Card of the Day: 1987 Burger King Tony Pena

Today’s Card of the Day comes from a set put out by Burger King in 1987. There are 20 cards in the set, including one player from the Pittsburgh Pirates. All-Star catcher Tony Pena represented the black & gold in the set. So today’s article will be our one and only look at the set. There’s an extra scan for this article. These cards came in pairs, which also included a coupon for Burger King. They were meant to be separated, but almost half of the cards you find from this set come still attached, and most of those still have the coupon attached. I included a bigger scan of the Pena card, along with a long at the complete pair/coupon. Pena is paired up with a pretty good player, as you might expect with only 20 cards being in the set.

Here’s the front of the card:

You probably notice something missing right away. Burger King didn’t have the rights to use the team logos, just the players. In more recent years, they wouldn’t even have been able to use the word Pirates on the card. It would just say Pittsburgh for the team name. That all gold batting helmet really stands out on this card.

Burger King released a 20-card set in 1986, in which Pena is card #1. The design of the cards in exactly the same except for the “2nd edition series”, which was added to the 1987 cards. The white border surrounding a blue border for the picture is the same, along with the stars up top and bottom, and the colors/writing on the top/bottom of the picture. Even the card numbers being on the top center is the same.

You can see the perforations on the right side of the card. These cards are a bit flimsy for cards, so they were easily damaged compared to a regular 1987 card. That shows you that the cards were meant to be separated. Usually I’d congratulate those who knew better back then not to separate them, but check out the pricing section below, after you look at the full three-card original look.

Here’s the panel together:

Pena made it here with Hall of Fame slugger Jim Rice. He looks thrilled about the no logo look too. You couldn’t even tell what team he was on by that picture alone. Obviously he’s on the Boston Red Sox here, he played his entire 16-year career in Boston. That does not look like a Boston hat at all.

It’s too bad that they put expiration dates on those coupons because you can get these cards cheaper than the price of a Whopper. I don’t go to Burger King very often, and we were a McDonald’s family growing up. That’s mostly because McDonald’s was closer, plus the Burger King was in a strange spot, where you had to go past it to get there and then leave in the opposite direction of my house. So it was much easier just going to McDonald’s. I say that because I don’t know what a Croissan’wich is/was. I could look it up, but I might be disappointed if it’s something that looks good and doesn’t exist anymore. Something about the year I was born kept me from having Burger King money in 1987, or even a handful of years after that, so it may have been gone long before I had a chance to get one….we will never know.

Here’s the back of the cards:

I decided to included the entire three-card panel for the back instead of just Pena. I know some of you would have wondered what the back of the coupon said. They didn’t go all out with the stats here, using just five categories total, including one category that is figured out by dividing two of the other categories. It’s a good thing that Pena’s ambition was only to appear in the World Series because he made it there twice during his career, but lost both times. I would have felt bad for him if he really wanted to win, but I’m happy to find out that he just wanted to be there.

You can see at the bottom of this card that they had permission from the Major League Baseball Players Association, which allowed the players to appear there without the team logos.

If you’re interested in this card, you have multiple options, including Pena alone, Pena with Rice, and Pena/Rice/Coupon. You might be surprised to find out that there’s no real price difference whatever way you get it. There are options for all three under $3 delivered. The only auction of note is a Pena/Rice combo that is graded PSA 6. The asking price is $20 delivered. I’d guess that not many of these are graded, but a PSA 6 isn’t anything special, so stick with the ungraded here unless you really like the holders.