Thursday, July 6, 2017

1989 Bimbo Cookies Super Stars Discs

Bimbo Bakeries is a Mexico City-based multinational bakery known as Grupo Bimbo that is said to be the world's largest bakery. The company was started in 1945 in Mexico City, perhaps coming about as the result of a name change from "Super Pan" (that's super bread in Spanish) and grew quickly to become a huge corporation. 

The name "Bimbo" -- despite its less savory connotations here in the US -- has an etymology that is checkered at best. Wikipedia says that the most likely hypothesis is that it is a mashup of the word bingo and Bambi, though it may also mean baby in Italian and it might sound like the word that means bread in China.

Bimbo entered the US market in 1986 with the purchase of Pacific Pride Bakeries in San Diego. Since 1986, Grupo Bimbo has purchased Mrs. Baird's Bakeries in Texas and, later, the rights to brands such as Oroweat, Entenmann's, Thomas's (the English Muffins), and Boboli. That established Bimbo in the western US, and its purchase of Weston Foods in 2008 made it the largest bakery company in the United States. 

These days, Bimbo is known for all of the brands above and for owning Sara Lee. In addition, Bimbo sponsors the Philadelphia Union in MLS, Rochester Rhinos in the USL, Chivas de Guadalajara, Club América, and C.F. Monterrey in the Mexican soccer league, and C.D. Saprissa in Costa Rica.

When this disc set was issued in 1989, Bimbo was attempting to get its name recognized more. Now, the 2011 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards notes that this disc set was distributed "in Puerto Rico in boxes of cookies." I do not know what Bimbo's history in Puerto Rico is, but focusing on baseball was not a bad idea.


With only 12 discs in a set issued only for one year, my choices are limited.

As mentioned above, this set contains a total of 12 players. While the Standard Catalog says that the set contains a "dozen Hispanic players," a little bit of research online reveals that the set actually includes a dozen Puerto Rican players. The discs are 2-3/4" in diameter and are licensed only by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Michael Schechter Associates printed and licensed these discs. As is typical for MSA discs starting in 1975 and ending when MSA stopped getting licensed by MLBPA, these cards do not include logos. Interestingly, this must have been before MLB started protecting its trademarks in team names since the discs include the team names in full on each. 

The Bimbo bear appears at the top center of the disc. This bear is apparently the most well-known trademark for Bimbo, and Bimbo markets plush stuffed animals of the bear as a collectible for kids as well. Indeed, there are a ton more Bimbo bears on eBay than there are Bimbo discs.

Stats on these discs are lacking, as is also typical of MSA. You can see that you get the very basics -- at bats, hits, homers, RBI, and average for the most recent year (1988) and for the player's career.

With this being a small set, I'll give you the checklist:
1 Carmelo Martinez
2 Candy Maldonado
3 Benito Santiago
4 Rey Quinones
5 Jose Oquendo
6 Ruben Sierra
7 Jose Lind
8 Juan Beniquez
9 Willie Hernandez
10 Juan Nieves
11 Jose Guzman
12 Roberto Alomar

The only Hall of Famer out of the twelve is Roberto Alomar.

Trading Card Database does not list any errors or variations.

As Jeff Katz, the Mayor of Cooperstown and author of Split Season: 1981 Fernandomania, The Bronx Zoo and The Strike That Saved Baseball noted to me on Twitter, the Roberto Alomar disc actually is a photo of his brother Sandy Alomar. At this point, I'll call that an uncorrected error.

This is the type of set that this blog is actually aimed toward highlighting: the regional set about which people may not know that is tough to find and which includes a Brewer. I have never seen that Juan Nieves disc before, though I think that it may be the same photo that MSA used for the 1989 version of the Gardner's Bakery Milwaukee Brewers set.

Oddballs like this really appeal to me because the chase -- the hunt -- is as much of the fun as having the card. For example, on eBay, there is literally only one disc available: Jose Oquendo. The seller, "cardinalcollector," is asking $3.99 plus $2.75 shipping from Columbia, Missouri. I found a Ruben Sierra on another site, for what it is worth.

This is also the type of oddball that can separate a player collector from a hardcore player collector. Finding one of these discs becomes very important to being a supercollector. 

So, do any of you have any of these discs? If so, how did you get it? Where did you find it? More importantly, does anyone have a Juan Nieves to trade to me!?


  1. Excellent post. I wish I had the Bimbo you want. I always wondered what MSA stood for and it never even occurred to me to look it up. The raised eyebrows you'll get when you tell people, "I've started collecting Bimbo's..."

  2. Never have seen these. No surprise I guess given that there are no Astros in the set although the Bimbo brand is pretty well known in Houston. No Orioles either, at least guys listed as Orioles. Beniquez and Alomar were Birds before and after this set.

    These 'unlicensed' sets that used the team nickname seem less 'unlicensed' somehow.