Sunkist Wacky Players Trading Cards – Baseball (1990)

It’s funny how things come back around to you sometimes.  I used to have a different blog attached to Jimmy Jone, and I was thinking about how I should start moving some old posts over here if I want to preserve them.  So I thought I’d start with my Sunkist “Wacky Players” trading cards.  Lo and behold, the first post I made about those was August 22, 2010.  (It’s August 21, 2015, as I write this, but I like to schedule posts.)  I present to you, unedited, that post from yesteryear (okay, I did take out some dead links and replace where I could, but, you know, whatever).  Marvel at my now-dated references! (P.S. 5 years ago, I made a joke about osteoporosis; now I have it! Kinda makes you think.)

It seems that when I was younger, kids’ foods were far less connected with the popular kids’ media of the day. Not every product was tied to some highly recognizable pop culture character. Sure, it happened on a fairly regular basis back then–Batman breakfast cereal, Ninja Turtles pudding pies, and Mickey Mouse freezer pops, to name a few. But there seems to be much less room, or effort, these days for food companies to try out new characters for their kids’ products. Instead, they’ll go for the more recognizable characters from television and movies–Incredible Hulk green-colored Hershey’s chocolate syrup, Spongebob Cheez-it crackers, Shrek…shoot, Shrek everything, it seems.

One of the smaller side effects is that there’s a growing attrition rate among existing food characters. Wendell, of Cinnamon Toast Crunch fame, lost his pals Bob and Quello/Quienno over a decade ago; BJ of Kids’ Cuisine hasn’t seen his polar bear pal The Chef for quite some time now; the Cookie Crook and Officer Crumb abandoned the Chip the Cookie Hound, who later gave up being a dog and turned into a wolf; Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy have gone the way of the dinosaur; and when’s the last time you saw Rolluppo, the Fruit Roll-Ups Wizard? And don’t get me started with the Squeezits characters.

A larger effect is that there are very few successful attempts at new and original characters for kids’ food products. Okay, there was that weird Crazy Craving rat-thing for Honeycomb, but that’s all I can think of at the moment (what was that thing, anyway?). My point is, I find myself longing for the days of the Sunkist Wacky Players fruit snacks, days when wholly new and unheard-of characters got their own trading cards, one per box. This was in 1990.

There were three versions of the Sunkist Wacky Players: baseball, football, and basketball. Each featured shaped fruit snacks of a number of zany characters. The baseball cards were drawn by MAD magazine artist Mort Drucker. A representative for Mort Drucker emailed me and told me that I had to say that the images are copyright Mort Drucker. I believe I’ll have to disagree: The cards themselves say Copyright 1990 Sunkist Growers Inc. I’m going to go with that.

baseball01

Lumpy the Ump is in bad need of glasses. That runner is obviously safe on base. Why are you calling him out, Lumpy? Oh, wait, now that I look at it closely, Lumpy appears to be having a heart attack. His mind is on other things.

baseball02

Homerun Harold has just learned that he has been cuckolded by Batboy Billy, and has chosen a larger phallic object to exact his revenge.

baseball03

You have to wonder how effective your facemask is when your eyeballs stick out of it by about 5 inches.

baseball04

The mustache should give it away: Wally has been playing baseball since the National League started in 1876. His hunched-over stance is the result of unchecked osteoporosis.

baseball05

Sneaky Pete, you can’t fool me. You’re Joey Gladstone! Put down those packages of cocaine and go home. Michelle needs to be tucked in.

baseball06

Micky Megaphone just had a stroke. Hey, maybe you can share a hospital room with Lumpy!

baseball07

I’m not entirely sure how that arm connects to that body.

baseball08

Burying those you have killed under your pitcher’s mound is the baseball equivalent of a throne made of skulls. I’m scared of Fireball Phil.

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