Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Scratch-offs - My Inaugural Post

I don't know how I missed the "call for contributors," but in all the times I visit here, I never looked over there to see it I guess. I have to admit that I was pretty excited when I got the message that my request had been granted! If you don't know me from my own Indians-related card blog, then you are blissfully unaware of my penchant (obsession, maybe?) for oddball cards and gimmicks. What better way to share that than right here on TDTC!?

Of course, the question ran through my head: What should I write about first? I could go with Doug Jones and the infamous 'flaming ball' card that has become something of a running joke with those that have become accustomed to my postings. But, I decided that needed a break.

And then it hit me... Since I am knee-deep in a scratch-off tournament on my site, why not carry that over here? And, so, my first TDTC post became "The Scratch-off."

I have two types in my personal collection that I could locate readily, though there may be others I didn't see while flipping through pages and pages of two 3-inch binders jammed with lovely oddball cards. The first one I want to talk about is the same set that I am using for the tournament: 1993 Leaf Triple Play Action Baseball.

Each card is actually a larger card that has been perforated and folded in half. It's a lot like one of those fold-up greeting cards you or your kid (or spouse) might print on your inkjet. The 'cover' features two teams who will face off in scratch-off action. Luckily for me, Carlos Baerga is featured on Number 18. There are 30 cards in the set, and you can readily pick up complete (or near-complete) sets online for the cheap. The 'back' of the card features the card number and various logos. The cards themselves have a silver finish to them and feature a white border.

On the inside of the card, we find the RULES (3-inning game, each player gets 3 outs, players take turns scratching spaces, etc...) and the 32-spot playing field on the left side. The right inside features a mock-up scoreboard with the team names and a place for would-be players to record outs and runs. Scratch-off spaces uncover plays such as strikeouts, fly outs, groundouts, walks, singles, doubles, triples, home runs, and a few others I think. Alas, there are no 'hit by pitch' spots. These are clean games. The baseball diamond on the right side is where one would place coins to represent the runners. Trust me on this, if you play, use coins to keep track! And, really, you ought to go ahead and actually write in the runs, too. It won't take long before things get confusing... Or they did for me while trying to maintain six games at the same time. On the other hand, it sure has been fun!

Next up, I have several 1981 Topps Scratch-off game cards and here is one example:

Topps opted not to fold the cards, though each card is perforated, should a collector want to separate them. They remind me a lot of the basketball cards Topps was doing back in the day where you got three on one 'card' and then you'd tear them apart to collect the ones you needed. I digress.

The front of each 'section' features the player's photo next to 24 black scratch-off dots. As you can see, these have not been anywhere near a coin. I am torn about that, as I also have a liking for cards in the 'Tipton' condition. The backs of the sections feature different items depending on several factors. The middle card is ALWAYS the scorecard (from what I have seen). The "top" section (when viewed vertically) has the rules. This game is different in that players are to separate the cards into sections in order to build their 9-man batting order. There were/are 108 cards (that is 'sections') in the set. The first player scratches one spot, records the results, then scratches the next batter, etc until the team gets three outs. Then, the other player repeats the process for his/her own cards. I suppose you could play a couple games with each card before running out of space. Unlike the Triple Play cards, though, these games go the full nine innings. I cannot imagine trying to do one of THOSE kinds of tourneys online!

The 'bottom' card features various Topps products for sale. Here, we see the ever-popular "Sports Card Locker." That should be an entry on here by itself, though not a card, still quite the gimmick back in the day. And, yes, I had several as a kid. A quick search on eBay turns up a couple for sale... Man, the nostalgia is kickin in. Must... resist... urge... to... buy... locker....


White Sox Cards said...

David, great first post! It's chock full of insightful info that isn't readily available. Nice job and good topic.

Kevin said...

Great to see you branching out farther into the baseball card blogosphere, David! The scratchoffs that I remember from my earlier collecting days came in packs of 1994 Collector's Choice, one of my favorite sets. They were cool because they had actual lineups for the teams featured: