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1979 Baseball Cards

By Patrick Mondout

Topps produced a set of baseball comics as wrappers for one of their gum products in 1979 as well as a pair of sets for Burger King:

1979 Cards at a Glance
Hostess released their last set of cards (until 1993) in 1979. A checklist for this set is here.
A brief description and checklist of the Kellogg's 3D cards is here.
O-Pee-Chee released a 374 card Canadian subset of Topps 726 card set. As it was printed later than the latter, they were able to include some updated rosters (notice the typed transaction on Pete Rose's right leg on the left). The cards are virtually identical to the Topps issue but are printed on white card stock with the O-Pee-Chee logo and both French and English on the back. OPC seems to have always had issues cutting cards properly and you will often find their cards with ragged borders even from unopened packs. 
One of the first of the team-issued police sets, the San Francisco Giants set also earns points for the attractive photography. Such sets were meant to be given out by police officers to kids in an effort to build a positive relationship between them.
TCMA expanded its selection of minor league team sets in 1979. The key set is the Ogden A's with the 2nd card of Rickey Henderson (there's actually a rarer-than-moonrocks 1977 A-ball set with the timeless base-stealer). Other minor league sets included the Memphis Chicks (Tim Raines), Albuquerque Dukes (Pedro Guerrero, Dave Stewart), Jackson Mets (Jody Davis, Hubie Brooks, Wally Backman), Lodi Dodgers (Mike Marshall), West Haven Yankees (Dave Righetti and Willie McGee), Toledo Mud Hens (Gary Ward), Savannah Braves (Steve Bedrosian) Syracuse Chiefs (Danny Ainge and Willie Upshaw) and the Tidewater Tides (Jesse Orosco, Mike Scott, Jeff Reardon, and Mookie Wilson).
In addition to the minor league sets and a few old-timer cards, TCMA released the first-ever U.S.-printed set of Japan pro baseball cards (including home run king Sadaharu Oh). 
Bump Wills as both Rangers and Blue Jays
Topps misidentified Maury Wills' son Bump Wills as a Blue Jay in the first printing (see left). This was corrected in later printings. Read more about '79 Topps here.
Topps Comics: A set of 33 3'' x 3.25'' fold-out baseball comics, which were actually wrappers for Bazooka gum. They had a limited regional distribution in wax boxes (72 count/$.05 per piece of gum) and they are considered a test issue. Each comic had a head shot and an action shot of the player along with a brief fact about the player and an "Inside Baseball" feature briefly detailing the rules of the game. Speculators tried to hoard these in one of the first such attempts in hobby history but got burned when it turned out that no one was all that interested in the set.
For the third consecutive season, Topps printed team sets of 22 cards for Burger King. Read more about these sets here.


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Image courtesy of Topps

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