Dorri Partain

Me and my RC, and the 1976 MLB All-Star team.

To commemorate players featured in the 1976 All-Star game, Royal Crown Cola (RC) produced a series of 70 collectable cans during the summer of 1977 for cola-drinkers to trade, or even receive a special autographed baseball if they could gather the entire collection.

The Royal Crown soda brand was founded in 1905 after Columbus, Georgia grocery owner Claud A. Hatcher felt that the price for Coca-Cola syrup was too expensive.

The first flavor he produced was ginger ale, followed by strawberry and root beer, bottled with the Royal Crown label, while the cola flavor wasn’t developed until 1910 and named Chero-Cola.

In 1925, the flavored sodas dropped the Royal Crown name for Nehi; after 24 years as Chero-Cola, the flavor was reformulated and took over the Royal Crown name in 1934.

RC Cola was the first brand to adopt the 12-ounce can packaging in 1954, when cans could only be opened with a “church key” opener.

After the pull tab opener was introduced around 1964, the “pop top” was often discarded carelessly, creating litter or even safety hazards for bare-footed walkers.

As shown here, the push button opener was introduced as a way to open cans without litter, but was not widely adopted; the Sta-tab opener patented in 1975 by Daniel F. Cudzik soon was the most efficient way to open canned beverages.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Vida Blue also played in the 1971 and 1975 All-Star games; his career began in 1969 and 1977 was his final season for the A’s.

From 1978 to 1981, he played for the San Francisco Giants, then headed to Kansas City to pitch for the Royals from 1982-83, with final years back with the Giants before retiring in 1986.