 1980 Burger King set. The cards feature the same poses as on the regular Topps set and the backs are identical to the regular set with the exception of the numbering. What is interesting is, unlike the 1980 set which features the Burger King logo on the back and no Topps logo, the 1979 set has the Topps logo on the front and no Burger King reference at all. The checklist card is the only indication that the set is from Burger King. I'm not going to show the entire set, just the cards which are different from the regular Topps Set.
Danny Ozark #1 - In 1979, Topps didn't have manager cards. There was a very small head shot of the manager on the team checklist card. The back of this card features Danny's managerial stats all the way back to his minor league managing days in 1956!
Nino Espinosa #11. Nino was 14-12 for the 1979 Phillies. He was traded by the Mets to the Phillies in March of 1979. He is featured as a Met in the regular Topps set.
Doug Bird #12. Bird was acquired in a trade with the Royals in April 1979. This is his only Phillies card. He was 2-0 in 32 games for the Phillies in 1979 and the Phillies released him in April 1980. Bearded baseball players were pretty rare in 1979 and he's got a wild one.
Pete Rose #13. The Phillies signed Rose as a free agent in December 1978. He was supposed to lead the Phillies to the World Series after three straight years of being knocked out in the NLCS. The Phillies didn't even make the playoffs in 1979 but of course won the World Series in 1980, thanks in a large part to Rose's leadership and play. This is his only Phillies card from 1979 as he is shown with the Reds on his Topps card.
Manny Trillo #14. The Phillies got Manny in a trade with the Cubs in March of 1979. He was another key member of that 1980 World Series team. This is his only 1979 Phillies card.
Pete Mackanin #17. He is a curious choice for this set. The Phillies selected him off waivers from the Expos in early September 1978 and he played 5 games for the Phillies in 1978. He appeared in only 13 games in 1979 before being traded to the Twins in December. This is his only 1979 card. He would be one for my Phorgotten Phillie Phile.
Greg Gross #22. Gross was acquired by the Phillies in the Manny Trillo deal. This is his only 1979 Phillies card. He hit .333 as a regular player for the Phillies in 1979 but only hit .240 in 1980. He was 3-4 in the 1980 NLCS.


Anonymous said...

That Pete Rose card appears to be the predecessor to the Topps rage of variations thirty years later. After seeing that card it makes me want to go out and buy it.

night owl said...

These were the "updates & highlights" sets of their time. We loved these as kids. But they were so hard to find.

deal said...

Thanks for posting these - 1979 Topps is the only complete set I have in the collection, it would be nice to have the extra Phils now.

Johnny Ace said...

For the 1980 set, I actually have the plastic sign that used to hang in the BK restaurants to advertise the set.

Anybody have any idea of the rarity of that item? There's a lot of cards around, but I've never seen the advertising sign show up anywhere.

capewood said...

Johnny, thanks for the comment. I don't really care for Burger King and have probably been inside one less than 10 times in my entire life. I only knew about the 1980 set because I saw it at a flea market in the late 1980s. So I've never seen the sign. Since these cards were only available in the immediate Philadelphia area I'd have to guess there weren't many of them made. 100? 200? No luck on eBay or Google images. Have you got a picture you can share?