My daughter will begin her final year of high school in a few weeks, which means it’s time to get those senior photos done. To add insult to injury, new clothes and school supplies will need to be purchased, making our pocketbook noticeably thinner. But before dishing out those funds, I did get a little bit of spending money and was able to put it to good use on eBay. In this instance, even my hobby purchase had a school-theme to it.
I was a year out of school by the time Topps rolled out its first set of pocket-folders, so I never had the pleasure of showing off my nerdery. All my friends and I had known growing up in our earlier years was the PeeChee pocket folder that was ubiquitous in schools (and grocery stores) west of the Rockies. For those of you who are not aware of the PeeChees, they were a goldenrod folder (later available in blue) with illustrations on both the front and back- and were just ripe for student doodling. The genius of the PeeChee folders was that they contained vertical pockets- not horizontal, like the competitors products- which trapped the student’s papers inside. This design would later inspire the more well-known Trapper folders and the binders that would house them: the Trapper Keeper.
Anyway, the final few months of my senior year (Class of ’87!) coincided with the beginning of what is referred to as the ‘junk wax era.’ Phenoms such as Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Bo Jackson, Mark McGwire and Will Clark had already made their major league debuts and while they had also made their cardboard debuts, none- with the exception of Mac’s Team USA card- had been available in packs; the only way to have their cards were from the update/traded sets. That changed in ’87, when collectors were finally able to pull cards of these freshman and sophomore sensations, leading to the feeding frenzy of collectors and speculators alike.
Taking advantage of this new interest in baseball cards, Topps saw an opportunity to cash in on the craze and partnered with Sheaffer Eaton to create pocket folders for those whom its cards were originally intended for: kids.
Checking in at over 9x the size of the standard-sized sports card, the folders captured the front of its subject’s card, as well as the back of the card. Available in retail stores, the Topps/Sheaffer Eaton pocket folders were produced for two years and featured the 1988 and 1989 designs, respectively. I have yet to find a complete checklist for these oddities but with there being 5 Mariners, I’m guessing that might be a safe number available for each team, with perhaps more for the most popular teams?