Bond Bread issued three baseball card sets in the 1940s and 1950s. Over a three-part series, we’ve taken a look at each one. Part I reviewed the company’s 48-card D305 set that was issued in 1947. The second part covered the company’s 1947 set of Jackie Robinson cards, which featured only the Dodgers’ star rookie. Part III will review the least of the three known Bond Bread sets — the company’s 1958 issue featuring the Buffalo Bisons.
Inside the 1958 Bond Bread Buffalo Bisons Set
In 1947, Bond Bread issued two baseball card sets. One of those was a multiplayer issue consisting of 48 cards and the second was a 13-card set featuring only Jackie Robinson rookie cards.
While those two sets are quite popular, Bond Bread’s third set is virtually unheard of by most collectors. Speak the ‘Bond Bread’ name to most collectors and, if they’ve heard of it at all, they will almost certainly reference the 1947 releases. Even experienced vintage collectors might be hard-pressed to identify the later 1958 set. Part of that is because it isn’t a star-studded issue like the others. Instead of major league players, this small, little known set features minor league players from the Buffalo Bisons.
But while collectors may be initially inclined to dismiss it as a minor league issue, not so fast. There are a few things that make this set desirable. Collectors won’t flock to it like Bond Bread’s 1947 releases. But there are indeed a few reasons to pursue this set.
Like the earlier Bond Bread sets, these cards featured black and white pictures of subjects. But they had a distinctly different look with white colored borders and the players’ names at the top of the card. Notably, the bottoms of all of the cards actually advertised a television show, Casey Jones. The brief mention told collectors to tune in to Channel 2 at 7 p.m. on Thursdays. The show was a western and while that genre did particularly well at the time, the show did not last, airing only one season on BBC (and syndicated in the U.S.).
Backs of the cards had a red white and blue theme. The player’s name and position was printed in red ink as was the Bond Bread & Pastry name. The player’s biographical information was then printed in blue ink. Bottoms of the backs had pictures of Bond Bread products in red, white, and blue.
1958 Bond Bread Buffalo Bisons Checklist
Collectors may immediately hear of this being a minor league issue and ignore it. However, those thoughts should be thrown out the window. Eight of the nine players in the set were actually major league players. The set is led by early black star Luke Easter, who played for the Bisons after his major league career had ended.
Despite being 42 years old, Easter was the best player on the team, leading it with 38 home runs and 109 RBI in that 1958 season. His .307 batting average also led all full-time players on the team. 1958 was the third and final year he spent with the franchise.
Another key card is that of manager Phil Cavarretta, who was a four-time All-Star and the 1945 National League Most Valuable player when he led the majors in hitting with a .355 mark.
Why the checklist was so small is anybody’s guess but the set was no doubt missing some key players. One of those was pitcher Glenn Cox. Cox led the team with 16 wins in 1958 and would go on to pitch for the Kansas City Athletics for four seasons. Ray Noble was another early black player that could have been included. He also reached the majors and was second only to Easter on the team in home runs as the only other Buffalo player to hit 20 of them in 1958.
Here’s a look at the checklist for the set.
- Al Aber
- Joe Caffie
- Phil Cavarretta
- Rip Coleman
- Luke Easter
- Ken Johnson
- Lou Oritz
- Jack Phillips
- Jim Small
Cards in this set are not all that easy to come by. eBay usually has not more than a few of them and they are not easily found outside of there. To date, PSA has graded only a total of 54.
While some of that can be dismissed because of the set and the fact that it does not include superstar players, this is a regional set that was certainly printed in smaller quantities than the company’s early 1947 sets.
That might seem like the perfect recipe for an expensive set. But the reality is that these cards are quite affordable. Decent commons, when they can be found, often start around $10. Even the card of the established Cavarretta does not start for too much more money.
Easter’s card is generally the key to the set but even his can be found for under $50 with some patience.
Complete sets are not seen too often for sale but do pop up occasionally. Prices for complete sets in decent shape typically start between $100-$150.