1982 Topps Big Red Machine

30 09 2010

Big Red Machine card scans. I didn’t get Morgan or Geronimo, so those are swiped from the world wide web. Concepcion also has a sticker card insert.

Down to 4 players left who are still on the Reds; except for Bench, though, the ones that are still playing in Cincy still have quite a few years left. Not true for Morgan, Geronimo, and Perez. No card for Sparky this year since Topps temporarily abandoned the manager cards.

Here’s the subset cards – 7 in-action (everyone but Geronimo), 3 All-Stars, 2 Team Leaders and a Highlights:

And this division belongs to the Reds!!!!!

28 09 2010

For the 2nd time in the last week+, Jay Bruce had a 9th inning, game ending play. This time it was with his bat. And this time, it officially clinched the division for the Redlegs. I’d like to be one of the few who acknowledges the impact Dusty Baker has had on this team. He isn’t always the best in managing a pitching staff, though this is overplayed due to a couple higher-profile blow-ups. The Giants blew a 5-0 lead in the would-be clinching game 6 2002 World Series, and of course the Bartman incident with the Cubs. In both situations, it could be argued that he stayed too long with guys. But that comes from his measured loyalty to his players, and I think that’s his biggest strength.

The most important thing a manager does is manage the psyche / ego / emotions of his ballclub. In baseball, a 162-game marathon, nothing is more important. Managing the pitching staff and lineup are secondary, and every team has a hitting / pitching coach to assist with this. And Dusty has been perfect for this team. A young group with some key veterans sprinkled in, Dusty has been criticized for staying with guys like Bruce and Cordero, but both have had significant impact on the team’s success. When Brandon Phillips, the only all-star when Dusty arrived who is still with the team, didn’t run out a ground ball, Dusty found a way to bench him without losing his starting 2nd baseman’s respect. He guided a team that hadn’t had a winning season since 2000 to the Central Division title, a surprising run-away championship that has the Reds currently up 7 games with 5 to play. Dusty’s track record speaks for itself – in San Francisco, Chicago, and Cincinnati, he did significantly better than his predecessor, and in SF and Chicago, he’s had more success than the guy who followed him. So here’s to you Dusty – I was mixed on the hire at the time, but it’s shown itself to be a good one!

I think their postseason chances rest significantly on avoiding the Phillies in the first round, which they can do by keeping up the winning and getting the 2nd seed. Or they could slide into it as long as the NL West loser beats out the Braves for the Wild Card.

But that is for another time. Today, we celebrate.

Bob Bonner RC & 1982 vending box break

28 09 2010


That’s the best way to describe it. I think this is karma for putting the main card of the ’82 set on the top of my blog. I just opened my 1982 vending box. As mentioned in an earlier post, I bought this on ebay along with an ’81 vending box. Well, both the wax box and the vending box were missing the significant card in this set – #21, the Rookie Card for the up and coming Shortstop for the Orioles. Yes the Bob Bonner RC! This card also contained the RC for pitching prospect Jeff Schneider. Bonner went on to amass a total of 21 hits in the big leagues, while Schneider registered his lone save on August 25th, 1981 in Seattle. Interesting that, in 1982, Schneider was a 29 year-old “prospect”.

I didn’t pull the RC of these guys, whom I assume are wonderful human beings, but weren’t exactly the greatest ballplayers in the ’82 set. No, the reason it’s irking me that I didn’t get at least 1 copy of this card is the third-sacker sitting in between these career minor-leaguers. Somewhere along the line, said third baseman jumped Bonner on the totem pole and became the Orioles starting Shortstop. He would go on to win the Rookie of the Year award that year, the MVP the next year, and redefine offensive expectations for the position. Oh, yeah, and he played in 2,632 consecutive games, including a stretch where he played every inning for around 6 years. No wonder Bonner never got much of an opportunity! Unfortunately, Cal Ripken’s prowess makes it bad luck that I didn’t get this card. I’ve got a set of rack packs including a 1982 pack, maybe I’ll get really lucky there. Doubtful, so this may need be an ebay purchase.

The “500 card box” had 516 cards. As before, numbers below don’t include the wax box – overall, the vending box definitely gives me a better chance to complete the set than the wax box:

53 doubles, 1 triple

462 of the 792 card set. (58.3% set completion)

Again, pretty good collation for a vending box. Though I’ve now not gotten the Raines RC in ’81 and the Ripken RC in ’82 between both the wax and vending boxes.

Also, though, the crossover between the wax and vending boxes wasn’t bad, in fact it was terrible this time. I’m 176 cards short out of the 792 after opening both boxes. I guess with that many, there’s a good risk of not having the Ripken.

I’ll post some pictures from the box breaks later this week. Sans the Bob Bonner rookie, obviously.

Another Reds Magic Number update…

27 09 2010

Yesterday, the Reds bounced back from a couple of tough, 4-3 losses to the Friars to pound San Diego 12-2. This reduced their magic number to 1, thus ensuring that they would at least play beyond the pre-set 162 game schedule for the first time since 1999, when Al Leiter sent the RedLegs into a downward spiral from which they are only now recovering. In honor, of reducing that magic number to 1, I present this picture.

For those of you who don’t recognize this picture, this is former Reds manager Fred Hutchinson. Fred’s uniform number was the first to be retired by the team – in 1965 – and was, for almost 20 years (Johnny Bench, 1984) the only player with such an honor.

Fred was a good manager who took the Reds to the World Series, but the honor has more to do with off-field impact than on-field exploits. “Hutch” had to retire in the midst of the pennant race as the Reds manager in 1964. Today, a world-renowned Cancer Research Center bears his name, and MLB recognizes his spirit in the annual “Hutch” Award. This award is given annually to a player who “best exemplifies the character and fighting spirit of the late Fred Hutchinson…who overcomes any form of adversity.”

So cheers to Fred Hutchinson, and good luck to the Reds. Here’s hoping the Cardinals can hold off the Pirates tonight (though this has shown to be a tough task for them this year), and the Reds can earn their spot themselves, with a home victory tomorrow night over the Astros.

It’s a magic number…

23 09 2010


1982 Topps Wax Box Break

22 09 2010


I just finished my 1982 wax box break. I also bought this box from BBXC, only this time I bought it from them at the National. I did not pull the Ripken RC, which is far and away the best card in the set. In fact, I didn’t get the Dave Stewart or the Lee Smith Rookie Cards. Kind of depressing, actually. The collation is getting worse as we go newer in the years. This box had the same number of cards, and the set actually had 66 more cards. So it should be harder to get doubles. Unfortunately, I got 30 more doubles than the 1981 box, and 80 more doubles than the 1980 box! I did get the Pete Rose and Nolan Ryan cards, and Mike Schmidt as well. I guess that’s something? The gum stains (on the rear card) are still not fixable, but most of the wax stains (on the first card) were. “Statistics” listed below:

36 packs per box * 15 cards per pack = 540 cards

113 doubles, 6 triples

421 of the 792 card set. (53.2% set completion)

24 stickers (and 12 doubles)

13 singles were ruined (so many were doubles), so I really only completed ~51% of the set from this box. Down 5% from the ’81 box. Part of that is the increase in set size, but it’s a bit frustrating to not get the Ripken! Hopefully it’s in the vending box I bought, which I’ll open later.

Pack Promotions

20 09 2010

I haven’t really mentioned much in previous posts about what pack promotions Topps had in previous years. I’m updating those previous posts with that info, but here’s a quick summary:

1980 Topps

  • You could send in for information on personalized trading cards, “just like cards in this pack”, except supposedly “with your personal data on the back”
  • For 1 Topps baseball wrapper and 50 ¢, you could send in for an uncut sheet of all the Team Checklist cards.
  • Topps also issued some “test” wrappers with the “Hit to Win” promotion that was available in every wax pack in 1981 – I would presume this was issued later in the release run
  • You could send in 1 Topps wrapper (any sport), plus $5.25 plus 75 ¢ S&H to receive a Topps Sports Card Locker that held 1300+ cards

1981 Topps

  • Every pack contained a scratch off game called Topps “Hit to Win”, where various hits would win you prizes ranging from a Wilson Jim Rice model glove to various supersize glossy photos of “top players”
  • You could again, (though for 75 ¢ now) Send in 1 Topps baseball wrapper for an uncut sheet of all the Team Checklist cards
  • For $1 and a baseball wrapper, you could receive a collecting box with 5 “easy-to carry files”
  • For $8 bucks and a wrapper, you could get a “classic stripes cap” of an MLB team of your choice

1982 Topps

  • The back of packs advertised buying an album for the insert stickers where Topps cards were sold.
  • For $2 + 60¢ S&H, you could send in for 10 “Official Topps Sports Card Collectors Sheets”; these are 9-card sheets to store your cards, similar to what Ultra-Pro has today
  • Again, for $5.75 plus 75¢ S&H and 1 Topps (any sport) wrapper, you could send for the 1982 version of the Sports Card Locker
  • You could send in for the collecting box for the same cost as the year before

1982 Topps Overview

16 09 2010

I’m going to suspend my 90% set completion rule for a while until I get a bit further along in this project. The 1981 set is around 85% complete. And in total 1980-81 and 81T, I’m at 89% with a few cards in route. So that’s my rationalization, at least! I’d already bought the 1982 box a while back, so I might as well open it. Hopefully that is this weekend. I’ll work on getting some more of the ’81 cards in the near future.

Here’s an overview of the 1982 set:

  • 792 cards in the set – an increase of 66 cards from previous years.  This eliminated the need to double print 66 cards per set.
  • Subsets: Season Highlights (1-6), League Leaders (161-168), All-Stars (NL: 337-347, AL: 547-557) Team Leaders (26 cards throughout), Future Stars (26 cards throughout), and 40 in-action cards.  Team Leaders has the team checklist on the back and thus replaces the manager cards from the previous years.  The In-Action cards are also new; they number directly after the respective players’ base card and show an action shot of the player. The All-Star cards are new this year as well.  These 2 new additions represent the majority of the additional 66 cards. Because of the increase in set size, there are no longer any “double printed” cards in the set.
  • Set Design: The front features two lines running parallel down the left-hand side of the card around the bottom of the card.  The team (on top) and player name cover the bottom right-hand side.  The Topps logo is just above the team name.  The cards also contain a facsimile player signature over the player picture.  The green card back features stats from each season and career totals and, if there’s room, certain facts about previous MLB seasons (usually having nothing to do with the player on the front) along with a comic-type drawings related to those facts.
  • Packs: Cards were issued in 15 card wax packs (30¢ SRP) that came 36 packs per box and 20 per case.  Also available in 51 card rack packs, 36 card grocery rack packs and 28 card cello packs (49¢ SRP).
  • Rookies: Similar to 1980, there is really only one very significant rookie card in this set, but it’s a big one.  Cal Ripken Jr. is on the Orioles future stars card.  Coincidentally, the bottom of this card is on the top of my blog. Other rookies include future (and now former) all-time saves leader Lee Smith and future A’s Ace Dave Stewart.
  • Hall of Fame: There are 40 Hall of Famers in this set down from 46 the year before; no HOF-ers retired in ’81, however there were 8 HOF managers whose cards were replaced by Team Leaders subsets.  Add the Iron Man, of course, and Lee Smith to slightly offset that.
  • Harold Baines, Johnny Bench, Bert Blyleven, George Brett, Rod Carew, Steve Carlton, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Carlton Fisk, Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Fergie Jenkins, Jim Kaat, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Jack Morris, Eddie Murray, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Gaylord Perry, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Nolan Ryan, Mike Schmidt, Tom Seaver, Ted Simmons, Ozzie Smith, Willie Stargell, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Alan Trammell, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski, Robin Yount, Ripken, Smith
  • Last Active Player:  Rickey Henderson.  Jesse Orosco doesn’t have a card in this set, so Henderson is the only player from the set who was still active in 2003.

The blue & red wax box has a large baseball in the bottom-center with the “Topps” logo and the words “Baseball – the Real one” over it.  Above that are a fanned-out stack of cards.  The MLB licensing logo is in the lower right-hand corner.

After an appeal by Topps to the  case “Fleer Corp. v. Topps Chewing Gum, 1980”, Fleer and Donruss were still allowed to issue MLB card sets, however their packaging was no longer allowed to include bubblegum.  Donruss would issue puzzle cards, Fleer issued stickers with its cards.  So Topps was again the only company issuing the standard gum with their cards.  And 28 years later, when I open this box, I’ll be rewarded with 36 pieces of stale gum sticks and 36 cards with stains.  Just hoping a Ripken RC isn’t one of those.

Other items of relevance (or irrelevance, depending on your perspective):

Factory Set

For the first time, Topps issued a full factory set. It was available for order in J.C. Penney’s Christmas Catalog.  This set did not sell as well as it would in subsequent years, and is now very rare (read: expensive).

Update Set

Topps again released a 132-card Topps Traded set in factory set form.  This year, the set was numbered separately from the base set (#1-132).

Parallel Set

Canadian-based O-Pee-Chee again issued a set that was a partial parallel to the Topps base set.  Each of the cards in the 396-card set had the same design and photographs as the Topps set, with lighter card stock and bi-lingual backs (French and English).  The set leans contains more players from the Canadian teams, though this time subsets from the base Topps set (In-Action and All-Stars) were included.  Since the Future Stars subsets aren’t included, Cal Ripken’s RC isn’t included.

Insert Set

  • Each pack contained one of 48 mini stickers measuring 1-15/16 x 2-9/16 inches. This is kind of like the first insert set (at least the first out of the packs I’ve been buying)!  The sticker set is organized by team; AL cards have a red border, NL cards have a blue border, and are variations of cards from a larger set.  Topps sold the actual 260-card set of the stickers in individual packs at 20¢ for 5-sticker packs. The insert stickers have the same picture and correspond to the same number as the actual set, thus the 48 “insert cards” are skip numbered.  The inserted stickers had different backs; this is the only way to tell them apart.  The set has 6 Hall-of-Famers: Nolan Ryan, Andre Dawson, Gary Carter, Willie Stargell, Reggie Jackson and Rickey Henderson.  There was also 1 Big Red Machine member – Dave Concepcion.


  • For $2 + 60¢ S&H, you could send in for 10 “Official Topps Sports Card Collectors Sheets”; these are 9-card sheets to store your cards, similar to what Ultra-Pro has today.
  • Again, for $5.75 plus 75¢ S&H and 1 Topps (any sport) wrapper, you could send for the 1982 version of the Sports Card Locker.
  • You could send in for the collecting box for the same cost as the year before.
  • The back of packs advertised buying an album for the insert stickers (see below) where Topps cards were sold.

Other releases associated with the Topps flagship

#1 – Topps again issued a couple of team sets as a promotion with Coca-Cola, though it was only 2 teams this year – the Reds and Red Sox.  The cards carry an extra Coca-Cola logo on them, but are otherwise the same as the base set.  The Red Sox set was issued in Brigham’s ice cream stores and also carry their logo.  Each set contains 22 players and 1 header.

That’s the overview – I’ve had a box for quite a while, which I bought at the National. I’ll open it over the next week. I also have a vending box which I bought from an eBay auction along with a 1981 vending box. If I was collecting cards around now, it would be nearing my second birthday. I’d probably be a little stung by the strike, so maybe I’d wait to buy Topps for a little while. Though the ’81 season by Tom Seaver and the Reds’ promise for 1982 would surely get me back quickly.

The Bruce is Loose…

15 09 2010

Games up on the Cards


Magic #


Bruce is loose

Reds Magic Number update

14 09 2010

Also, I went to the US Open Final yesterday. I’m not the biggest tennis fan, and definitely not a Nadal fan, but any time I’ve got a chance to see some history I try to do so. It was my first tennis match ever – pretty sweet being in the Arthur Ashe stadium (except for the rain delay). It’s like you are in a bubble and the outside world doesn’t exist – all you see is the sky, the fans, and the court.

Still left on my New York sports to-do list – anyone have some suggestions to add? (anyone suggesting the Nets will be filtered as SPAM!, at least until they move from Newark to Brooklyn):

  • New Yankee Stadium (running out of time this year)
  • Meadowlands (going to see the Bengals in November)
  • Madison Square and the Knicks (I really hope they get ‘Melo – I would likely turn into a Knicks fan if they do)
  • July 4th Hot dog eating contest (OK, I will probably never actually do this, so maybe just going to Coney Island will suffice)
  • Old Timers’ game (done at old Yankee Stadium)
  • Brooklyn Cyclones game (done before I )
  • U.S. Open Tennis Final
  • Mets game at Citi Field (and a Reds win to boot)
  • Barclays golf tournament