Dear Babe: I was cleaning my storage unit and found an un-opened case of Denny's baseball cards from either 1991 or 1992. The case contains 1,000 cards. I worked there, and the case was given to me as a prize. -- Rick Sawicki, Cary N.C.
Dear Babe: I have many sets of Denny's baseball cards (lots are unopened whole boxes). -- Sherry Cole, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Denny's is the home of the "Grand Slam" breakfast, so it shouldn't be a surprise that it had a set of "Grand Slam" card made by Upper Deck in 1991. Actually, Denny's issued hologram cards through 1997, but only the1991 and 1997 base sets along with a 10-card 1996 insert set carry the "Grand Slam" name. UD made the cards for five years before Pinnacle took over for the final two years. The number of cards was based on the number of teams with the first two sets having 26 cards and the next five with 28 base cards. The 1994 set had a 29th card -- Reggie Jackson -- that was a contest giveaway prize. The 1997 had 30 cards. There was a special Jackie Robinson commemorative card and another for Larry Doby that was given away at Fan Fest and the All-Star game in Cleveland. Cards were usually available with the purchase of food.
The cards featured holograms with the 1997 Pinnacle set using 3-D-like technology on the front.
The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards from the editors of Sports Collectors Digest lists the sets at $6.50 to $8 with the Jackson prize card booking at $60 and Doby at $6. A 1996 "Grand Slaminsert set at $13.50 with the "Artist's Proof10-card insert set booking $50. Cal Ripken Jr. and Barry Bonds the most valuable AP cards at $10 each.
Beckett's Almanac of Baseball Cards lists sets in the $15-$25 range. The Jackson card books at $40 with Doby at $2.50. It lists the 1996 "Grand Slam" insert set at $40 with Artist's Proof cards valued at five times that of the base card. It has the base insert for Ripken at $10, which would make the book value of his AP card $50.
The Standard Catalog says that "Grand Slam" cards were inserted at a rate of one in about every 56 packs. The AP cards were seeded at one in 360 packs. Cards were issued in one-card packs with customers able to buy two with every food purchase.
Book values aside, it appears that the 1991 and 1992 cards don't sell for much -- if they sell at all -- in online auctions.
Dear Babe: I was one of the top 10 newspaper boys in San Diego in the early 1950s. All of us were rewarded by attending a Padres game and were given a signed ball. There are 23 signatures on the ball. I have been able to identify 16 of them by looking at the online roster from 1954. I am having difficulty reading the rest of the signatures. The following are the names I recognize that include Lefty O'Doul, Bob Elliott and Earl Rapp among others. It's been in a drawer for all these years and is in excellent condition. -- Lee Cook, Menifee
"There is a pretty good group of collectors who go after old PCL items, but this is not one of the better teams," said Mike Heffner, president of www.Lelands.com. "O'Doul is the closest thing to a big name on the ball. If it is really nice condition it could be worth up to $150. If it's in average condition, $100 or less."
(Send card questions to Babe Waxpak, PO Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397 or e-mail email@example.com. If possible, include card number, year and brand or a photocopy. Please do not send cards. For Babe Waxpak's blog, see www.scrippsnews.com/waxpak. Babe Waxpak is a feature of The Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif.)