Nothing beats a good oddball card, especially if it's an extra treat stashed inside a box of delicious food. Back in the day, I loved getting the mini-packs of cards with my Post Raisin Bran. The fact that the company was too cheap to spring for an MLB license and had to airbrush out the logos and wordmarks on the caps and jerseys just added to the charm.
Last month I received this rather sparse, undersized Ken Singleton card in a trade with John, the only Englishman I know who collects baseball cards. I'd never seen it before, so I got to do some detective work online. The card back is white, with the five most recent years of batting statistics (1971-1975). There is a white card number inside a black circle and next to some small-font biographical information. Armed with the card number and likely issue year of 1976, a Yahoo! search hooked me up. It turns out that from 1975 through 1979, Hostess printed baseball cards on the bottoms of their snack cake boxes. This is from the 1976 set, which featured cards in panels of three. There were eight Orioles in the 150-card set; the others are Bobby Grich, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Lee May, Don Baylor, Mike Cuellar, and Mike Torrez. Brooks, Palmer, and Singleton were short printed.
In tracking down vintage O's, I've focused primarily on the yearly Topps issues. But sometimes these oddballs can be more affordable, and a fun trip off of the beaten path. I'll have to keep my eyes open for the Hostess cards, and others of their kind!