Wednesday, October 21, 2009

1968 Atlantic Oil Baseball #5, Carl Yastrzemski

As this blog first profiled in April 2009, the 1968 Atlantic Oil set mixed baseball players with McDonald's style game piece matching to promote their brand in specific parts of the US. Collect the right pair of players and you'd win up to $2500! No surprise that Atlantic printed high-value cards in extremely short supply, so it's almost impossible to find a complete set anywhere.

Atlantic Oil became part of ARCO soon after this issue and is now a British Petroleum subsidiary. It's not really clear why they promoted oil using baseball, but the no-logo cap hints at the MLB Player Association's first forays into union-only licensing. They could only put Carl Yastrzemski on the Boston Red Sox without showing logos or full uniforms, so you get a close-cropped picture and black hat. These promotions provided extra income in an era before free agency, so while the design of 60s MLBPA sets lacked creativity, the residuals undeniably helped players' bottom line.

The full Atlantic Oil checklist uses odd, cross-league numbering, and includes a quartet of #5s.
  • Ernie Banks #5 NL
  • Norm Cash #5 AL
  • Frank Robinson #5 AL
  • Carl Yastrzemski #5 AL

Banks is a $100 winner, so will be the hardest by far to find. I've never seen Mr. Cub online or in person and expect he'll be among the last of all #5 types to turn up.

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