Topps again issued a 132-card factory “Traded” set in 1983. The set was again numbered separately from the base set with a “T” suffix as #1-132. Though the design was the same as the base set, the cards were printed in Ireland on white cardstock, which is different from the cardboard-ish looking backs that the ’83 base set and Traded sets from previous years were printed on. The cards are again organized in alphabetical order. This time, the rookies of the set were more frequently “extended” rookie cards (XRC’s) of players who didn’t have a RC in the current year set. This year, in addition to the players who switched teams via trades or free agency, the set also included managers who were hired in the pre-1983 offseason.
Dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set also received a Steve Carlton Bronze Card. This card was a miniature bronze version of Carlton’s 1983 base set Topps card.
Two Big Red Machiners were in the set – both Tony Perez and Joe Morgan re-joined former BRM teammate Pete Rose with the Phillies in the offseason. Morgan was traded by the Giants in December, while Perez was released by the Red Sox and signed as a free agent.
There are 3 Hall of Famers in this set.
- Morgan & Perez, as noted above
- Tom Seaver, who was traded by the Reds back to the Mets
Seaver is the only player from the set featured with the team whose cap he’d wear on his HOF plaque. Interesting that this was his 2nd stint with that team. Perez would get the same chance next year.
The set is best known for a Darryl Strawberry XRC, and Julio Franco’s XRC is the other key Rookie card in the set.
Some other notorious players moved teams prior to 1983 to make this set. Mike Scott was traded from the Mets to the Astros after failing to show his promise in New York – a trade Houston certainly got the better of. Former batting champ Carney Lansford was traded to Oakland (primarily for Tony Armas, who was also in the set) to make room for a future batting champ at 3rd base in Boston (Wade Boggs). Keith Hernandez was traded to the Mets in the middle of the ’83 season – this move was one the Mets got the better of. Former MVP Steve Garvey moved an hour from LA to sign as a free agent with San Diego. Though on the downside of his career, he would still go on to help the Padres make the World Series two years later.
As mentioned, the set also had newly hired managers. This included Billy Martin, who was on his 3rd stint of 5 with the Yankees, as well as Frank “Hondo” Howard, who served as an interim manager for the last two-thirds of the 1983 season. Joe Altobelli replaced Hall of Famer Earl Weaver in Baltimore. He led the O’s to the World Series title, with plenty of help from the emergence of Cal Ripken.