You’re definitely excused if you’ve never heard of the 1967 Irvindale Dairy Atlanta Braves set. One of those quirky, rare little regional sets from decades ago, it’s as much photographic endorsement as anything.
The set includes just four Braves players, all of whom appeared on a single panel of Irvindale Milk during the summer of 1967. Find one intact carton and you have the whole set. The problem is that not many people saved them, let alone a complete carton or side panel.
That’s not surprising, considering there weren’t any references on the carton calling them “cards” or telling youngsters to “save them.” Irvindale, a local dairy, used two color images of Joe Torre, Clete Boyer, Mack Jones and Denis Menke to tout itself as the “Milk of Athletes.”
The back was simply the inside of the milk carton so there aren’t any stats or even a short player bio on the backs, which are just plain white. Boyer and Torre appeared two across above the slogan, with Jones and Menke below.
Of course, the set would have a lot more appeal if Irvindale had been able to use Hank Aaron’s picture on the side of the carton. Why four other Braves starters are included and not the team’s biggest star isn’t known, but it’s possible Aaron either had an endorsement deal with a different dairy or simply wanted top much money. It’s also unknown why no pitchers were among the four players, all of whom were starters on the ’67 Braves.
Torre was a no brainer, coming off a 36 homer, 101 RBI season in 1966. Jones had belted 31 homers for the Braves during their final season in Milwaukee two seasons earlier and 23 in just 118 games in ’66. Boyer was the new star in town and repaid the team’s confidence with a career year in Atlanta, belting 26 homers and driving in 96 runs. Menke was a solid pro and served as Atlanta’s starting shortstop.
As far as we know, the ’67 set was Irwindale’s only baseball card style promotion.
Today, single cards and two-player panels exist but they are far from common. A full, uncut carton panel is as rare as it gets. A two panel set that isn’t creased typically runs $300 and up when you can find one. Individual cards are a little cheaper. There are often a few 1967 Irvindale Braves on eBay.
Only a handful of cards appear on grading company population reports.