1983 Topps Overview

24 10 2010

Moving right along from the 1982 Topps set, here’s an overview of the 1983 Topps set:

  • 792 cards in the set – same as the previous year.
  • Subsets: Record Breakers (#1-6), All-Stars (#386-407) League Leaders (#701-708), Team Leaders (26 cards throughout), Managers (26 cards throughout), and 34 Super Veterans.  Team Leaders has a picture of the team’s Average and ERA leader on the front and the team checklist on the back.  The Manager cards returned after a 1-year hiatus, and show a picture of the manager, as opposed to a team photo, and contain the manager’s picture and career stats as a player and as a manager.  Gone to make room for the manager cards are the multi-card Future Starts subset – so any rookie cards are of a single player this year.  The Super Veteran cards show a recent picture with a rookie-year picture and are numbered directly after the respective player’s base card.
  • Set Design: The card front has a white border and features a large photo bordered by a team-specific color connected with the Topps Logo at the top.  There is a small cameo portrait at one of the bottom corners, while the other corner has the player name, position and team.  The red card back features player stats from each season and career totals and, if there’s room, 1982 season highlights for the player next to a silhouette of a pitcher.
  • Packs: Cards were issued in 15 card wax packs (30¢ SRP) and cellophane test packs (also 30¢, see below) 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: There are three significant rookies card in this set – three future Hall-of-Famers in Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, and Ryne Sandberg.  Other rookies include ’88 AL Cy Young / ’87 World Series MVP Frank Viola and ’85 NL MVP Willie McGee.
  • Hall of Fame: There are 44 Hall of Famers in this set {updated for Blyleven 2011 induction and Torre, Cox and LaRussa in 2014}, up from 33 the year before.  Willie Stargell retired in 1982 and was not featured in the set, and the same 5 HOF managers (Sparky, Whitey, Weaver, Dick Williams, and LaSorda) who were removed from the ’82 set, were back with their own card in this set.  Additionally, Frank Robinson was hired by the Giants as manager in ’81, and so he got a manager card for this set as well.  Add the 3 aforementioned RC’s of future HOF-ers, and there’s your net increase of 8.
  • Last Active Player: Jesse Orosco was back with a card – so both he and Rickey Henderson qualify as on the active roster at the end of 2003.  Orosco’s last game was later than Rickey’s.

The red and yellow wax box has a picture of a stack of cards with Reggie Jackson’s card at the top.  Below the card is the “Topps” logo and the words “Baseball – the Real one” with the MLB licensing logo below it.

Other items of relevance:

Factory Set

Topps issued a full factory set. It was available for order in J.C. Penney’s Christmas Catalog.  I believe this set was just contained in a cardboard box, not the packaged sets with pictures like they would produce in later years.

Update Set

Topps again released a 132-card Topps Traded set in factory set form.

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 for the second year the set also had subsets (Super Veteran and All-Stars) included.  Tony Gwynn and Ryne Sandberg’s rookie cards are included in the set, but the RC of Boggs is not.

Insert Set

  • Glossy All-Star set – 40 cards (send-in).  This is actually a send-in set.  By collecting 25 total bonus runs from the “Winning Lineup” scratch-off cards, collectors could mail-in (along with 50¢ S&H) for 5 cards which were part of the Topps “All-Star” Glossy sets.  Topps would produce this send-in set for nearly a decade.


  • Topps issued boxes with sealed cellophane wrappers as opposed to wax wrappers in a test effort.  These tamper-resistant packs were released in limited quantities in the Michigan area, and are generally referred to as “Michigan Test”.
  • Each wax pack contains a “Winning Lineup” scratch-off game card that could net collectors various prizes. The grand prize, 4 home was a trip with tickets to the World Series for scratching off 4 Home runs.  For scratching off 4 singles, collectors could send in for a 7.5″ x 10.5″ League Leaders sheet depicting 1982 NL/AL Leaders in HR, BA, W, and SV.
  • Again, 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 makes 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, $1 and a wrapper (wonder why Topps advertised these as new?)

That’s the overview – I’ve had the box for quite a while, which I ordered from eBay, and the vending box, which I got from D&A Card World. I’ve already opened the wax box, and will post that over the next few days. Forget the fact that I would be 3-years old and still trying to figure out the world; if I was collecting cards this year, I would definitely be buying wax and trying to collect enough to get the 40-card glossy all-star sets.



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