This week's Collector's Corner looks at something that is near and dear to most Wisconsinites, beer, or in this case, the cans that hold beer. What do beer cans have to do with sports memorabilia? I take you back to the late 1970's and early 80's when the Stevens Point Brewing Company produced Basebrau.
We've had a couple different Rattlers and Foxes themed beers for sale at Goodland Field and Time Warner Cable Field over the years, but Basebrau was available in cans. From 1978 to 1981, the Point Brewery had a different design each year in the Foxes red, white, and blue color scheme. They also had alternate color schemes in 1978 and '79. There were brown and yellow cans in both years, as well as a green and orange can in 1978. So in total, there are seven different cans. Not sure the reasoning behind the alternate color options, not very attractive if you ask me, but the red, white, and blue ones are pretty cool. Although the cans are not that valuable (they can be found for well under $5 typically), they do make a nice display and conversation piece. There does not seem to be any variance in price between the colors, so they must have been produced in roughly the same numbers.
My favorite is the 1980 can, which features the Foxes mascot at the time, Homer Run. Nothing sells beer like a kids mascot on the can.
A few card sets have been release over the past few months that have some Timber Rattlers or future Timber Rattlers in them. Nothing as major as the Topps Pro Debut, but a few cards worth noting.
Donruss Elite Extra Edition always comes out late in the year and features many of the top players from that years draft. The 2010 version did not manage to snag #1 pick Bryce Harper, but it does feature #2 Jameson Taillon and #3 Manny Machado. The only Timber Rattlers player in the main set is Hunter Morris, but plenty of other Brewers prospects made it, including Jimmy Nelson, Matt Miller, and Tyler Thornburg. Khris Davis has a card in the "Back to the Future" insert set. There are autograph versions of nearly every card in the set, and some players only have autograph cards. This set does not have a Major or Minor League license, so all players are in either college or high school uniforms.
Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects and Bowman Platinum are very light on recent Timber Rattlers, with the highlight being a Dan Merklinger autograph in Platinum. Draft Picks & Prospects contains exactly what it says, while Platinum does have veteran Major Leaguers including Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Shin Soo Choo, and Adam Jones. Platinum is a very sharp looking set with a metallic feel and although it does not have much in the way of Timber Rattlers, it does have autograph cards of 2010 Midwest League MVP Mike Trout of Cedar Rapids, Great Lakes' Jerry Sands, and Kane County's Ian Krol.