Vintage ‘Ed-U-Card’ Game Delivers Big-League Fun

For all photos, click to enlarge

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from membership card designer Scott M.X. Turner, who’s going to tell us about a vintage sports collectible that he recently acquired after seeing it listed in our own “Collector’s Corner” column. Enjoy! — PL]

By Scott M.X. Turner

Brinke Guthrie’s “Collector’s Corner” is a repository of eBay goodness. I usually manage to resist the enticing offerings he features, but recently he linked to something that was just too good and too inexpensive, so I snapped it up.

The item in question was a card-based baseball game called — wait for it — Baseball. It appeared to date back to the 1960s. Some of the cards shown in the eBay listing featured basic baseball scenes, like these:

The rest of the cards — and this was the real selling point for me — featured Mr. Met. I figured maybe I’d frame the Mr. Met cards, or possibly give them away to fellow Mets fans:

Now that I’ve received the cards from the eBay seller, I’ve learned that the game was manufactured by a New York-based company called Ed-U-Cards. That’s about as classic a mid-century company name as you’ll ever find, and they had a classic mid-century logo to go with it:

It turns out that the batch of cards I received is made up of two separate Baseball decks: The generic cards were the standard set, and Ed-U also released a special Mr. Met edition. According to this useful Wiki page, the original game debuted in the late 1940s, while the Mets edition looks to date from the early 1960s. (There were also versions for at least three other teams: the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Red Sox.)
 
My collection is missing some cards from each version (the one wayward Mr. Met card, sadly, is the Home Run card). On the plus side, if you scroll back up and look at the Mr. Met cards, you’ll see that the expressions on his face when things go wrong are priceless. For example:

• The oddly-named “hit-by-pitcher” card (who else would hit the batter?): Can Mr. Met even get hit anywhere other than his giant noggin?

• The strike card: Mr. Met’s frustrated resignation is so, so on-brand.

• The stolen base card: He’s oversliding that sack. Classic Amazin’s.

• And the best is the balk card’s utterly sheepish expression. Mr. Met is praying hard that if only everyone in the stadium didn’t see him balk, then he’ll do whatever God wants of him for the rest of his days.

The big treat for the standard set is on the back of the cards, which feature a flipbook-style animation of a pitcher tossing a pitch and then fielding a ball hit back to him:

Unfortunately, several cards from my standard set are missing, so the flip-motion is a bit choppy, but you can still get the idea:

And how does the game itself play? Enjoyably, hypnotically, unrealistically, at least for this participant. It wasn’t exciting, but it was also hard to stop playing. And if you like shuffling cards, this is the game for you.
 
The game is 100% chance. There’s no opportunity to choose different approaches, to announce an attempted steal and then see if the next card determines you’re out. Instead, you might draw a stolen-base card whether you entertained that notion or not. It’s a baseball version of the card game War.
 
A player keeps drawing cards until an at-bat is completed. Could be a single card with a base hit or a fly out, could be several cards involving a full count. After each at-bat, the player on offense shuffles the cards.

So … much … shuffling.

Also, Ed-U-Cards may not have fully vetted the game’s appeal when they insisted it’s for one to nine players.
 
The game was originally sold with a fold-out sheet of paper printed with rules and a baseball diamond (as shown in the photo at the top of this page). This wasn’t included with my cards, so I drew one myself, giving it a dopey, non-corporate name to celebrate Uni Watch and New Orleans, where I live:

If you draw a single, you place that card on first base. Draw a stolen-base card, you slide your base-hit card to second. This alters your card-draw chances because those cards are taken out of the deck for that inning’s subsequent at-bats, or until they come around the bases and score.

For a test drive, my wife and I played a game. We discovered after a few innings that using the entire batch of cards I received, mixed from two separate sets, resulted in an artificially high-scoring slugfest. (After I removed the excess cards, the game played much truer to life.) Here’s the scorecard for our one-game series between the Lyin’ Cheatin’ Astros and the Climate Chaos Mets. I made a few modifications to how I usually score a ballgame:

Ed-U-Cards Baseball is no Strat-O-Matic or Sports Illustrated Baseball. (The 1972 version of the latter, with team sheets based on the 1971 season, is the best baseball board game ever. Come play me when you’re in New Orleans.) Ed-U-Cards is, however, a fun, undemanding pastime. Good for playing with kids who are just starting to like the game. And much like attending a real baseball game, it leaves plenty of room for conversation, which is one of the real pleasures of baseball, in any form.

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner    
By Brinke Guthrie
    

Leading off with this 1960s Brownies item, a helmet bottle opener. Never seen one of these before — and with the phantom “CB” logo to boot!

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Here’s an “extremely rare” 1960s San Francisco Giants ashtray. Wish they’d bring that logo back!

• This Big-Time Baseball book is from 1961 and includes “thrilling diamond episodes,” “greatest all-time records,” and “pictures of today’s stars.” Beat that with a stick!

• I can promise you that this is the first time I’ve ever included Avon Sure Winner Baseball Hair Trainer in Collector’s Corner. Train your hair? To do what, exactly? “This listing is an exclusive item from the collection of sports author Billy Staples.” Well then!

• Tube socks were alive and well in the 1980s, and here’s a pair featuring the Los Angeles Dodgers logo.

• Staying with the Dodgers — but from their Brooklyn era — here’s a 1955 Golden Stamp Book featuring “32 picture stamps of baseball players in full color, plus their batting averages and life stories, team history, seating plan of the ballpark, and 32 black-and-white drawings.” All for 50 cents!

• How ’bout dem (crocheted) Cowboys! Here we have DIY crocheted versions of Roger Staubach and an NFL referee. Another Collector’s Corner first!

• Artist extraordinaire Nick Volpe painted this 1970 “Pro Star Portrait” of ABA Kentucky Colonels star Cincy Powell. (I had the thermal cup collection and probably the poster too, from your neighborhood Marathon Oil dealer! I also had Cincy’s autograph from when my dad sat next to him on a plane.)

• Take a look at this Green Bay Packers lighter. It says “World’s Champion” on it, with a rather odd-looking helmet depiction as well.

• Very nice helmet logos shown on this 1983 NFL Sticker Album.

• If you’re an Atlanta Falcons fan looking for an undrilled bowling ball with the Falcons and NFL logos, I have just what you’re looking for.

Got an item to include on Collector’s Corner? Tweet submissions to @brinkeguthrie.

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Question Time reminder In case you missed it on Monday, I’m now taking queries for the next round of Question Time, the “Ask Me Anything”-style series where I respond to your questions.

As always, the ground rules are as follows:

• One question per person.

• You can ask me about uniforms, about Uni Watch, about sports in general, or just about me.

• No question is out of bounds, but I reserve the right to ignore questions that I think are too personal.

• I usually receive more questions than I have the time or resources to answer, so apologies in advance if I don’t get to yours.

With all that in mind, email your question — again, just one per person — to the Question Time address. (Please note that this is not the usual Uni Watch email address.) I’ll respond to them in a new Question Time installment soon. Thanks!

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Reader Derick Sears points out that the Nationals pulled off the unlikely trick of wearing four different uniform combinations in the span of three games over the weekend. That’s because they switched uniforms Sunday when they resumed Saturday night’s game after a shooting near the ballpark. … Todd Frazier may not be on an MLB roster at the moment, but he was well represented on fan jerseys during last night’s Mets/Reds game in Cincinnati. … Staying in Cincy: I couldn’t grab a photo, but Reds C Tyler Stephenson suffered a serious pants tear early in last night’s game. … Twins C Mitch Garver, who took a foul ball to the groin in June, was activated from the IL yesterday. A Twins beat writer quoted him as wearing a new cup “made of Kevlar and epoxy that can ‘stop a bullet.'” (From @LeSabot). … The Hartford Yard Goats, the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate, wore hockey sweater-inspired jerseys on Sunday for Hartford Whalers Alumni Day (from Jeff Schleicher). … Here’s something you don’t often see: Angels P Shohei Ohtani wore grey sleeves under his grey road jersey last night, instead of the team’s usual red base layer. That photo also gives a good view of how the umps’ new ads look on one of their windbreaker tops (from Alex Gleitz).

NFL News: A Browns blog has a deep dive on the team’s new potential alternate uniform design, which will likely be unveiled on July 24 (from Phil). … Interesting move by Pro Football Magazine, which chose to use an old photo of Titans RB Derrick Henry in an outdated uniform design for the cover of its 2021 season preview issue (from Sam McAnally). … Back in March, KC announced they were selling the naming rights to Arrowhead Stadium. Yesterday, they removed the exterior “Arrowhead” sign from the stadium’s scoreboard to prepare for the renaming (from Timmy Donahue). … Also from Timmy: Falcons K Younghoe Koo had his car stolen and asked the thief to return his cleats. … With the U.S. pulling out of Afghanistan, military personnel have been scrambling to save mementos and historical artifacts, including a framed Pat Tillman Cardinals jersey that was displayed at Bagram Airfield. According to that linked article, “The Tillman jersey is now at USO headquarters in Arlington, Va. It may be sent later to Arizona, where [Tillman’s] family and foundation are based, the USO said” (from Timmy Donahue).

College Football News: Quite the name for the first (D-III) bowl game to be held in Wisconsin: the Culver’s Isthmus Bowl (from Joel Mathwig). … We have our first look at Akron’s new uniforms, which will be manufactured by Nike. They’ve been wearing Adidas uniforms for the past several seasons (from Jacob Farrar). … Milford High School in Ohio has sold the naming rights to its football stadium (from Timmy Donahue). … The MAC has a new 75th-anniversary logo.

Hockey News: The Allen Americans of the ECHL are holding a jersey design contest (from @StarsAsylum). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Hartford’s minor league baseball team, the Yard Goats, wore hockey sweater-inspired jerseys on Sunday for Hartford Whalers Alumni Day (from Jeff Schleicher).

Basketball News: A Bucks fan has designed player prayer cards in the style of old Catholic icons in advance of tonight’s Game Six of the NBA Finals (from Jeff Ash).

Soccer News: Italian side Sassuolo has a new second shirt (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Staying in Italy, Serie C has a new ball design (from Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: New shirts for FC Tokyo. … The Athletic (hard paywall) has a deep dive on why the world loves soccer shirts (from John Flory). … New jerseys for Russian Premier League club Akhmat Grozny (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: New badge for Ukrainian side FC Lviv. … Adidas printed the wrong ad on the away jerseys for second-tier German club Hamburger SV, meaning the shirts will be unavailable for the beginning of next season, so the team will have to wear this year’s shirts for the first few games (from Greg Phillips). … All-Stars from MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX will face off in an exhibition next month. Here’s what the Liga MX All-Stars will wear (from @Link73). … Two more from Ed Zelaski: New home shirts for Dynamo Moscow and new kits for Polish club Korona Kielce, which is now being outfitted by 4F.

Olympics News: U.S. flag bearers at the Opening Ceremonies on Friday will have a “cooling device” built into their jackets to battle the expected scorching temperatures. “How about — I dunno, stay with me here — just don’t wear the jackets when it’s 90 degrees?” says Akul Nishawala  (also from Brinke). … Olympic torchbearers have been wearing shirts and shorts made from recycled plastic bottles (from Phil). … English para-athlete Olivia Breen says she was admonished by officials at a meet on Sunday for wearing shorts that were “too revealing.” Jamie Rathjen finds this “ironic,” given that, as we Ticked on Sunday and Monday, Norway’s women’s beach handball club was recently admonished for wearing shorts that weren’t revealing enough. … Here’s what Japanese athletes competing in the modern pentathlon will wear at the Olympics (from Jeremy Brahm).

Grab Bag: New home uniforms for Japanese men’s volleyball club team Sakai Blazers (from Jeremy Brahm). … Pittsburgh plans to paint its fire engines grey to match the new paint scheme for its police cruisers (from Dane Drutis). … The SEC came up with a Band-Aid-style logo as part of a campaign to encourage Covid vaccinations (from James Gilbert). … Dell Michaels found a bunch of great sports photos from the 1942 West Virginia University yearbook. … At a Kentucky state legislative hearing earlier this month, a state lawmaker voiced concerns about the U. of Kentucky’s continued use of checkerboard in its athletics uniforms (from Josh Claywell). … A Tennessee WWII veteran was presented with a new uniform and medals after he lost all of his possessions in a house fire (from Timmy Donahue). … Uni Watchers, how well did everyone do on this BuzzFeed car logo quiz? … This story investigates how CNN managed to render a plus sign in its familiar inlined font for the branding of its new CNN+ streaming service.

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I’ll be announcing some big Uni Watch news around 11am Eastern today. I’ll tweet about it (here’s my Twitter feed, in case you want to keep an eye on it), and here it is. I realize you may have many questions about this — I promise to answer them here on the blog tomorrow. See you then. — Paul

35 comments to Vintage ‘Ed-U-Card’ Game Delivers Big-League Fun

  • BvK | July 20, 2021 at 8:57 am |

    Correction/edit in The Tocker:

    “A Bucks fan has designed player prayer cards in the style of old Catholic relics in advance of tonight’s Game Six of the NBA Finals (from Jeff Ash).”

    Those aren’t relics, they’re icons. Relics are the preserved body parts of dead saints. Icons are sacred images (usually paintings) of important religious figures.

    • Paul Lukas | July 20, 2021 at 9:01 am |

      Thanks, Kary. Now fixed.

    • Jim Vilk | July 20, 2021 at 6:26 pm |

      The NBA finals are not sacred. This is highly inappropriate.

      Cancel me if you want, but if you care about Native American imagery being misused, you should be above this kind of thing as well.

      • Jim Vilk | July 20, 2021 at 6:37 pm |

        but if you care about Native American imagery being misused

        And you should, as I do.

        • Jim Vilk | July 20, 2021 at 6:39 pm |

          And I know you do, so that isn’t in question,just to be clear.

  • Ron Ruelle | July 20, 2021 at 9:07 am |

    Given a choice between Kansas City having a football field with an indigenously appropriated name, or a new corporate sponsor… “I’m calling it Lamar Stadium!”

  • BcK | July 20, 2021 at 9:08 am |

    Great lede today, Scott! Thanks for sharing the details of that cool baseball board game! The artwork on the cards is great. I find Mr. Met’s giant baseball head rendered in flesh tones to be both fascinating and creepy at the same time.

    Best baseball board game ever, I’m my opinion: Pursue the Pennant. I just about wore my copy out in the late ’80s. I came one out away from pitching a no-hitter with Dwight Gooden in one game, and felt almost as disappointed when it got broken up in the bottom of the ninth as when I’ve seen a pitcher lose a no-hitter in a real-life Major League game.

  • Greg | July 20, 2021 at 9:24 am |

    “The Allen Americans of the ECHL are holding a jersey design contest”
    So this seems to happen from time to time in the minors, but I am curious to what extent the majors actually consider fan designs and input. I understand to some extent they have focus groups give their opinion on designs they (or their firms) come up with. However given all the excellent fan logo and uniform concepts out there, ranging from entirely new to minor tweaks, the big 4 would really be doing themselves a favor by soliciting fan designs too.

  • R. Scott Rogers | July 20, 2021 at 9:34 am |

    Great lead today, Scott! Thanks for sharing.

    Of particular note to me is that this depiction of Mr. Met features the mascot wearing a hat that the actual team does not wear. In this case, royal with contrasting orange front panels and an orange bill. Normally, Mr. Met is among the minority of mascots who wear the their teams’ real, actual hat.

    • Paul Lukas | July 20, 2021 at 9:36 am |

      Actually, the original depictions of Mr. Met all showed him wearing an orange-brimmed cap that didn’t match the team’s on-field cap:
      https://farm9.static.flickr.com/8429/7725411266_aae8b2b219_o.png

      • R. Scott Rogers | July 20, 2021 at 12:30 pm |

        Thanks! Par for the mascot-exclusive cap that I like the original Mr. Met’s cap better than the team’s actual cap. Which is among the best-looking caps in MLB history, so not a knock on the Mets’ caps. Instead of bringing back the ugly black uniform elements, the Mets should adopt an orange brim for Fridays or Sundays or whatever occasion they feel the need to dress for.

  • Tom | July 20, 2021 at 9:50 am |

    I remember seeing Ed-U-Cards in elementary school. But they were for reading and math, not baseball. Had they been sports related we’d probably had done nothing else.

  • Bat Manuel | July 20, 2021 at 9:57 am |

    The Pro Football Magazine is Athlon’s annual pro football preview magazine. They are made with multiple covers for NFL markets.

    • Paul Lukas | July 20, 2021 at 10:42 am |

      Right, but that doesn’t explain why they’d use a photo that’s several years out of date.

  • Chris Weber | July 20, 2021 at 10:44 am |

    32/32 on the car logo quiz, even though Buzz used the old logo for Dodge, which is soon to be going retro with its brand logo in 2024. -C.

    • Long time, first time | July 20, 2021 at 4:47 pm |

      Same here.

  • JD | July 20, 2021 at 10:45 am |

    So they want to paint the firetrucks grey. The firetrucks that are used in emergencies and are often parked on roads, often in the dark. so they want to make them a background color. genius.

    • Joe Werner | July 20, 2021 at 12:42 pm |

      Same state, but completely unrelated to the City of Pittsburgh and its fire trucks: A few years ago, the PA State Police started repainting their cars gray. Yes, this will make the cars a little less visible when they are trying to hide out of sight from speeders, but it also makes them a little harder to see when they are stopped on the side of the road pulling over an offender, or parked at an incident.

    • Tom V. | July 20, 2021 at 1:21 pm |

      I would think the plethora of flashing lights would make any vehicle visible in even the worst of conditions, no matter what color the actual vehicle was painted.

  • Matt | July 20, 2021 at 10:49 am |

    The card game sounds very similar to a game Topps sold the past few years with various baseball players on it. My son has it – the “baseball version of war” made me think of it.

  • Dumb Guy | July 20, 2021 at 11:05 am |

    As I was scrolling down my flashbacks kept getting deeper and deeper with the card lede.

    First the look of the cards (hmmm, familiar)
    Then the Name (Edu-Cards)
    Then the logo (WOW!)
    Then the flip-book! Holy schneikees!! My head exploded! i haven’t seen or thought about those (Edu-Cards) for decades!!

    The Flip-book part is clearly the selling pint!!

  • Zach | July 20, 2021 at 11:13 am |

    Is it possible to subscribe to a “Bulletin” feed without a Facebook account or supporting Facebook in any real way? Deleted all of my related social media a few years ago after feeling gross about Facebook’s constant attempts to monetize my data.

    • Paul Lukas | July 20, 2021 at 11:15 am |

      All your questions answered tomorrow, I promise — patience.

      • Zach | July 20, 2021 at 11:18 am |

        Sounds good – was able to get subscribed with an email. Congrats!

  • Block "O Canada" | July 20, 2021 at 1:06 pm |

    “That photo also gives a good view of how the umps’ new ads look on one of their windbreaker tops”

    I despise seeing those ads on umpires. To lessen my disappointment, I pretend that the ad is a memorial patch for an umpire with the initials “FTX.”

  • Scott | July 20, 2021 at 1:27 pm |

    The “odd-looking (Packers) helmet depiction” was a frequently used design in the 1960s. https://sports.ha.com/itm/football-collectibles/others/1960-s-green-bay-packers-titletown-usa-24-inch-broadside/a/151312-44197.s

  • NickBob | July 20, 2021 at 2:01 pm |

    Seattle Kracken released pics of their sweater yesterday.

    https://www.nhl.com/kraken/video/seattle-kraken-adidas-sweater/t-304858646/c-5390586

    They also announced that some of their new players from the expansion draft will model home & away tomorrow.

    • Wade Heidt | July 20, 2021 at 7:18 pm |

      This release by the Kraken has been strange. I have seen recent articles that the Kraken are offering a “sneak peak” at the jerseys which will finally be available for sale in Sept. I think COVID related delays are part of the jersey not being available sooner? We first saw what the jersey would look like in July 2020.

      When I look at it, the jersey colours remind me of what an updated version of the old Canucks Orca jersey in the navy blue, sky blue and dark red might have become.

      https://www.gamewornauctions.net/images/products/9b3edcac28e7bd93.jpg

      A little jealous as a Canucks fan to think about the players available in the expansion draft to the team just south of us.

      The hated rivalry is starting.

      (P.S. Kraken – please draft Loui Eriksson from the Canucks)

  • Michael | July 20, 2021 at 3:14 pm |

    The uniform the Bucs gave Biden today is such a stark example of how far NFL uni design has come in just the last 20 years. Not a sleeve in sight.

  • Josh | July 20, 2021 at 3:37 pm |

    Not sure if the bulletproof cup that Mitch Garver is wearing is the same one, but Yadi Molina began wearing one in 2018 after suffering a major injury requiring surgery in that area.
    https://sports.yahoo.com/cardinals-buy-bulletproof-athletic-cups-yadier-molinas-groin-injury-200546733.html

  • GH | July 20, 2021 at 3:57 pm |

    I had a similar baseball card game like that, made in the 80s. Also had a football game from the same company. They weren’t flashy games but they were fun. Wish I still had them.

  • Scott | July 20, 2021 at 6:07 pm |

    The Yard Goats were doing their annual Whalers weekend, so presumably the team wore hockey-inspired jerseys Friday through Sunday, and not just on Sunday.

  • Patrick in MI | July 20, 2021 at 6:08 pm |

    Just a note of thanks to Paul and Ron. I received my Brooklyn Branches shirt in the mail today. Big smile!

    That image of Mr. Met getting beaned made me chuckle. How meta, a baseball-head guy getting hit by a baseball.

  • Joanna Zwiep | July 20, 2021 at 6:46 pm |

    Here is a photo of Stephenson’s pants tear:

    https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/detail-view-of-a-hole-in-the-pants-of-tyler-stephenson-of-news-photo/1329730361

    ———————————-

    In Sunday night’s Red Sox/Yankees game, Yankees OF Ryan LaMarre slid into second base and his pant leg rode up à la James McCann (https://uni-watch.com/2021/06/01/met-marks-memorable-mask-milestone-maybe/). LaMarre though was wearing shorts, not full-length tights under his pants. His slide can be seen about halfway through this video:

    https://www.mlb.com/video/darwinzon-hernandez-ball-to-greg-allen-dy2mqm

  • Mike C. | July 20, 2021 at 9:55 pm |

    Speaking of baseball card games, I’m old enough to remember buying a bunch of Topps cards in 1978, the year when, instead of a factoid cartoon, they would have a box with a play result, so you could play a game with them much like the Ed-U-Cards game. I remember taking a stack of them and playing games where I matched up MLB teams.