Recent Royals: 1996 Leaf Signature Chris Haney Bronze

I have very few card collections given my limited resources and space, but I did decide some time ago to begin collecting on-card Royals autographs. It’s been a blast so far trying to track these things down and this is the latest addition to my collection. To view the cards currently in the collection, take a look at the Gallery or the other posts in this series. I’m working on getting a legit want list together on my trade page but, in the meantime, if you have any on-card Royals autos that it looks like I don’t have, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

Chris who-ney?

Apparently Chris Haney played for the Cubs at some point in his career. Don’t remember him.

He also gave up Wade Boggs’ 3000th hit (a home run). Drawing a blank.

He played 11 years in the majors and one year in Japan. Not helping.

However, another Chris Haney rings a bitter, bitter bell for my family. This story is classic and has nothing to do with baseball, so please indulge me this digression.

In the late 60s, my parents lived together on the river in Rockford, Illinois (where I was born) with my older brother, then a child. My father was an English professor and a writer. He was also, like all his children, a film fanatic. While I didn’t have much direct contact with my father (my parents were divorced before I remember), his love of movies no doubt played a large part in my decision to go to film school and (trying to tie this in here) eventually making some sweet box break videos for our readers and YouTube subscribers. At any rate, in his free time, my dad enjoyed playing games. Mostly word games like crossword puzzles and Scrabble and the like. Though he loved trivia, he found there weren’t many games that catered to his interests.

So he invented one.

It was called Film Buffs. It was a film trivia game that had 5 categories. In order to win the game, you moved your piece around a circular board. As you answered a question in each category, you were given a small piece that (get this) fit inside your playing piece. When you had a piece representing all 5 categories (and, thusly, a complete playing piece), you won the game.

He wrote all the question cards by hand- by my mom’s count, he had over 200 cards, each with a question for each category. He made the pieces (crudely, as we are not a family of physical craftsmen) himself and play-tested the game with other professors and family friends. They raved so much about the game and its potential for a larger audience that they finally convinced him to take the game to a local game company and pitch it as something they might be interested in developing. The meeting went well but, in the end, the company passed, citing the cost of each of those playing pieces as prohibitive. It would simply cost too much to produce. So my dad packed up. I’m not sure if they ever even played the game after that.

Enter Chris Haney. He is the co-inventor of a little game called Trivial Pursuit. Trademarked in 1981, its initial copies cost $75 each to make and sold for only $15 retail. They lost money on each of those 1,100 first copies. The game picked up steam by word of mouth (there were, of course, rave reviews) and eventually, took off seriously. In 1984 alone, the game sold over 20 million copies and the economy of scale had long since kicked in. It is estimated that the game has earned more than $1 billion since its inception. Haney died last May and I bear no grudge with him, nor with fellow co-creator Scott Abbott.

Stories like this are more common than even those of failed major league prospects. My dad’s game had no effect on the creation of the actual Trivial Pursuit, of course, and it was bound to happen eventually. And certainly my dad’s failure to see the real potential of his invention was not his fault- he asked the professionals and they gave him an honest assessment. But still. One can’t help but wonder…

2 comments to Recent Royals: 1996 Leaf Signature Chris Haney Bronze

  • Wow, that’s an amazing story. I’m sorry it didn’t fare better for your family. Thanks for sharing, Andy.

  • Interesting. I was reading about your father’s game and I thought “that sounds a lot like Trivial Pursuit” and then I read the next paragraph.

    My dad once used to joke that he was going to invent a Christmas light contraption for vehicles. This was probably back in the early ’80s. He wasn’t serious about it, because we’re not inventors. But years later while driving at night, he saw someone with lights strung around their back license plate and the “dream” was dead.

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