Bazooka had a long run in the baseball card business. From 1959 through the 1971 season, the bubble gum maker tried to boost sales of its boxes through the use of cards. They were actually just pictures you could cut into panels or individual cards with no statistics on the back. Compared to Topps, they were printed in much, much smaller quantities and are still popular with collectors today. The 1969-70 Bazooka set used a different format, one that highlighted great moments and great players from the first half of the century. While many names may have been unfamiliar to kids, the cards were quite the history lesson.
The set was printed on Bazooka boxes during 1969 and 1970, stopping the one-per-year tradition that had been in place since the 1959 launch. The backs of each ‘Extra’ box that contained the familiar individually wrapped bubble gum packs offered a dozen different center panels measuring 3 x 6 1/4 inches and showing events from baseball’s past. The center panels, numbered 1 through 12, were flanked by black and gold head shots of some all-time greats from the 1890s to the 1940s. The all-time greats were printed vertically, with two on each side panel of every specially marked Bazooka box.
hose portraits were actually repeat photos from the 1963 Bazooka All-Time Greats set of 41, which were inserted in the packages and were not on the outside of the box. Only portraits of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on the 1969-70 set are different from those in the 1963 set.
A total of 30 different players are featured on the side panels of the Baseball Extra set. 18 appear on two boxes, the rest on one. Babe Ruth highlights dominate the set.
In 1971, Bazooka went back to the current player format for a 12-panel set that would be its last in this format.
Complete 1969-70 Bazooka baseball boxes are worth significantly more than individual panels or cut cards. If you took the gum out and carefully flattened the box by folding it, you earn plaudits from today’s collectors. A full set will cost $275-350. Complete individual panels in ungraded, near mint type condition often sell for less than $30.
Here’s the checklist for 1969-70 Bazooka baseball:
1. No-Hit Duel by Toney & Vaughn
2. Alexander Conquers Yanks
3. Yanks’ Lazzeri Sets AL Record
4. HR Almost out of Stadium
5. Four Consecutive Homers by Lou
6. No-Hit Game by Walter Johnson
7. Twelve RBIs by Bottomley
8. Ty Ties Record
9. Babe Ruth Hits 3 HRs in Game
10. Calls Shot in Series Game
11. Ruth’s 60th HR Sets New Record
12. Double Shutout by Ed Ruelbach