Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Broder and Other Unlicensed Cards in My Collection

In the spring of 1987, my friends in my neighborhood and I started seriously collecting baseball cards.  My family moved houses in the fall of 1988.  In the time between, baseball cards brought me together with even more people in the neighborhood, mostly kids, but also one adult (a classmate's dad) who were into baseball and cards.  With us kids being about 10-12 years old, the adult had more resources available, and thus had access to more kinds of cards.  It was from him that I first heard about Broder cards.  These unlicensed, rogue cards, had a certain appeal, and as a kid in the 80s, they were a real mystery -- information about them, let alone the cards themselves, were hard to come by.
1988 Broder Roger Clemens.
Roger Clemens card back.
When we moved away, my collecting community evaporated.  This was pre-internet, pre-social media, so there wasn't any contact with any of those people anymore.  Dad and I started going to shows, though, so although I didn't know many fellow collectors, with Dad's support, I did have access to cards and dealers.
1988 Broder Barry Bonds.
Barry Bonds card back.
My collection contains a total of three Broders, all from 1988.  I probably bought them in the ensuing years from dealers at shows, although there were many local card shops I visited back then, too.  I do remember having a conversation at a show with a dealer once, where he told me a card was a Broder, and I said, "those are unlicensed, right?," and he acted like he didn't know anything about that.
1988 Broder Jose Canseco.
Jose Canseco card back.
Looking back, it's hard for me to imagine why anyone would be excited about these.  I mean, we're not talking great production values here.  The backs say nothing really, and so little thought was put into details like printing the names on the front that Canseco's name is barely visible against the photo here.
1990 Blue Sox Sports Promotions Jerome Walton.
Jerome Walton card back.
Then, other than Broder, I have a few more unlicensed cards.  I've said many times, I don't know where I got some of these.  I think I wouldn't have bought the rest of these on purpose.  I always assumed that this Jerome Walton was a Broder card, and I thought maybe Blue Sox Sports Promotions is just a name affiliated with Broder.  But I guess not, I guess they were just another player in the unlicensed cards game.  They did make some improvements over the Broders, I guess, like putting a line of stats on the back.
Unlicensed Bo Jackson card.
Bo Jackson card back.
For all of the above, I found them in the Trading Card Database.  This Bo Jackson, though, remains a mystery.  I did find a picture of it at one website, but it just called it "Broder Type," meaning unlicensed, I guess.
1988 Pacific Cards and Comics Will Clark.
I'll wrap up this post with the front of this Will Clark card, which I showed once before, in the early days of this blog.  I found this in Trading Card Database as a Pacific Cards and Comics card.  I still don't know anything more about who they were, but I appreciate even having the name of the maker.

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