A spring and summer tradition that had begun at the dawn of the previous decade continues as a new one began. In addition to bringing back some of the game’s biggest stars, 1980 Kellogg’s baseball set featured another star-studded cast and a new design; even slimmer than its traditionally narrow cards.
The 1980 Kellogg’s cards sported many of the same features as past releases. The cards retained their typical three dimensional look that made it such a popular collectible in the 1970s.
A player image, name, and position were kept on the fronts. “Kellogg’s” and “3-D Superstars” were there, too, sandwiching the image at the top and bottom. The backs, as they had previously, included a long biography and other statistical information. In addition, the checklist remained at 60 cards for the second consecutive season.
One significant change was the size of the cards. Previously at 2 1/8″ wide, the Kellogg’s cards were already uniquely thin. In 1979, the company scaled them back even further, making them only 1 15/16″ wide. For the second straight year, Kellogg’s made them even more narrow, slightly cutting them to only 1 7/8″ wide. At that size, they were only a little bigger than old style tobacco cards, which typically measured only 1 5/8″ wide.
Apparently the company didn’t think the small size was a hit with collectors. By the following year, the size of the cards grew tremendously to 2 1/2″ wide to match that of other baseball issues.
While the size of the cards of the cards diminished, the quality of players in the set did not. In fact, Kellogg’s not only kept a large number of star players in the issue, some big names that had been missing returned.
Key stars in the set include Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Bruce Sutter, Steve Carlton, Jim Palmer, Nolan Ryan, Eddie Murray, Willie Stargell, Reggie Jackson, Carl Yastrzemski, Dave Winfield, Pete Rose, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Fergie Jenkins, Tom Seaver, George Foster, Phil Niekro, Johnny Bench, and Rod Carew.
For some, such as Schmidt, Ryan, and Stargell, it was a homecoming of sorts. All three of those players were left out of the 1979 set and the omission of all three was puzzling since they were some of the game’s biggest stars at the time. With a limited checklist, obviously not every key player was going to be included. But Schmidt and Ryan in particular remain two of the most valuable cards in the set, so getting them back in was clearly a good idea.
One interesting nugget in the 1980 Kellogg’s set is that it didn’t include errors and corrections or variations as nearly every other Kellogg’s set from the past decade did. It was only the third set in the previous ten Kellogg’s releases that did not include any of those changes.
Obviously, that made it a much less interesting set. But for collectors of master sets, it also makes things much easier.
1980 Kellogg’s Prices
Like other later Kellogg’s releases, the 1980 set is very affordable. Commons typically sell for $1 or $2 with stars being slightly more. Even the most expensive card in the set, that of Nolan Ryan, n.
Complete sets are next to nothing as well. These days, at straight auction, sets can be bought for as little as $20 or less.