Boys of Summer step one: a third pull from the sweets barrel of Milk Duds, that chocolate-and-caramel confection that's so much better than those malted, chalky Whoppers.
Milk Duds called itself the MLBPA's "official candy," an advertising tactic that's ubiquitous today, but comparatively rare in the 1970s. The scholarly study Applications and Implementation: The Effects of Endorsements on Product Evaluation even cited chapter and verse on a legal objection filed by the Federal Trade Commission over this kind of marketing.
"[The FTC] challenged Beatrice Foods, producer of Holloway Milk Duds, for their ad that showed Lou Brock stealing bases. The FTC claimed that the ad implied that eating the candy is necessary for improving one's athletic performance. The advertisement states that Milk Duds are 'the official candy of the Major League Baseball Players Association.' This endorsement was not based on nutritional superiority of the product, but rather on monetary consideration."
Many adults shrug off this kind of "we're the best!" advertising message, but I assume some kids took it at face value. Otherwise, why advertise in the first place? (Full paper accessible to Wiley.com subscribers.)
Beatrice/Holloway didn't grok the one-player-per-card concept and assigned three guys to each numbered flap (see scan's lower-left corner). Grabarkewitz ended up sharing checklist honors with a Yankee and an Angel, each on separate boxes.
- 1971 Milk Duds #5, Thurman Munson
- 1971 Milk Duds #5, Andy Messersmith
- 1971 Milk Duds #5, Billy Grabarkewitz (today)
Value: Full boxes cost about $10 these days and trimmed players run a dollar to two.
Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any in the marketplace, though some dodgy sellers have repackaged empty boxes with candy and plastic wrap to make them seem rarer and more valuable. I recommend sticking to empty boxes for a type set.