It was enough to make youngsters do a double take. What happened to the 3D look? The 1973 Kellogg’s baseball card set, a two-dimensional release, was the lone exception to their standard issues produced from 1970 to 1983. These cards were available to collectors via a mail-in offer.
Kellogg’s switched things up in 1973 with the primary change being the abandonment of the 3D look and feel. That year, Kellogg’s produced ‘regular’ baseball cards printed on cardboard and without the 3D effect. Apparently, the company didn’t think it was a huge success as they went back to the three-dimensional look in 1974, keeping that popular feature until the end of the series in 1983 before its return in the 1990s.
One nice thing about the lack of the 3D feature is that these cards don’t have the usual ‘cracking’, which is a common condition problem for the other sets. Printed on regular cardboard, it’s easier to keep these cards in better shape.
The cards’ size also was a change from the 1972 set when Kellogg’s experimented with a smaller size but for ’73, the company reverted back to the larger 2 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ cards. Each card featured a player image on the front with the text “1973 Pro Super Stars” at the top. The cards had a red background, white border, and the player’s last name was at at the bottom. One element that remained from previous years was the facsimile signature across the player’s image. Black and white backs included standard statistical and biographical information to go along with a small player image, team logo, and Major League Baseball logo.
Two complete sets were printed on each printing sheet.
Finally, Kellogg’s went back to producing only a single set. In 1972, the company produced a standard set featuring current players as well as an All-Time Greats set of legendary stars. 1973 focused only on current players. The 54 cards printed in the 1973 set was also the same as the previous year.
Where Are The Variations In the 1973 Kellogg’s Set?
One of the significant changes in the 1973 set from the prior season’s edition is that it didn’t include variations. The 1972 set of 54 cards contained no fewer than 20 cards with typographical and statistical errors. More than 1/3 of the set included corrected versions of those mistakes and while the variations can be fun for collectors to track down, the product was a sloppy one.
That changed dramatically in 1973. Either the proofreading improved greatly or the company simply didn’t bother to fix any errors. We might never know which statement is more accurate, but the lack of variations makes it easier on collectors wanting to piece together an entire set.
Kellogg’s offered its usual collection of Major League stars in the issue. While Mike Schmidt and Goose Gossage (two Hall of Famers that had their first mainstream Topps cards in the 1973 set) don’t appear, there are plenty of big names. The most significant might be Nolan Ryan, who made his Kellogg’s debut in 1973 as a budding star in the majors and it’s an early card of his in general.
Also there are Pete Rose, Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Willie Stargell, Fergie Jenkins, Joe Morgan, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver, Rod Carew, Al Kaline, and many others.
Building a high quality 1973 Kellogg’s set–even a graded one–is among the less expensive projects you can tackle. A whopping 90 percent of all cards submitted for grading have been rated either 9 or 10. PSA alone has graded about 10,000 9s and 10s, which leaves plenty on the secondary market for collectors to gobble up, often for not much more than the grading fee. Only Bill Stoneman’s card is even remotely challenging to locate at the highest grades.
The set remains an affordable one for collectors despite its age. Commons can be found in the $1-$2 range and while stars fetch a bit more, most are relatively inexpensive. The most expensive card is generally the Ryan and even in high grade, that is usually available in the $20-$25 range. Set collectors will be better off by purchasing a full high-grade raw set. You can find them here for around $50-$100, sometimes less.
Kellogg’s sent complete sets in rectangular packaging and often the cards remained unseparated. It’s also worth noting that while these are mostly found individually today, they can also be found in that panel form. These sell for a premium, depending on the players included, and can be in panels of two or three cards. An entire set consisting of almost entirely unseparated panels recently sold for just under $100.