Sales material helps to properly date when Wiffle Ball Discs were released

Dr. Phil Garrou

The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards lists two years of Wiffle Ball cards. The first year cards (die cut discs) were inserted in the boxes, while the second year cards were printed on the boxes and other wiffle products. The inserted cards and printed-on-the-box cards both had a 1976 trademark making things confusing. The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards lists these as being issued in 1977 and 1978 and PSA has labeled them at various times as 1976 or 1977 or 1978 but they are both incorrect.  

Recent contact with Dave Mullany, the inventor’s son, turned up sales documents that clearly date these two products as 1978 and 1979.

wiffle-ad1979-announcement

 

 

 

The 1978 disc set consisted of 80 cards as listed below. Each player came in only one color. There were six different colors: (14) dark pink, (14) pale pink, (13) dark yellow, (13) pale yellow, (13) dark orange and (13) pale orange.  

1978 Wiffle Disc Set:
Player, Color
1. Sal Bando, pale orange
2. Buddy Bell, pale pink
3. Johnny Bench, pale orange
4. Vida Blue, dark orange
5. Bert Blyleven, dark orange
6. Bobby Bonds, pale orange
7. George Brett, dark yellow
8. Lou Brock, dark orange
9. Bill Buckner, pale pink
10. Ray Burris, dark yellow
11. Jeff Boroughs, pale orange
12. Bert Campaneris, pale yellow
13. Rod Carew, pale pink
14. Steve Carlton, pale yellow
15. Dave Cash, dark pink
16. Cesar Cedeno, dark orange
17. Ron Cey, dark pink
18. Chris Chambliss, pale orange
19. Dave Conception, pale pink
20. Dennis Eckersley, dark pink
21. Mark Fidrych, dark orange
22. Rollie Fingers, dark orange
23. Carlton Fisk, pale orange
24. George Foster, dark yellow
25. Wayne Garland, dark yellow
26. Ralph Garr, dark yellow
27. Steve Garvey, dark yellow
28. Don Gullett, dark pink
29. Larry Hisle, dark yellow
30. Al Hrabosky, pale yellow
31. Catfish Hunter, dark yellow
32. Reggie Jackson, pale yellow
33. Randy Jones, pale yellow
34. Dave Kingman, pale orange
35. Jerry Koosman, pale orange
36. Ed Kranepool, dark orange
37. Ron LeFlore, pale yellow
38. Sixto Lezcano, dark yellow
39. Davey Lopes, pale pink
40. Greg Luzinski, pale orange
41. Fred Lynn, dark yellow
42. Garry Maddox, dark yellow
43. Jon Matlock, pale yellow
44. Gary Matthews, dark orange
45. Lee May, pale yellow
46. John Mayberry, pale pink
47. Bake McBride, dark orange
48. Tug McGraw, dark pink
49. Hal McRae, dark pink
50. Andy Messersmith, pale yellow
51. Randy Moffitt, dark yellow
52. John Montefusco, pale pink
53. Joe Morgan, pale yellow
54. Thurman Munson, pale pink
55. Graig Nettles, dark orange
56. Al Oliver, dark pink
57. Jorge Orta, pale pink
58. Jim Palmer, pale pink
59. Dave Parker, dark pink
60. Tony Perez, pale pink
61. Gaylord Perry, pale orange
62. Jim Rice, pale yellow
63. Steve Rogers, dark yellow
64. Pete Rose, dark orange
65. Joe Rudi, dark orange
66. Nolan Ryan, dark pink
67. Manny Sanguillen, pale orange
68. Mike Schmidt, pale pink
69. Tom Seaver, dark pink
70. Ted Simmons, pale orange
71. Reggie Smith, pale yellow
72. Willie Stargell, pale pink
73. Rusty Staub, pale orange
74. Frank Tanana, pale yellow
75. Gene Tenace, dark pink
76. Luis Tiant, dark orange
77. Manny Trillo, dark pink
78. Bob Watson, dark pink
79. Carl Yastrzemski, pale pink
80. Richie Zisk, dark pink

1979 Wiffle Printed on Boxes set

Advertising for 1979 wiffle balls list “88 players in his years set (see above).” The eight players that were added in 1979 were Candelaria, Cardinal, Joshua, North, Rodriguez, Spencer, Stennett and Wyneger.

1979-boxesThe Standard Catalog lists 88 players for the “1978” set that was printed on the boxes. This is incorrect. There were 12 different boxes (listed below) for a total of 60 cards and the year was 1979 not 1978. The cards printed on the boxes contained three facing out and two facing in as shown in the next column.

All the 1979 cards are a different color from the 1978 cards for players that are in both sets. In 1979 the colors included (21) red, (16) pink, (9) yellow, (6) orange, (5) brown and (3) olive green discs.

Since the 1978 cards and the 1979 cards both have a 1976 trademark, the only other way to tell 1978 discs from 1979 discs that faced out (same printed back) is the cream off white color of the 1979 backs and the thick black dotted line around the 1979 issue. If they are cut inside the dotted line they will be smaller than the 1978 discs by around 1/16 inch.

The 12 boxes comprising the 60 card 1979 set were printed on three different sized wiffle ball boxes.

Junior size:
Outside – Bert Campaneris/Davey Lopes/Mark Fidrych (brown); Inside – Rennie Stennett/Dave Kingman (pink)

Baseball size:
Outside – Wayne Garland/Frank Tanana/Tony Perez (orange); Inside – Larry Hisle/Jim Rice (pink)
Outside – Randy Moffitt/Garry Maddox/Ted Simmons (orange); Inside – John Mayberry/Ellie Rodriguez (pink)
Outside – Lou Brock/Dave Concepcion/Mike Schmidt (pink); Inside – Fred Lynn/Dave Pink (pink)
Outside – Bert Blyleven/Richie Zisk/Lee May (red); Inside – Von Joshua/Ralph Garr (brown)
Outside – Buddy Bell/Willie Stargell/Gene Tenace (red); Inside – Manny Sanguillen/Greg Luzinski (red)
Outside – Tom Seaver/Graig Nettles/Jon Matlock (yellow); Inside – Manny Trillo/Sixto Lezcano (red)
Outside – Jorge Orta/Vida Blue/John Montefusco (yellow); Inside – Pete Rose/Carlton Fisk (red)
Outside – Thurman Munson/Steve Garvey/Joe Rudi (yellow); Inside – John Candelaria/Ron LeFlore (red)
Softball size:
Outside – Sal Bando/Jeff Burroughs/Bob Watson (pink); Inside – Catfish Hunter/Gary Matthews (red)
Outside – Luis Tiant/Cesar Cedeno/Jerry Koosman (red); Inside – Butch Wynegar/ Bill North (pink)
Outside – George Brett/Dave Cash/Ray Burris (olive green); Inside – John Candelaria/Ron LeFlore (red)

1979 Header sleeves

There were also discs printed on so called “header sleeves” that held one ball and one bat. This version contained just two cards printed on the sleeve with blank backsides.

There are 14 such sleeves (28 different player discs). These backless discs are also surrounded by a thick black dotted line. The header sleeves were printed two times on a poster sized panel for a total of 28 panels of two. Seven of the two player combos were printed in one color and the other seven were printed in two colors as listed.

Some of the colors are difficult to identify from the copy of the poster I received so I have left them as “??”. I have positively identified the ones that I have in my collection, ones on the print sheet that match them, or ones I have seen up for sale or auction.

Bill Buckner/Dennis Eckersley (deep purple/??)
Johnny Bench/Jim Palmer (deep purple/navy blue)
George Foster/Rollie Fingers (2X navy blue)
Rod Carew/Carl Yastrzemski (navy blue/pale yellow)
Al Hrabowsky/Bobby Bonds (navy blue/pale yellow)
Nolan Ryan/Ron Cey (2X pale blue)
Reggie Jackson/Tug McGraw (pale blue/deep red)
Steve Rogers/Ed Kranepool (??/??)
Gaylord Perry/Chris Chambliss (??/??)
Steve Carlton/Reggie Smith (??/??)
Rusty Staub/Randy Jones (2X deep red)
Al Oliver/Andy Messersmith (2X red)
Don Gullett/Bake McBride (2X deep red)
Joe Morgan/Hal McRae (2X red)

Thus the 60 cards printed on the wiffle ball boxes and the 28 blank backed discs printed on the header sleeves make up the total 88 wiffle ball player discs available in 1979.

It may have taken 35-plus years, but I think we have finally nailed down the 1970s wiffle ball discs.

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