Few could have guessed that when the promotional program began in Battle Creek, Michigan back in 1970 that it would still be going on at the end of the decade (and beyond). It was clearly a hit and the 1979 Kellogg’s baseball set followed much the same protocol as the nine sets that preceded it. While the release did include plenty of stars and an expanded checklist, error and correction cards are the focal point today.
The three-dimensional cards included the same quality checklist of players and the replica signatures. For the second straight year, Kellogg’s included its own logo on the front at the top of the cards.
One change was that the set was the company’s largest release since 1971. In the four previous years, Kellogg’s stuck with 57 cards. That changed for 1979 when they moved to a 60-card set, giving collectors a few more cards to find in order to complete their sets. The other big difference was the size of the cards. Kellogg’s moved to a slimmer issue with cards measuring just under two inches in width. The company’s previous sets checked in either at 2 1/4″ or 2 1/8″ wide.
Backs were printed in blue ink against a white background. There, collectors would find statistical information as well as a short biography of the player in question.
The 1979 Kellogg’s set didn’t just contain error cards, it was absolutely filled with them.
Nearly half of the 60-card release, in fact, had both an error and corrected card or a card with a different biography. The errors were statistical in nature with numbers being slightly off or off by quite a bit. For example, Mike Flanagan’s No. 48 card has him with 56 strikeouts on one issue and 57 on another. But Pete Rose’s No. 22 card has him with three triples and 33 triples. Quite the difference, obviously.
That Kellogg’s continued to make so many errors was quite astonishing. Some sets either went error-free or the company didn’t bother to change them. But others, such as the 1971 and 1972 sets were littered with mistakes. After so many error-filled products, it would make sense for Kellogg’s to be extremely cautious with the statistical portions of their cards. That, however, clearly wasn’t the case. You can see the full list of variations here.
Looking beyond all of the errors, Kellogg’s again produced a quality set of cards. A litany of Hall of Famers and big names was included, such as Pete Rose, Jim Palmer, Steve Carlton, Willie McCovey, Rod Carew, Jim Rice, Tom Seaver, Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Jackson, and George Brett.
While the 1978 Kellogg’s set included a major rookie card in Eddie Murray, the 1979 set was devoid of such a first-year card. The 1979 Kellogg’s set did, however, include one key second-year card. Making the set was Paul Molitor, whose rookie card is found in the 1978 Topps set.
Popular players missing from the 1979 Kellogg’s release included Nolan Ryan and Mike Schmidt. Both were included in the previous year’s set but were absent here, weakening the collection a bit.
1979 Kellogg’s sets are extremely affordable for a somewhat rare issue nearly 40 years old. If you’re piecing a set together, most ungraded cards are available for a couple bucks with stars a little more. Even the biggest stars such as Rose often can sell for under $10. Complete sets can be found on eBay for under $50.
If you’re looking for an 85-card master set with all of the errors and corrections/variations, you can expect to pay closer to $100 if you can find it. Master sets are somewhat scarce and don’t come up for sale too often.