Monday, November 2, 2009

1979 Burger King Phillies Baseball #5, Larry Christensen

Philadelphia won their first World Series (over Kansas City) in 1980. As Wikipedia notes, that made them the last original MLB franchise to capture a title. Today's guest started game 4 of that series, threw 22 pitches, allowed 4 runs, committed an error, and retired exactly 1 batter. Willie Aikens took him deep, his 1st of 2 homers on the day in an eventual 5-3 KC win. (Fortunately for Larry and the Phils, they won in 6 games.)

Burger King published a number of oddball sets from 1977 to 1987, including a handful of team-specific sets. Who did they pick for this honor in 1979? Why, it's the Phillies and Yankees! Such odd prescience for a company focused on quick turn-around.

Topps licensed their 1979 design to Burger King as-is, so collectors often find them "mixed in" with the regular set. While the numbering obviously differs--Christenson is Topps #161--the 22-card burger checklist includes a few notables.

  • 1st Pete Rose PHI card (compare Topps #650 to Burger King #13)
  • Danny Ozark gets a separate manager card (the Yankees use a team photo)
  • 6 players, including Rose, use different (or re-cropped) photos

The profile of the PHI and NYY sets includes an image of the Philly checklist and summary of both releases. I like team-based releases, so will add more Burger King #5s soon.

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