They weren’t quite finished but Kellogg’s was on the back side of a lengthy run of using baseball cards to increase sales of certain cereal brands. The 1982 Kellogg’s set saw a change in the physical size and the number of cards in the complete sets created for purchase through the annual mail-in offer.
After creating a ‘regular-sized’ card for the first time in 1981, Kellogg’s decided to switch back to its trademark smaller cards. The 1981 cards measured a full 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ and for the first time ever, were the same size as Topps’ traditional cards. But the 1982 Kellogg’s set shrunk a hair to 2 1/8″ x 3 1/4″. Interestingly enough, 1981 was the year that Donruss and Fleer entered (or, in the case of Fleer, re-entered) the baseball card market. With three standard sets now that were all the same size, perhaps Kellogg’s decided to try to stand out from its competition a bit.
The cards were not only smaller but there were fewer of them. Kellogg’s was continually changing the number of players included in its set and 1982 was no different. After a total of 66 different cards were produced in 1981, the company cut a couple of spots, going with a 64-card issue in 1982.
In terms of design, the 1982 Kellogg’s set looked a lot like past years. The Kellogg’s logo was present as well as a color image of the player on the front. Backs included statistics and biographical information printed in black ink. And for the third year in a row, there were no variations or corrected cards in the set that were only distributed via mail and not in the company’s cereal boxes.
One final interesting side note is that Kellogg’s returned to the football card market in 1982. The company produced sets in 1970 and ’71 and then printed one distributed with Raisin Bran in 1982, although they weren’t of the 3-D variety.
Even with a slightly smaller checklist, the 1982 Kellogg’s set had no shortage of stars. Key cards from the set include George Brett, Rickey Henderson, Ozzie Smith, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Steve Carlton, Robin Yount, Johnny Bench, Jim Palmer, Carl Yastrzemski, Rod Carew, and Eddie Murray.
One slightly noteworthy inclusion was also that of Fernando Valenzuela. Valenzuela wasn’t included in the company’s 1981 set and after ‘Fernandomania’ hit in 1981 when the player won both the Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year, you can bet that Kellogg’s wish they had found room for him in the release. But after missing on him that year, Valenzuela was added to the 1982 set.
In terms of rookie card ‘misses’, Kellogg’s passed on the chance to include Cal Ripken in its set. Twenty-five years later, the card surely would have been a hit.
1982 Kellogg’s Prices
Like all of the later Kellogg’s issues, the 1982 set is extremely affordable. Even the bigger stars such as Ryan and Rose are generally not too hard to find ungraded for under $5. Other Hall of Famers can be picked up in the $1-$3 range.
Complete sets are affordable, too. Those are often available in the $15-$20 range.