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Feb. 13, 2023

Hobby Quick Hits Ep.146 "Legends of the Hobby" Lud Denny Jr.

Hobby Quick Hits Ep.146

Lud Denny was a risk taker, he didn't always win but launching Pro Set with an assist from the NFL itself was a game changer for not just the football hobby but the hobby itself. Today in "Legends of the Hobby" we learn about Lud Denny's impact....

Lud Denny was a risk taker, he didn't always win but launching Pro Set with an assist from the NFL itself was a game changer for not just the football hobby but the hobby itself. Today in "Legends of the Hobby" we learn about Lud Denny's impact. (Special thanks to Rich Klein & Dr.James Beckett)

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probably quick hits
delivering that breaking hobby news
directly to your earlobes
we want to know those hot drops from the
card shops
hey everybody another episode of hobby
quick hits coming your way this is one
of those uh we've done these before we
used to call them uh hobby histories and
take a person from The Hobby no longer
with us and kind of Deep dive their
career and their accolades and you know
I did it because we had a lot of new
people in the hobby uh may not you know
know about the history of the Hobby and
maybe in some cases don't care about the
history of the hobby but in some cases
they do and I wanted to give some people
no longer with us like I said uh credit
for their place in the hobby but but
really you know when doing like a
biography right talk about everything
not all just good stuff right if if
something bad happened to give the whole
sort of background so we're not going to
do these all the time maybe every couple
months I think we've done uh Alan Rosen
we've done uh Bowman and today's subject
is a little more modern uh even though
you know Mr Mr Rosen was was Modern too
but he kind of covered decades uh the
gentleman we're covering today is
ludwell Denny Jr also known as La Denny
founder of Pro Set uh initially football
but they branched into other things I
also want to give a shout out to a
listener who you know like I said we
used to call these hobby histories
and a listener Mike lack uh message me
said uh he appreciated the shows but why
not call them you know Legends of the
hobby call these kind of shows Legends
of hobby So based on Mike's uh advice I
I know he said you you've used that term
John I'm just repurposing your line but
with him reaching out to me that's
gotten me to change the title of these
episodes when we do them to Legends of
the hobby so this I believe is the third
Legends of the hobby if you will
it's LED Denny Jr from Pro Set Fame uh
we're going to start the show but we're
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let's check out this week's hobby wax
releases take it away Owen
hey guys I'm from sports car shops cover
the weekly leashes on the 15th we have
diners football
Panini Immaculate Panini Mosaic
basketball fast break top shares one
baseball Hobby and jumbo on the 17th we
had donors basketball prism Collegiate
draft picks basketball on the 22nd we
have Bowman Chrome University football
Leaf in the game itg kmu sports
Panini macklet WWE
Phoenix football prison premieres League
rookie in Stars Football
on the 22nd also we have super fast
break football Edition
Panini resolution soccer on the 24th we
have Lee Signature Series basketball
Panini Elite extra
Edition baseball and last but not least
Panini prism Collegiate draft picks
basketball Choice have a great time
Let's Go Round The Hobby verse and catch
up on this week's hobby news
all right appears the Panini Babe Ruth
Cut Auto
dilemma is over
the card that came out with a George
Brett Auto instead of a Babe Ruth Otto
Panini has finally chimed in they are uh
have received the card uh and are
putting in a Babe Ruth Cut Auto they
even went as far as the show a picture
of where they cut the Babe Ruth Auto out
from and just below it was a Lou Gehrig
Auto so look for a Lou Gehrig Auto cut
I'm sure sometime in the Panini future
good to see that Saga sort of uh put to
rest but it doesn't you know doesn't
change that it did occur and uh you know
someone aired with the brat inside the
Ruth card but uh Panini is making it
morphy's auctions
just sold a you know brick together
eight packs of the 1952
famous baseball tops
packs many times we see that at the
national uh that eight pack brick sold
for 873 thousand dollars which includes
a 23 percent buyer's premium no uh no
details on the buyer or what the plans
for the eight packs are just that it
brought in 873 thousand dollars
what's back the McDonald's All-American
cards tops is doing them again
March 1st Chrome caps Chrome McDonald's
all Americans are going to be in pack
form 20 packs through a box four packs
or four cards
to a Pack 12 boxes to a case two back
two Autos uh per box and this will be
again on March 1st it will be a hundred
card set obviously there will be
parallels and inserts and uh two Autos
guaranteed uh per box so uh they're back
right you heard some highlights from
Joe Cool Joe Montana's uh legendary Hall
of Fame career arguably still the
greatest quarterback to ever do it uh he
putting some of his personal collections
uh into Golden's auction including his
gold jacket for the Hall of Fame some
Notre Dame items and and many NFL
awards and trinkets and whenever I see
this I always
wonder if
you know is it Financial is he I
wouldn't think Joe Montana needed the
money uh he's 66 years old so is he you
know maybe his family or kids not
necessarily don't are not interested in
keeping those which you know also find
hard to believe so I always wonder when
you see a player who's still around
start to sell off their personal
collection of accolades
what's going on so you know obviously I
don't know but I just just strikes me
that way so if you want to own a part of
Joe Montana or his award or his gold
Hall of Fame jacket the Golden's uh is
where you want to head all right our
great sponsors over at Rea Robert Edward
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starts February 9th ends February 19th
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Derek jeters foil rookies in that uh
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and uh like I said 2500 cards and that
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auction was a huge recess and this is
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looks to be big get over to uh Rea and
uh get bitten
all right let's get into our subject
Mr Gladwell Danny Jr uh son of a
minister born in 1943 just before
Christmas in Inglewood New Jersey but uh
came to call Texas home uh some things
he did before he launched Pro Set he was
a brand of pilot from 1973 to 1981 an
avid pilot and from 1978 to 85 he sort
of made his fortune as an oil
Wildcatter it was also the creator of
the 1986 game armchair quarterback and
got licensing to do NFL sunscreens uh
you know the things you put on your
windshield or your car and hot days to
keep you inside cool uh he did NFL ones
of those and I believe it was those
two football related items that sort of
got him noticed by
the NFL and if you know anything about
the hobby around
1988 football cards are really only five
percent of the hobby market uh they were
sort of boring uh I don't want to say
forgotten but kind of Forgotten they
were like you know the those stepbrother
of baseball and and even other sports
and so you know uh La Denny I think
reached out to the powers that be in the
and talked about you know producing
cards uh that were more exciting that
would bring more attention to football
cards and do it in a different sort of
way than you know what tops uh was doing
uh at the time and you know in defensive
tops a little bit baseball was their
their bread and butter and football was
just a license they had to produce uh
cards but you know Pro Set and let any
pitch hey we want to do things
differently we want to be more proactive
and was granted
licensing uh and we actually became the
first company to get direct licensing
including access to the NFL's own photo
archive so there was more of a
partnership between pro set in the NFL
than tops in the NFL and such So Pro Set
was born they started very small in a
1500 square foot office to launch their
company and uh rumored uh a lot of Denny
told his landlord a quote I don't know
if we're going to need it after the
first month as he was a little nervous
with this new Venture whether they
they'd survive or not and survived they
did they you know get a little ahead of
ourselves they wound up eventually being
in a 44 000 square foot location having
225 employees at their Peak and
eventually as most know or remember got
into production of hockey cards golf
carts racing soccer and even music and
movie carts some of their cards were
produced in Spanish and also King's
English one of the things pro set wanted
to do like I said was things differently
so they featured more color under cards
more action shots more in action photos
players draft picks they did more draft
picks before they actually played in the
league and they had you know the
cardstock was was also thicker with some
uh you know coding on it and you know
wanted to make waves and wanted to
announce their presence and when they
launched the company it was 1989 and it
was really a great year to do so because
it was as many know was Barry Sanders
Troy Aikman and Deion Sanders uh rookie
year for cards the other thing that Pro
Set did a little differently which I'm
surprised you know even all these years
later these card producers don't do but
they own their own
printing press and produce the cards
themselves uh and people you know have
confirmed that was the case it allowed
them to produce cards quicker get it to
Market uh faster 1989 became sort of
when the modern football card Market
started would Pro sets launch other card
companies started producing football
cards as well as we know tops was
already in that market but soon the
follow was score which had uh started
with 1988 with baseball but now they
would enter the football card Arena all
World Proline Wild Card Upper Deck in
Pacific soon followed but Pro Set was
sort of leading the way uh during that
time period in 1991 the company
made 125 million dollars in 1992 that
number went up to
165 million dollars their 1990 releases
were full of Errors spelling stat uh
mistakes and um you know uh they were
either criticized for it for lack of
attention to detail or for some
collectors uh it was a Chase to get some
of those error cards or even the
corrected versions as they did in many
cases issue uh corrected versions and so
that became sort of a Chase but many of
their card producing counterparts
pointed to it as you know a lack of
caring a lack of proof reading and and
sloppiness and you know with their their
holding the football card Market in
their you know maybe they did get a
little complacent I know you you know
ultimately their downfall was over
production we know what that error
wasn't just relegated to football but
prosep was the football equivalent of
you know the junk wax error but you
can't deny what they brought to the
table they pushed other card companies
and you know let's talk about some of
the other uh products like Danny and Pro
Set uh produced after getting you know
licensing uh with the NFL a year after
launching their football in 1989 and
1990 they launched hockey
and they uh a golf which the golf was a
hundred card uh complete factory set
first set they've ever introduced in
Factory form was that 1990 uh golf set
uh they went on to release uh
1991. we all remember it right yo MTV
wraps cards including my one of my
favorite groups the Beastie Boys
considered their rookie cards and a lot
of other musical acts in that release
NHRA Racing uh some movie cards
including for Disney Beauty and the
Beast mermaid and Dinosaurs
1991 also saw the company go out and
acquire the Parkhurst hockey name hadn't
been produced in many many years and
with them already doing hockey they
wanted to bring the Parkhurst brand back
so they launched that in the 1991 1992
hockey season cost them you know some
money to get that licensing also in 1991
they wanted to up their game and issue a
football product uh with a high-end feel
and Pro Set Platinum football uh was
born I remember uh those days vividly it
was a a thick cardstock very high gloss
and uh sold very well my only problem
was they never stopped the presses and
you can find boxes of that now anywhere
between 10 and 20 dollars I can tell you
in 1991 those were going for well more
uh than ten ten dollars in 1992 they
released the Guinness Book of World
Record cards that was a worldwide
release released in the United States
Canada Australia South Africa and the UK
and uh was in uh different languages
as well blood Denny was an opportunist
so you know when the Desert Storm uh
storm uh war broke out uh he produced
cards in in 1991 uh as well featuring uh
you know improminant people uh from that
campaign uh you know a lot was a risk
taker uh he launched Pro Set Gazette
which was a free magazine he tried to
launch a show uh Nationwide but was
local in Dallas called uh profiles was
going to be a collector based uh TV show
like I said it did air in Dallas but he
wanted to uh go bigger uh with it you
know Pro Set got to be known for some
really different things you know they
started producing uh coaching cards uh
in you know in their football sets we
all remember the Pro Set Santa cards
right couldn't they were chased to get
one of those and then the ultra rare
Lombardi trophy hologram card that to
this day is still desired by uh
collectors and hobbyists and uh still
holds a pretty uh good value as it's uh
you know very short printed some
personal notes about uh you know a lot
of Denny's like I said known as a risk
taker sort of a a gambler like to have a
lot of fun one live his life you know
sort of that pilot you know fly by the
seat of his pants uh you know people
knew him would tell you uh love to put
on parties have open bar enjoy himself
his wife Jan was the Executive Vice
President of pro set for a time as well
uh and uh she just was sort of a larger
than life figure wanted to uh also add
that he produced soccer cards in the UK
Germany Spain and France and what a lot
of people didn't know at the time he was
really efforting to try to land a Major
League Baseball license so yeah people
probably didn't realize how close
you know they were the scene Pro Set
baseball that obviously did not
uh occur so it didn't happen but you
know with gambling right with risk
taking sometimes you don't always win
and so he he built up some debt Pro Set
lost some of its luster with the
overproduction of it and things started
to go bad it was then in 1992 that you
know Pro Set and loved any owed money to
uh insisted that he be ousted from the
company which is what exactly happened
and that was really you know the end of
the hobby career for La Denny at that
point Parkhurst hockey was acquired by
Upper Deck in 1990 293 and they started
producing uh the Parkhurst line after
acquiring it from pro set those at knew
LED Danny Jr would tell you you like I
said he was a go-getter you know wanted
what he wanted was willing to take risks
and sometimes those didn't always pay
off there's a you know a couple of uh
Denny cards in some of his uh product
releases that are interesting uh to this
day and some people still look for him
and you know whether you liked them
disliked um you know people sometimes
blame them for the overproduction of the
cards and the downfall of pro set and
that they didn't last a long time they
sort of uh you know Rose to stardom and
burned out and faded away rather quickly
you know most people would tell you
Denny wasn't a bad guy just uh you know
very outspoken very outgoing and wanted
to make things happen and you know
frankly he did right we still talk about
Pro Set to this day and in 2021
you know Leafs Brian Gray procured uh
the name and bought the company and now
they produce uh Pro Set cards under the
uh Leaf brand all right I think that's
going to wrap up our Legends of the
hobby Series this week focusing on
ludwell Denny Jr he did pass away at the
age of 66 in
2010 he did some other business ventures
post uh post hobby career including
Insurance salesmen and some other uh
titles that he held so but regardless uh
a very prominent figure in the
especially in the football card market
with the launch of Pro Set 1989 and like
I said the the brand lives on uh today I
want to thank a couple people uh you
know in putting this episode uh together
uh Rich Klein wrote a great article back
in the day about lud that I referenced
and Dr James Beckett did about four to
five episodes of sports cards insights
those episodes are number 494 494 B 680
and 685 and that's just a great show in
general those are just uh pertaining to
blood Denny and or pro set in the
entities as well check those out if you
want to learn even more so uh thanks
everybody for uh listening uh we'll do
these Legends of the hobby uh probably
every other month or around that we have
a list of folks to cover if there's
someone you would like us to cover that
maybe not on the list I haven't
announced the list but if there's
someone you want to learn more about in
you know Legends of the Hobby and
history of the hobby uh let me know
reach out give us some feedback and
we'll make sure uh we cover those
deserving of an episode thanks