Kelloggs Cards

Kelloggs Cards

Friday, December 16, 2016

I'd Forgotten About the First Free Agent and His Kellogg's Baseball Card

I've read the Curt Flood story many times and watched the MLB Network's video about how his court case changed baseball.   Then it is common knowledge that Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally became the first free agents.

This story about Catfish Hunter slipped my mind - Hunter Declared a Free Agent in 1974!  That happened on this day in 1974 and I probably read about it the next day before doing my paper route.
More about the paper route at the end of this post.

The A's didn't properly honor his contract so he was granted free agency.  As the story above mentions, he cashed in with the Yankees.

Kellogg's started producing his 1975 cards with the A's logo on the back.  Later they switched it to the Yankees logo.

Most checklists mention that the team logo on the back is the difference on the card.  Sure, that will help one find a variation, but that's not all.  The sketch of Hunter has the NY cap and the entire paragraph has been re-worded to fit the Yankee deal into it.

Was the term "free agent" ever used in this context on a baseball card before this one?   Time to do research.  Merriam-Webster found the first use of the term "free agent" in 1955.

Based on the details in the story about Hunter and the last day of hunting season, Kellogg's certainly got his hobbies correct.

I can't pass up the great story of that Christmas on the paper route.  I was tall for my age and my younger brother wasn't.  We split the payment collection by blocks.  One of the elder customers on my block only knew me.  When it came to a Christmas gift I think that I got a calculator which was fine.  That wasn't what made the walk home so much fun - his gift did that.  I got to bring my brother, who was about to turn 10, a coloring book and markers.  40+ years later and he still gets kidded about that.

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