Friday, February 17, 2012

1966 Pro's Pizza Cubs checklist expanded

Even though I am officially retired from cataloging vintage baseball cards, I still have the desire to help promulgate, for the benefit of current and future collectors, the type of information that was the staple of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards for 30 years.

This is especially true when I can use this forum as a vehicle for other hobbyists who unselfishly want to expand the knowledge base.

Thus I'm promulgating the report by veteran Florida collector Larry Serota of four additions to the checklist of the 1966 Pro's Pizza Chicago Cubs boxtop cards.

In the mid-1960s, Pro's Pizza was a concessionaire  at Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park and Soldier's Field, selling individual serving pizzas to those in attendance at Cubs, White Sox and Bears games.  

In that era, the pizzas were sold in single-serving boxes that featured on their lids player pictures. 

The earliest of the issues was a set of 1966 Chicago Cubs. The "card" portion of the box was about 6" x 6" and featured a large black-and-white player photo at left with white-and-red stripes and sports action drawings at right.

The checklist for this set has been developing for more than 15 years. The most recent edition (2012) of the Standard Catalog showed 16 Cubs.  They were . . . 
Ted Abernathy
Joe Amalfitano
George Altman
Ernie Banks
Ernie Broglio
Billy Connors
Dick Ellsworth
Bill Faul
Bill Hoeft
Ken Holtzman
Randy Hundley
Ferguson Jenkins
Chris Krug
Ron Santo
Carl Warwick 
Billy Williams

Now, as a result of Serota's relentless scouring of obscure issues being offered on eBay, four more players can be added to the checklist . . . 
Byron Browne
John Herrnstein
Adolfo Phillips
Jim Stewart

Serota points out that Herrnstein had a very short tenure with the Cubs. He came to Chicago from the Phillies with Jenkins and Phillips on April 21, and was traded to the Atlanta Braves on May 29. He appeared in only nine games for Chicago, most as a pinch-hitter.

The four newly reported Pro's Pizza Cubs from 1966 were sold on eBay on Jan. 28, 2012. In typical "ballpark-used" condition, i.e., with creases, stains, poorly cut, etc., the prices realized were $135 for Browne, $171 for Phillips, $267 for Stewart, and a whopping $663 for Herrnstein. 

Together with the sale of three other 1966 Pro's Pizza Cubs a week earlier -- Jenkins and Hundley at $165 and Ellsworth at $345 -- indications are that "book" values for the set are too low. The Standard Catalog lists typical players at $160 in NM, $80 in EX and $50 in VG, with Hall of Famers at 2-3X those figures and Banks about 4X.

Now at 20 players, it is certainly possible the '66 checklist will continue to expand in the future. Among the regular position players not yet confirmed are Don Kessinger and Glenn Beckert.

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