Kellogg’s continued its ongoing baseball card promotion for a ninth straight year with the 1978 release. The 1978 Kellogg’s set not only contained the usual collection of stars, but also a key rookie card of a Hall of Fame player.
The 1978 Kellogg’s 3-D baseball card set was similar to other 1970s releases from the company. The quirky but familiar 2 1/8″ x 3 1/4″ size returned as did the three dimensional feature. Fronts again included a color photograph, facsimile signature, and the player’s last name and position. Backs had the usual information, including statistics and biographical information. In all, the set contained 57 cards as in some previous years.
One slight change can be found, however. For the first time, Kellogg’s put its own logo on the front at the top to accompany the ‘3-D Super Stars’ header. If you want to apply a 21st century term to it, I guess you’d call it “branding.”
Cards were available in two different ways. Collectors could find one wrapped in a paper package inside packages of Kellogg’s cereals or could secure a full set via a special mail offer that required box tops (pre-UPC days, remember?) and a couple of bucks.
Most of the Kellogg’s releases didn’t include significant rookie cards. The sets typically focused on star players that were already established and with a limited chec klist, it just made sense to not take up space by taking chances on unknowns. 1978 was an exception, however. The set included a rookie card of Hall of Famer Eddie Murray. While Murray’s 1978 Topps card is his more recognizable first-year card, his 1978 Kellogg’s set is certainly rarer and an interesting oddball rookie card.
Including Murray wasn’t a very tough decision, though. In 1977, he burst onto the scene with 27 home runs and 88 runs batted in. His .283 batting average propelled him to the Rookie of the Year award and by 1978, he was on his way to becoming a household name. With Brooks Robinson fading from the picture and Cal Ripken still a few years away, Murray was one of the Orioles’ major stars.
While Murray’s rookie card is a nice bonus, Kellogg’s missed out on other potential rookie cards, including Alan Trammell, Paul Molitor, Lou Whitaker, and Jack Morris – all of whom made their debuts in the 1978 Topps set but weren’t established at the time of production.
The Murray card is a great addition, but as other Kellogg’s issues did, the 1978 set relied on a heavy dose of stars to keep fan interest. Key stars in the set included hurler Nolan Ryan, Mike Schmidt, George Brett, and Reggie Jackson. They Ryan card is particularly significant since it was his first Kellogg’s card in several years – he last appeared in the 1975 release.
In addition, there are plenty of other big names here including Hall of Famers Steve Carlton, Lou Brock, Dave Winfield, Willie McCovey, Tom Seaver, Rod Carew, Thurman Munson, and others.
There are plenty of players that could have been included, but the most shocking omission is that of Pete Rose. Rose had been in every single Kellogg’s sets since they began making the sets in 1970 and it is surprising that he is not included here. He was, after all, still very much a capable player, making another All-Star team while batting .311 in 1977.
1978 Kellogg’s Prices
Even with the Murray rookie, the 1978 Kellogg’s set is a little more affordable than the company’s other issues from earlier in the 1970s. The Murray is easily the key card and you can find copies of his in between $10-$20 on eBay. Decent copies of the other key cards, Ryan, Schmidt, Brett, and Jackson are generally found for a little less.
Complete sets often sell in the $50-$75 range, although collectors may sometimes see them for less.