Sunday, June 30, 2019

And Stay Outta Woolworths

Remember the scene in O Brother, Where Are Thou where George Clooney gets kicked out of Woolworths? Well, that's what popped in my head when I was researching these cards that were simply called "1986 Baseball Champion Superstars". It turns out these cards were available at Woolworth stores (which is why the random scene from O Brother popped in my head).

Here's the catch though, there are two different Woolworth stores. There's F.W. Woolworth's, which is the original chain of "five and dime" shops in the U.S. (which just so happens to be the store George Clooney gets kicked out of) and there's Woolworths Group which was a goods and general merchandise chain the U.K.

If you look at the bottom of the back of the box, it should hopefully give you a hint as to where the cards were distributed. Look closely and you'll see these were distributed by "Topps Ireland" and printed in Northern Ireland. So, it's entirely possible that these cards were only available in the Ireland branches of Woolworths. Like the Hills cards I've shown over the past few weeks, this is a 33-card set and features some of the top players in baseball.

I can't say I was expecting bright yellow cards to greet me when I opened the box but they did. The photos have the 1962 Topps deal going on with the lower right corner peeling up to reveal the words "super star".

For the most part, I'm seeing lots of posed photos but that's fine with me. Al Oliver looks like it's a picture from either Spring Training or batting practice. Plus, it's a short-term stop and a sunset card all in one as Al Oliver spent his final season in 1985 with the Jays.

I'm liking the variety of players that are featured so far. Yes, there are stars like Gary Carter, George Brett, and Mike Schmidt but there are also players like Al Oliver and George Foster who were on the backside of their careers.

Oh, look, two Reds ... neither of them look too happy to be included. Wille McGee also looks rather sleepy.

Last batch and it features probably my favorite card of the whole set with "Stormin" Gorman Thomas preparing to swing his shillelagh while donning a Mariners uniform. I honestly didn't know Thomas was a member of the M's but according to Baseball Reference, he clobbered 43 homers over parts of three seasons with the M's.

Also, here's what the back looks like. I like the fact it actually has stats and it's just the basics like average, HR, and RBI. That's pretty much all you need for a set like this. Much like the Hills sets, I put these in order and then put them in my oddball sets binder.


  1. There are still Woolworth stores in Germany as part of the Woolworth group that survived after the US stores closed down. Pretty cool set for sure. Another great oddball set from the 1980s.

  2. Never watched that movie... but this set is full of guys I watched when I was a kid. I have a few singles I've picked up over the years, but hopefully I stumble across a complete boxed set one day at a card show or flea market.

  3. I didn’t know about these until getting a couple Red Sox in a trade/care package not too long ago. I do remember getting some Woolworth’s all-time record holders cards in my first ever baseball card album, when I was about 7 years old.

  4. Nothing says random vintage like cards with yellow borders. My blog is at if you are interested in checking it out.