Card of the Week: Of Stick Saves & Sausage Links

1994-95 Classic Milwaukee Admirals – The Fabulous Fritz

1994-95 Classic Milwaukee Admirals – The Fabulous Fritz
“Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It’s off to work we go!”

 I recently purchased a team set of 1994-95 Milwaukee Admirals, made by Classic Games, when I unearthed this little unexpected gem: Fritz Usinger–a.k.a. “The Fabulous Fritz.” This was a card that totally caught me off guard when I first saw it. Who the heck is Fritz, and why is he so fabulous?

The front shows us a rosy-cheeked lawn gnome, wearing goalie equipment from the 1950s, strolling–not skating–by while catching a flying bratwurst with an open bun.

Suddenly, I’ve lost my appetite.

The Fabulous Fritz is a cartoon mascot used on the sign for Usinger’s Sausage Shop (picture here). Fritz Usinger is also the name of the business’s present owner. Usinger’s has been in business in Milwaukee since 1880.  The sole purpose of this card was to make Milwaukee Admirals fans, circa 1994, aware of the sausage shop’s existence.

The back of the card tries to play up both Fritz’s love of making sausage and his supposed love for hockey. His height and weight are listed as “short” and “stocky” respectively, his favorite food as (surprise!) “Bratwurst,” while his Win-Loss total reads “It’s how you play the game that counts.”

1994-95 Classic Milwaukee Admirals – The Fabulous Fritz (back)
If you visit Usinger’s Retail Store, tell ’em Puck Junk sent you. Then be prepared for an awkward pause and/or stare.

I think we are all pretty used to advertisements on team-issued card sets, usually in the form of a sponsor logo somewhere on the card.

So, which do you prefer–a sponsor card like this one–potentially displacing a more relevant card–or a sponsor logo on every card in the set?

For me, a card like this is amusing for about 5 seconds. I’d rather have a card of the team’s mascot, secretary or PR guy.


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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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