Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Panini bringing back Triple Play baseball
Posted Mar 30, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Mar 31, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Remember when baseball cards were geared toward kids? Well, Panini America is bringing back some of that “old-time” fun.
I am chuckling when I say “old-time.” because I am referring to the revival of a product that was around from 1992 to 1994—Triple Play.
The “modern” version of Triple Play is scheduled for a July 23 release and will be affordable for kids at a suggested retail price of 99 cents. There will be 24 packs to a box and seven cards to a pack.
It’s a great idea. Getting kids interested in the hobby has got to be a major goal among card collectors. Sure, the adults with disposable cash (does anyone really have disposable cash any more?) can afford the high-end product, but cultivating a love for cards at an early age is just as important. Reminds me of when I could buy a pack of baseball cards for a nickel back in the 1960s (yeah, I am getting old ...).
Here’s some history about the original Triple Play product. It was introduced as a 264-card set in 1992 and was geared to younger collectors. In addition to player cards, there also were cards depicting ballparks, team mascots and players when they were younger (called Little Hotshots). Action shots of two or more players were called Awesome Action. The cards had bright orange backgrounds and splashes of yellow, making it very noticeable.
In 1993 the product returned with a black-bordered look for its 264-card set and included a shot of then-President Bill Clinton throwing out a pitch. The 1994 set was 300 cards and the images were more of a full frame, rather than bordered look.
Because those Triple Play cards were inexpensive, it was the perfect card to take to spring training or to regular-season games in hopes of getting a player to autograph his card.
The image that Panini has released for this year’s product is a lot more cartoonish, but that’s an advantage because it will appeal to younger collectors. The Ichiro card image that accompanies this post is an example. It still leaves a lot of space for autographs, and I am guessing major-leaguers might get a kick out of seeing an artist’s rendition of themselves.
If it brings back younger collectors, I am all for it. Make it affordable and catchy, and you’re halfway there.