I Actually Went Out of My Way to Get Some Milton Bradley Cards
May 14th, 2011 by slangon

No, not that Milton Bradley. This one.

I recently scored a lot of 1969 Milton Bradley baseball cards. For those unfamiliar with these, according to the old Standard Card Catalog:

The first of three sets issued by Milton Bradley over a four year period, these cards measure 2″x3″ and have a white border surrounding a black-and-white player photo. The player’s name appears above the photo in capital letters. There are no team designations and the photos are airbrushed to eliminate team logos. Backs display biographical data along the top followed by a list of various game situations used in the playing the board game. The cards have square corners.

The lot that I got was 9 cards and included some guys who were a little more prominent than Roy White up there.

I was particularly happy about the Buddy Harrelson card, for obvious reasons. There was also a couple of guys even more prominent than those three.

As cool as all of those cards are, one has to stand out as the best of the bunch. That one is:

Milton Bradley also issued a baseball game complete with cards in 1970 and 1972. The ’70 version was quite a bit different as it had the player’s name and biographical data on the front underneath the photo as well as rounded corners. The 1972 edition, however was virtually identical to the 1969 version, with one slight difference that I’d be willing to bet has led to many ’72 cards being passed off as ’69 cards, whether intentionally or not. Again, we go to the SCC:

The 1969 and 1972 game cards are virtually identical in format. They can be differentiated by looking on the back at any numeral “1” in a line of red type. If the “1” does not have a base, it is a 1969 card; if there is a base, the card is a 1972.

Let’s take a look at the back of Buddy Harrelson’s card.

If you look at the 5th line, “Single”, you see that the “1” in “RA1” has no line at the bottom (that’s a serif, if anyone cares). If you look a little further down at the 7th line, “Bunt Out”, you see that the “1” in “RA1” does have a line. I guess if this were a 1972 card, both would have lines. I wonder why they mixed the fonts on the 1969 version in the first place.

The game itself was pretty interesting. Apparently it was Milton Bradley’s version of Strat-O-Matic or APBA.

The game consisted of a playing field, a couple of dice, some wooden markers and 296 cards, plus a few other pieces and papers and whatnot.

Apparently, you and your buddy would begin the game by picking teams of 12 players, consisting of a catcher, a pitcher, 4 infielders, 3 outfielders and some combination of pinch hitters and relief pitchers. You could play by team, as in I’m being the Mets, you can be the Cubs. Oddly enough, the directions clearly call for 12 players, but according to the checklist, not all teams have 12 players represented, so I’m not sure what happens if you were to pick say the Expos, who only had 7 players in the set. You could also play by League, as in I’m going to be the National League and you can be the American League. I assume in this case you just pick basically an All-Star team for each league. The final way the directions suggest is to just pick sides like you would in gym class.

After picking your team, you place their cards in slots on either side of the field to represent your batting order. After rolling a die to determine who the home team is, the game begins. You put the screen (the red and white thingie with what looks to be Tom Seaver on it) standing up in the center of the yellow section of the board with Tom facing the pitching teams side. Apparently, on the other side of the screen is a picture of a batter. Anyway, once the screen is in place, each player turns the dial to put the black dot in either the left, right or center hole. I guess that represents the pitch location and where the batter is looking for a pitch.

Once both players are ready, the screen is removed and depending on how the dots line up is what the result of the pitch was. If they’re connected by a blue band (as seen on the yellow section above) it’s a ball and if they’re connected by red, it’s a strike.┬áIf both dots are directly across, it means the batter hit the ball. If that happens, the manager of the batting team rolls 2 dice and refers to back of the players card to determine the outcome. For example, if we look at the Bud Harrelson card back above and I ended up rolling double sixes, then Buddy just hit one out of the park. Apparently, the numbers and letters on the right of the card tell you what happens to any runners who happen to be on at the time, which don’t matter in this case since all the runners advance back to the dugout because they all scored.

By no means would I ever even think about trying to collect this set (or really even go out of my way to acquire any more of them) but all in all it’s a bunch of pretty cool looking cards of some pretty great players. I’m always glad to pick up some odd ball vintage so I at least have one example in my collection.

6 Responses to “I Actually Went Out of My Way to Get Some Milton Bradley Cards”

  1. Great post but you scared me with that title. Good job.

  2. And I was ready to send you a whole stack of Milton Bradley cards ! Those are really cool.I’m going to have to search for some of them for my sample card collection. Maybe I’ll send the other Bradley cards to Eric Wedge whiles he’s here in Cleveland !

  3. I love those Milton Bradley Cards (I also like the player since he played for a while on the Nationals and a couple of other teams I like). I have a small handful of the Milton Bradley game cards that at first I thought were really hard to get, but with the internet they are a little easier to find but sometimes a little costly. I really should make a list of the few I’ve got and then try finding the rest.

  4. I actually still have about 80 to 100 of these 1969 vintage cards even Tom Seaver and Willie Mays with many other Hall of Famers and I figured I search to see if anyone else knew about them. Back in the day we actually split a division each NL E NL W AL E AL W then played a six team division scheduled as a full season the top 4 teams of each league met in the playoffs . We simplified it by just using dice and setting the line ups for each team 4 kids just passing time but organized lol I guess I should keep em and look to find the rest .

  5. I’m working on completing the 1969 and 1972 sets. Just for informational purposes, the ONLY difference between the 1969 and 1972 cards is that it’s just the RED #1s on the back of the 1972s that have the base. The BLACK #1s have the base on bothe the 1969s and the 1972s. The team cards are hard to get if you don’t have the entire game — especially the 1969 Seattle Pilots (their only year) and the 1972 Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.

  6. My dad game me over 4000 ball cards to go through and either keep or sell. I have a box of 224 of the 1969 cards that I just sat down to price. I was thinking of getting rid of them. I have enjoyed going through them as a piece of his history and something that he really enjoyed collecting.

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