Baseball cards and food have enjoyed a long and happy marriage dating back to the candy issues of the early 20th century.

1976 Hostess Nolan Ryan So, by the mid-1970s, attentive collectors must have had their cardboard radars turned on full throttle every time they walked into their local grocery stores or 7-Elevens.

Those hobbyists who were on top of their games would have stumbled into a special treat starting in May of 1975 when they discovered that boxes of their f avorite Hostess pastries featured panels of three cards on the side. And the non-junk-fooders amongst the collecting crowd surely found their sweet tooth that summer since there were 150 different cards in the offing.

What’s a little tooth decay and spiking blood sugar when there are baseball cards in the offing, right?

The casual sweets or cardboard fan may not have realized it at the time, bu1976 Hostess Reggie Jacksont these cards were produced for Hostess by Topps themselves, which explains how they were able to leave team logos visible on the cards since Topps had all the necessary licensing to show pretty much whatever they wanted.

Collectors eager for a few more pieces of branded cardboard in those days of the Topps monopoly gobbled up the Hostess cards faster than you could say, “Suzy Q.”

Red, White, and Blue Snack Cakes

Bolstered by the success of their initial offering in 1975, Topps and Hostess teamed up again for another set of box-side cards in 1976.

In case you don’t remember, that was the summer that America celebrated our Bicentennial, and the whole nation was awash in patriotic deckings. The Hostess cards played right into that theme by featuring the greatest baseball players in the land set atop Red, White, and Blue stripes that denoted the player name, his team, and his position.

1976HostessPanel131

In many ways, the design was similar to the base 1976 Topps set, which also presented player and team information in a set of card-bottom bands, these in all sorts of hues.

Astute collectors also may have noticed other similarities between the Topps and Hostess cards — in particular, several of the player photos were very similar (or identical) between the two issues.

Hostess card backs are as simple as can be, showing the card number, player name and bio information, and five years of stats (plus lifetime line).

1976 Hostess Panel Back

 

As in 1975, Hostess issued their set in three-card panels on the box sides of various snack cakes products, with 50 different panels comprising the set. Falling in line with other food issues, the card borders included dashed lines that encouraged collectors to cut the panels into individual cards.

Also as in 1975, Hostess designated 60 single cards for inclusion directly into individual Twinkies packages. While the Twinkies parallel skipped around in 1975, though, Hostess kept it simple in 1976 and simply used the first 60 cards from their base set for the Twinkies issue. Each Twinkies card is distinguished from its panel-born counterpart by the thick black bar running down its backside.

1976 Hostess Johnny BenchAs you might expect from a set this size and from the 1970s, the Hostess issue is loaded with superstars and Hall of Famers, including George Brett, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Dennis Eckersley, Hank Aaron, and many others.

(The complete checklist is included below.)

Aside from the 150 cards that made it to the primetime of store shelves, Topps also created nine proof cards that never saw the side of a box. Among those phantoms are:

Get Your Red Hot Hostess Baseball Cards Here!

You might think that rushing out to load up on new baseball cards or hoarding those little cardboard rectangles is a modern phenomenon with its origins no earlier than the hobby boom of the 1980s.

But, according to Rich Mueller at1976 Hostess Al Hrabosky Sports Collectors Daily, the Hostess cards lit a fire under collectors.

The hobby was beginning to get organized, and communication among collector groups was fairly fluid considering this was way before the advent of the Internet.

With only one major set — Topps — available each year, hobbyists were hungry for more and were quick to chase the Hostess cards. There were various reports of guys filling their freezers with box after box of Hostess goodies in the hopes that they or their family would eventually slug them all down without causing irreparable damage to their health.

You have to figure that some of these boxes were eventually gutted of their freezer-burned contents, but the cards were most likely clipped carefully away and stored in more reasonable climes for safe keeping.

These days, you can find 1976 Hostess baseball cards on eBay in decent quantities and reasonable condition, with most singles available for a few bucks, complete panels under $20, and complete sets for well under $200.

Heck, you can even find the special album designed to hold the cards, available by send-in offer, for around $10.

Quite a tasty proposition for 40-year-old cards that put you in the mood for a celebration … don’t you think?

1976 Hostess Baseball Cards Album

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1976 Hostess Checklist

1 Fred Lynn

2 Joe Morgan

3 Phil Niekro

4 Gaylord Perry

5 Bob Watson

6 Bill Freehan

7 Lou Brock

8 Al Fitzmorris

9 Rennie Stennett

10 Tony Oliva

11 Robin Yount

12 Rick Manning

13 Bob Grich

14 Terry Forster

15 Dave Kingman

16 Thurman Munson

17 Rick Reuschel

18 Bobby Bonds

19 Steve Garvey

20 Vida Blue

21 Dave Rader

22 Johnny Bench

23 Luis Tiant

24 Darrell Evans

25 Larry Dierker

26 Willie Horton

27 John Ellis

28 Al Cowens

29 Jerry Reuss

30 Reggie Smith

31 Bobby Darwin

32 Fritz Peterson

33 Rod Carew

34 Carlos May

35 Tom Seaver

36 Brooks Robinson

37 Jose Cardenal

38 Ron Blomberg

39 Leroy Stanton

40 Dave Cash

41 John Montefusco

42 Bob Tolan

43 Carl Morton

44 Rick Burleson

45 Don Gullett

46 Vern Ruhle

47 Cesar Cedeno

48 Toby Harrah

49 Willie Stargell

50 Al Hrabosky

51 Amos Otis

52 Bud Harrelson

53 Jim Hughes

54 George Scott

55 Mike Vail

56 Jim Palmer

57 Jorge Orta

58 Chris Chambliss

59 Dave Chalk

60 Ray Burris

61 Bert Campaneris

62 Gary Carter

63 Ron Cey

64 Carlton Fisk

65 Marty Perez

66 Pete Rose

67 Roger Metzger

68 Jim Sundberg

69 Ron LeFlore

70 Ted Sizemore

71 Steve Busby

72 Manny Sanguillen

73 Larry Hisle

74 Pete Broberg

75 Boog Powell

76 Ken Singleton

77 Goose Gossage

78 Jerry Grote

79 Nolan Ryan

80 Rick Monday

81 Graig Nettles

82 Chris Speier

83 Dave Winfield

84 Mike Schmidt

85 Buzz Capra

86 Tony Perez

87 Dwight Evans

88 Mike Hargrove

89 Joe Coleman

90 Greg Gross

91 John Mayberry

92 John Candelaria

93 Bake McBride

94 Hank Aaron

95 Buddy Bell

96 Steve Braun

97 Jon Matlack

98 Lee May

99 Wilbur Wood

100 Bill Madlock

101 Frank Tanana

102 Mickey Rivers

103 Mike Ivie

104 Rollie Fingers

105 Davey Lopes

106 George Foster

107 Denny Doyle

108 Earl Williams

109 Tom Veryzer

110 J.R. Richard

111 Jeff Burroughs

112 Al Oliver

113 Ted Simmons

114 George Brett

115 Frank Duffy

116 Bert Blyleven

117 Darrell Porter

118 Don Baylor

119 Bucky Dent

120 Felix Millan

121 Mike Cuellar

122 Gene Tenace

123 Bobby Murcer

124 Willie McCovey

125 Greg Luzinski

126 Larry Parrish

127 Jim Rice

128 Dave Concepcion

129 Jim Wynn

130 Tom Grieve

131 Mike Cosgrove

132 Dan Meyer

133 Dave Parker

134 Don Kessinger

135 Hal McRae

136 Don Money

137 Dennis Eckersley

138 Fergie Jenkins

139 Mike Torrez

140 Jerry Morales

141 Jim Hunter

142 Gary Matthews

143 Randy Jones

144 Mike Jorgensen

145 Larry Bowa

146 Reggie Jackson

147 Steve Yeager

148 Dave May

149 Carl Yastrzemski

150 Cesar Geronimo

 

 

 

1976 HOSTESS BASEBALL PANEL 124, 125, 126 * NMT-MT *

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1976 Hostess Regional Baseball Cards (5) - Regional Larger - Thicker Cards #1

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1976 Hostess Baseball Card Complete Set

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1976 HOSTESS BASEBALL CARDS LOT OF 54 NICE AARON,RYAN,ROSE,JACKSON

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1976 HOSTESS BASEBALL PANEL STEVE CARLTON-RON CEY-DARRELL PORTER MINT *INV5813

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1976 Hostess 3-Player Baseball Panel Carlton Fisk Marty Perez Pete Rose Red Sox

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1974 THRU 1976 HOSTESS CAKES BASEBALL CARD LOT 8 DIFFERENT W/ HALL OF FAMERS

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Hostess Baseball 1976 #74 Broberg, 1978 #59 Johnson & 1979 #72 Reggie Smith

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1976 Hostess Cup Cake Complete Box With Panel George Brett

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Al Oliver Ted Simmons George Brett 1976 Hostess 3-Player Baseball Panel

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1976 Hostess 3-Player Baseball Panel Chris Speier Dave Winfield Mike Schmidt HOF

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