1989 TOPPS/LJN RANDY MYERS
On this date in 1989, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel was in its second week at the top of the Billboard charts, having supplanted Milli Vanilli’s “Blame It on the Rain” at the number one spot. Christmas 1989 was to see “Another Day in Paradise” become Phil Collins’ seventh and final chart topper.
So all things considered, I would have preferred to spend that December curled up with a Sports Talk Player, listening to this Topps/LJN Randy Myers card.
Topps teamed with toymaker LJN to produce these “talking” cards for just the one year– early in 1990, LJN was sold to videogame maker Acclaim and the company abandoned the toy market.
The set contained 163 current and retired player cards, along with a checklist. This Randy Myers card carries a different front photo than his regular-issue 1989 card; the bottom half of the card back is essentially the same, but for a unique card number and a line that reads “New York Mets 1988 N.L. East Champs.”
The top half of the card back is where things get really funky. There is a square, clear-plastic overlay that contains a small circular section, upon which fine grooves are imprinted. This is the section that would be placed face down in the Sports Talk Player in order to listen to the card.
The sound quality on these cards is not exactly hi-fi, and amounts to approximately two minutes of highly compressed, out-of-pitch audio. The content is mostly players sharing career highlights, along with old radio calls of noteworthy plays, all hosted by the seemingly helium-fed Joe Torre and Don Drysdale.
The cards retailed for about a buck apiece upon release, but I picked this one up recently for a literal penny. Unfortunately, I don’t own the Sports Talk Player, so I’m left to wonder at the wisdom that Randall K no doubt imparts…
Here’s an example of the Sports Talk Player in action: