Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Hills Have Eyes

I picked up some of these box sets for a buck each at the most recent card show I went to back in April. Since then, they've been sitting around waiting to get explored. I thought now would be a good time to do so.

This is a Hills Team MVPs set from 1989. It's a 33-card set of some of the top names in baseball at the time. I love these old retail oddball sets from defunct retailers like Hills, Kaybee Toys, Toys R Us,  K-Mart, Revco, etc. There's just something about them that speaks to me. 

Here's the back of the box. I love the fact it's still got the original price on it ($1.97) and the checklist.

Now, as far as Hills goes, I grew up with a Hills store that my grandparents would go to occasionally. My grandma mostly went there because of it being a department store and she was able to get sewing supplies like pins, needles, fabric, etc. I remember going there a few times looking at video games and toys. Ames took over Hills, which was having financial trouble, at the end of 1998 and lasted until 2002 when they met their demise due to money troubles of their own.

This is what the local Hills store looks like now. Over the years, since Ames closed, it's housed numerous discount outlets. I'm not sure if the store itself is still open as I haven't been by there in a long time. 

Anyway, enough reminiscing, here's what the box of cards contained. I'm showing these in the order that they came out of the box.

Some pretty good names here with Orel Hershiser and Dennis Eckersley ... Johnny Ray seems out of place but judging by the stats from the 1988 Angels club, he lead the team in batting average so I can see why he was included.

Oooh! Fred McGriff in the all blue Blue Jays uniform! Yes please!

In regards to the cards themselves, I like the design a lot. The banner at the bottom, the giant Hills logo at the top left of the card. The pictures are pretty good as well. This batch features Andres Galarraga with the Expos and Joe Carter with the Indians, which are always a pleasant find.

Next to last batch here. I love the photo on Mike Greenwell's card with the Green Monster looming in the background.

Final batch here. Only one Reds player in the whole set, that being Danny Jackson, who probably would've won the Cy Young in 1988 had it not been for Orel Hershiser's scoreless inning streak. Jackson won 23 games in 1988, with 15 complete games.

If you're interested, here's the back of the card. Not very impressive if you ask me as it only has the player's 1988 stats with vitals and a brief blurb about their 1988 season.

This was a really cool pickup for a buck and I've got another Hills set to go through, this time from 1990. I think every team had at least one player in the set as well, which is another plus. It'll look even better once I put them in order and page them up in my "oddball sets" binder.


  1. I had heard of Hills before, but I never knew what kind of store they were... thanks for the mini-history lesson :)

  2. I worked at Hills for 3 glorious months, June-August, 1986.

  3. I've never seen these - or a Hills store - before. Thanks for scanning all of these.

  4. I say you got a great deal for a $1. Especially with some of those names in there.

  5. The Hills logo seems familiar...I think they may have made a couple of NASCAR sponsorship appearances. But I didn't know what they were either. Ames, them I remember and miss. Ames had the best toy section. And they were the only place that imported Majorette diecast cars from France.

  6. Instant nostalgia for a dollar? Can't beat it. I kind of like the design of the card back. Maybe it's the angle of the baseball diamond.

  7. Nice pickup for a buck! I love these retail box sets from the 80's and early 90's. Dang... the A's sure had a lot of Team MVP's. Guess that's why they won the World Series that year.