1987 Kraft Home Plate Heroes

I’m not sure what your thoughts/feelings are on Mac & Cheese, but it has been in my life for 30 or more years.  The cheesy goodness.  The way you can stick a noodle on each prong of your fork.  Perfection….almost.

In 1987, Kraft DID make it perfect by printing 2 baseball cards to cut out from the backs of each box of Macaroni & Cheese (or as I like to call it … Cheese & Macaroni … anyone else with me? No?  I didn’t think so.)

I blame this commercial for ruining it for me subliminally.  Check it out though – it has the Home Plate Heroes promotion at the end of it … all kinds of awesome nostalgia here!

Gotta love the kid at the end:

Here is what a box looks like:

According to Wikipedia, SEVEN MILLION boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese are sold globally … A WEEK, making me feel a whole lot better about my consumption of this over the course my lifetime.  I’m not sure what the sales were back 30 years ago, but I do know it was very popular.  Is it possible that the production of this junk food card can rival – and even surpass – the production of junk wax cards?  (See what I did there?)  There is no telling, but the odds are many of these were likely dumped.

A year or two ago, I was fortunate to pick up some pre-production boxes for both the regular & spiral versions.  The regular box pre-production version of this can still be found on eBay, however, the spiral version is more difficult.  Either way, I suggest picking one up of who you collect – super fun nostalgia to add to your collection!

A little over a year ago, someone posted up an interesting variation.  The variations differed in both look and production.  With a clean, stark white back as opposed to gray, this variation was actually machine cut, bound and factory sealed in a set.


Here is a full sheet that surfaced, showing they were not printed for use on the backs of the boxes.

A bit difference from the sheets produced for the boxed version:

Here is the story.

The Kraft Regional Representative who received all of the 1987 “white-back” sets for distribution forgot to distribute them during Kraft’s 1987 “Home Plate Heroes” promotion. In 1987-88, he asked his manager what to do.  His manager told him it was too late for them to affect the “Home Plate Heroes” promotion and NOT to give them out.

The Rep kept 12 sets for himself and disposed of the rest. Shortly thereafter, his son sold all 12 of the sets to a dealer in California.  The dealer closed up shop a few years later and put all of his inventory into storage.  After nearly 30 years, these were unearthed and are now on eBay.  When they first popped up, I contacted the dealer, and he was unwilling to sell for how much I wanted to spend.  Throughout the year, I would check in with him, and he would still be fairly firm.  I had actually put on my calendar to check in with him a full year after he began listing.  I did, and he still wasn’t where I wanted to be.  Until I provided him with pictures of the box proofs I had.  He then bent a bit on price and we made a deal!

1987 KRAFT SPIRAL HOME PLATE HEROES White Back Dealer Sample

It remains a mystery as to what these sets were to be used for initially.  Was it to be used as a promotional set of some sort where kids collected the UPC codes from boxes to send in for a full set?  We will likely never know.  Like many cards of its time period, it isn’t a visually compelling card, but it is a compelling piece of hobby history with a fun story and an interesting twist.

What we do know for sure is this:  This article is far more cheesier than Kraft ever will be.

Hmmm…I wonder what I should have for lunch!  🙂