vin 2vin 1By Mark Langill

How does an oversized Vin Scully collectible stay hidden for nearly 50 years?

Gary Cypres, the owner and curator of the Sports Museum of Los Angeles, couldn’t believe his ears recently when he received a phone call from a collector in Texas, describing an advertising banner used at Union 76 stations in 1966 promoting the company’s Dodger record collection.

“I’ve never seen something like this before,” Cypres said. “I didn’t even know it existed.”

Cypres jumped at the chance to add another one-of-a-kind item to his exhaustive collection, which this season was on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

With a minimum gasoline purchase, fans could buy a 45 rpm record that featured an interview on each side. Most of the subjects are the Dodger players, along with manager Walter Alston, general manager Buzzie Bavasi and team president Walter O’Malley. The recordings begin and end with a baseball-themed sound effect, the echoing crack of the bat, as if the casual conversation could be taking place around the batting cage.

The record jacket featured the artwork of Nicholas Volpe, whose Dodger-themed sketches also adorned other popular Union 76 promotional giveaways, such as the portrait series of 1959 (black and white), 1962, 1964, 1969 and 1982, along with the plastic drinking glasses of 1965.

Originally published October 30, 2014