Friday, October 19, 2018

You Are Not Even Going to Believe 1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey Jr. Golden Moments


Branded oddballs were everywhere in the early 90’s, and certain companies (Pepsi, Post, King B, Coca-Cola, etc.) were well-known for their oddballs. Then right in the middle of everything and for no good reason that I’m aware of, Dairy Queen up and decided to make an extremely solid 10-card insert with a full-set parallel and then no more cards ever again. GAH!

They had made baseball cards before, but those were hardly a precedent for what they gave to Griffey collectors in ‘94. Two years prior they had issued a 33-card set for the USA Olympic Baseball Team that included the likes of Will Clark, Barry Larkin, and Robin Ventura. Sixteen years before that they made a small set of cards for a minor league team in Washington state. That appears to be it.

So you can imagine my surprise when I first took a close look at what Dairy Queen had concocted with 1994 Ken Griffey Jr. Golden Moments. Frankly it’s astounding. It’s like they skipped years of card-making evolution and experience and went straight to creating one of the greatest sets to happen to branded oddballs since Kellogg’s 3-D Superstars. These things were as good as if not better than some of the big-brand sets of the same year.

Here’s the full list of why this set is bigger than its britches: it is licensed, full-color, has its own awesome logo and font, team colored borders, glossy front, full-color back with a different photo from the front, a solid write-up on every card, above-average photography (including a cool close-up of the famous “Spiderman catch”), high print quality, and a line of text that guarantees these cards are “personally authorized by Ken Griffey, Jr.”

And a parallel! My God, a full parallel! With genuine scarcity!

I want to know more about these things. I can only assume that whoever this TMG company is that has its logo on the card back held DQ’s hand in the creation of this set of cards and just went way above and beyond on production value. Maybe grab a few extra napkins for this one, folks.

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #1


This photo made it onto a few different cards (and numerous newspaper Sports sections) when it happened, so it’s no surprise seeing it here. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of that photo on the back. It matches the blurb beautifully, and what a card front it would have made. Dairy Queen is just SCHOOLING the major brands right out of the gate.

I have all the gold parallels for this set, but I’ll be saving those for the end of this post. Let’s go to #2…

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #2


Are you kidding me? Two SOLID GOLD card fronts in a row? GET OUT OF HERE, DQ. I swear this is like going to a Tone-Loc concert and him playing “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina” both right off the bat, and it’s like, “Bro, what else could you possibly have for me?”

Get a load of that fabulous Father-Son shot complete with flipped-up Oakleys and a stadium full of fans in the background. And the fun-loving cell phone shot on the back? In two cards Dairy Queen – yes, the ice cream and corndog place – has given us more photo quality than most whole major-brand, multi-player inserts with more cards in them.

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #3


A post-dinger shot on the front, nice portrait on the back, and a blurb chock-full of information that any other brand would try and spread out among multiple different cards. Someone at DQ said, “What should we put on this one card? Oh, I don’t know. How about EVERYTHING?”

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #4


Run-of-the-mill batting shot? Hardly. The blurb is the key here. It fills us in on the fact that Junior hit a home run off of Greg Maddux in the 1992 All-Star Game, and this “photo was taken just seconds after Griffey hit the home run.” It’s like they were tricking you into thinking they were basic and them BOOM, they dropped some photo context on you like an atomic bomb of in-your-face cardboard excellence. Oh, and lest we forget that delightful use of photo context would show up again in 1997 from a little brand called Upper Deck. That's right - UPPER DECK STOLE AND IDEA FROM DAIRY QUEEN.

The blurb goes on to mention that the Griffeys were the first father-son duo to both hit home runs AND win MVP honors in All-Star Games. Man, I didn’t even know that shit. Even I’m getting schooled here. Oh, and that’s the classic Junior All-Star Game MVP trophy shot also used by the likes of Topps and Upper Deck, just for good measure.

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #5


Man, I need a breather from all this tightness. But no, it’s another All-Star Game card – the one where he hit the warehouse at Camden. I’m not 100% sold that this is a photo from that moment.

Okay, so this card is the weakest yet, but have they mentioned yet that these cards are personally authorized by Ken Griffey, Jr.? Oh, yeah. It’s on EVERY CARD.

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #6


There are approximately jillions of cards referencing Junior’s eight consecutive game home run streak, but how many take the time to list them in the blurb? One: Dairy Queen. Frickin Dairy Queen, man.

By the way I never realized those eight games happened in nine days. That must have been one anxious day off.

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #7


I’ll be the first to admit it – this photo is from Blur-town which is a suburb of Farawaysville. But how great is it!? And consider this: with that level of blur there is no major brand that would have put this photo on a card, not even Donruss. Thank goodness DQ got a hold of it or we may never have seen the thing.

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #8


This was before all the roided-out insanity of the late-90’s when every other slugger and his momma were putting up 40- and 50-home run seasons with such regularity that they didn’t seem as impressive as the one Junior put up “way” back in 1993. 45 dingers was and is a big deal, folks. Dairy Queen knows the score.

Oh, and they still manage to squeeze in a little photo context for good measure. I heart U, DQ.

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #9


Ol’ number nine lets the numbers do the talking. That’s right – DQ gave us eight quality blurbs before falling on the old standby stat box to fill space. I know a handful of other brands that wouldn’t have even bothered with the stellar blurb quality here, so one stat box I can forgive. Heck, I might have been a little disappointed if we didn’t get one.

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #10


This ain't no spelling bee - DQ is too busy dropping knowledge to catch every single vowel, y'all.

The front is beautiful, and that back picture is simply one of my favorite photos ever to grace a Griffey card, and I have THOUSANDS of them. And they stuck it on the back. Of the last card. The audacity…

As promised, here are the gold parallel cards for the entire set. It wasn’t a complicated parallel, but why should be? This was 1994. I will mention here that the DQ golds are actually pretty tough finds for less than a few bucks a pop, and I see them go for between three and six bucks each pretty regularly. That’s kind of a lot for a branded oddball. Also the backs are identical to the regulars, so I’m only showing the fronts here. Enjoy!

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #1 Gold

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #2 Gold

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #3 Gold

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #4 Gold

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #5 Gold

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #6 Gold

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #7 Gold

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #8 Gold

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #9 Gold

1994 Dairy Queen Ken Griffey, Jr Golden Moments #10 Gold

Ahhh….delightful.

Whoever produced this set of cards is definitely a Griffey fan, plain and simple. It is shockingly good for what it is. All of us need to get down on our knees and thank our lucky stars that we get to live in a world with 1994 Dairy Queen Griffey Golden Moments.

Hail to the Queen, baby.

9 comments:

  1. 1. Great to see you posting!

    2. These remind me a lot of early '90s Pacific. I wonder if TMG worked with them?

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    1. The front photo on #6 is the same as the 1993 Pacific Jugadores Calientes Card #7 out of 36. I recognized it right away. You may be on to something.

      Here it is....
      https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/1993-pacific-jugadores-calientes-ken-1537634960

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  2. Can't say I've ever seen these before, but you're right -- definitely a winner of an oddball set.

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  3. So many fantastic action shots. I've never seen or even heard of these before. I hope I stumble across some eventually though.

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  4. Crap, I left working at Dairy Queen in early summer of 1994 so must have missed out on these. Sweet cards!

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  5. Those first two cards make the whole set. Nice find!

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  6. Nice set. I don't think that Canadian Dairy Queens had these, so this is the first time I've seen them.

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  7. Good stuff. I'm like, yeah "the fun-loving cell phone shot on the back" is pretty cool. But hey, where did those time-travelers get tiny cell phones back in 1990?! But looks like there are wires, and I'm thinking they must've been holding in-ear receivers for an on-field interview with broadcasters in the booth, right?

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