Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Marlboro men

One of the coolest cards in my trade with Johnny of Cards from the Quarry was Randy Johnson's 1989 Fleer rookie card. This card is famous because the Marlboro logo was airbrushed off the card, but some cards exist with the logo visible. The logo would have been over his left shoulder.

As I was looking through the other cards Johnny sent me, I noticed this 1986 Topps Kent Tekulve card actually had that Marlboro logo visible, but the word "Marlboro" was airbrushed away!

I decided to look at more cards to see how often this occurred. For Fleer, it looks like the Big Unit's card is the only one where Marlboro was brushed out - here are four other cards from the same set where the Marlboro logo is visible. Richard Dotson's card even shows the Marlboro Man lighting up!

Tekulve's 1986 card is not the only card Topps airbrushed. A year earlier, they did the same to an even larger Marlboro sign on Greg Harris's card.

Topps's fear of the Marlboro logo was apparently short lived. In 1982 the Marlboro logo was clearly visible on Ray Burris's card.

Meanwhile, by 1987, Topps was apparently OK with showing the Marlboro logo again.

Finally, here's one last card from the quarry, showing that Donruss, at least, had no shame about promoting Marlboro on their cards.


  1. I remember a post on the old Beckett boards that showed at least 4 variations in the Johnson Marlboro printing. More proof of how long the presses were running back in '89! -Andy

  2. Isn't it strange that gigantic cigarette ads were still in stadiums 20 years ago?

  3. i was watching Bulls/Knicks from '93 a few months back and BAM...Marlboro banner right at the scorers table

  4. I knew about the Johnson, but never noticed that many. It makes sense though in 1988 it was legal for me as a 12 year old to buy cigarettes.

    Maybe I was subconsciously made a smoker by baseball cards. There could be a lawsuit in that! Just kidding, I don't want to bankrupt the only card company left.