Friday, September 23, 2011

1978 Zest Baseball #5, Manny Mota

Not long ago, this blog profiled several card sets that Topps licensed for printing in Venezuela. They no doubt hoped to open a regular market there, with both the MLB season (April-October) and winter ball (November-January) to generate interest. Baseball-hungry locals from South America offered the prospect of a year-round flow of income and nothing excites a profit-driven company like "year-round flow of income."

So did it work? Sort of, for a while. Venezuelan printers licensed several sets starting in 1959, but Topps switched gears after the 1960s, probably to dedicate more attention to North American efforts like O-Pee-Chee, who reused the Topps design every year, and the Mexican market, which included today's Zest set of 5 cards featuring well-known Latino players. (Find more Venezuelan details at my summary post.)

Personal blog favorite The Topps Archives profiled today's set in A Zest for Cleanliness and scanned all 5 cards and a mail-in insert for Zest soap. Its related post Oh, Mexico covered three other Spanish language issues from Topps, which covered football, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Star Wars. Both articles make good reading for oddball card fans.

Apologies for the lower-resolution card back scan; my own #5 card's in an original cello pack with the set, so I borrowed this from the Zest post above. You should still be able to read several of its Spanish translations, like "jardinero" for "outfield."

2021 UPDATE: 4-card panels also exist, photos courtesy of a friend at

Value: My set of 5 cards cost $6 on eBay and none of the singles should run more than a dollar or two.

Fakes / reprints: No reprints that I know of, but I'm sure some Zest singles ended up in Topps sets, given the design similarities.

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