Friday, May 17, 2013

A Painted 1956 Big League Stars Figurine of Roy Campanella

Back in the mid-50's Baseball jumped in popularity.  So, it's not surprising that companies did their best to capitalize on the frenzy.  There were Baseball cards sold with gum and ballplayers were able to earn some extra dough lending their name to just about every product under the sun.  I guess you can say that Baseball really became "BIG BUSINESS" during this time.  Well, another product that was made and marketed for the masses were these little 3 inch plastic figurines of some the the Majors biggest stars.

In 1956 both Dairy Queen and a company called Big League Stars produced an 18 player set of these statues.  In fact, they both made the exact same set - likely using the same molds.  The Dairy Queen figurines were given out to customers as premiums while the Big League Stars set was packaged for retail sales.  A key distinguishing factor is that the Dairy Queen versions are white and the Big League Stars statues were painted gold.

Anyway, the other day I ran into a unique example of a Roy Campanella statue on eBay and knew I had to share it here.  See the auction listing here.  It states that it's the Dairy Queen version, but that is clearly wrong.  It is actually the Big League Stars figurine as evidenced by the gold colored base.  Nevertheless, that discrepancy isn't important.  What is important is what a creative fan did to it. 

In what I will label as folk art at its best, someone has painstakingly taken the time to paint it, and it's is wonderful.  Check the photos of it above and below. 

BTW, 4 other Dodgers are in the 18 player set; including Jim Gilliam, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider.
(eBay Auction Link)

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