OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Granny Goose company has found itself 'in the chips' in the wake of a promotion giving away Oakland A's baseball cards in bags of their potato chips.
The company, which distributes its products in northern California and the Reno, Nev., area, sponsored the promotion and a card day at the Oakland Coliseum for the second year in a row and the feverish pitch for Oakland baseball memorabilia which started last year seems to have grown even more heated this year.
'We had a guy come in here and buy 30 cases of potato chips,' said Kevin Curriston, product manager of Granny Goose. 'He dumped the chips out onto the loading dock and then left with just the cards.'
The spokesman said requests for the card sets have been flooding in from as far away as Toronto, Milwaukee, New York and Philadelphia even though the products are not marketed in those areas.
'We originally handled the requests from outside our marketing area but now we tell the callers we can't honor their requests,' said Linda Clarke, of Granny Goose. 'We are in the business of selling potato chips and not baseball cards.'
But the requests from collectors continue to roll in at the pace of 10-12 calls a day.
'We had one man in Los Angeles who wanted us to dump 800 cases of chips on his front lawn,' Curriston said. 'Another Los Angeles' man was traveling up to Bakersfield to buy the chips.'
Bakersfield is as far south as the chips are sold, Curriston added.
The Oakland A's also have had to handle some strange requests in connection with the promotion.
'We had a guy call here and offer to buy 500 tickets for Saturday's contest,' said Andy Dolich, marketing V.P. for the team. 'He said he would donate 499 tickets to any charity we chose if we would mail him the 500 ticket sets.'
Dolich said he had to inform the disappointed caller that it was impossible to fulfill his request.
The baseball card fever has proved to be a money maker for the chip firm.
'Unwittingly we've stumbled onto one of the nation's largest collectable hobbies,' Curriston said with a smile. 'Last year our sales for the summer were at one of the highest levels ever and we expect the same this year.'
The A's spokesman said the popularity of the cards may be directly linked to the team's playoff surge last year and speedster Rickey Henderson's quest for a new major league stolen base record this season.
The club will hand out 15,000 complete sets of the cards Saturday at Granny Goose card day. Dolich said the gate for the game has already climbed passed 20,000.
Curriston said last year's card sets already have commanded as much as $120 from collectors.