1984 Topps Glossy Sets

28 11 2010

Topps printed 2 Glossy All-Star sets in conjunction with its base set in 1984. The first set was a 22-card set commemorating the 1983 All-Star game. This set had the manager, the 9 starters, and an honorary captain card for each league (retiring stars Johnny Bench & Carl Yastrzemski).

12 Hall of Famers:     R. Carew, G. Brett, R. Yount, J. Rice, D. Winfield, C. Yastrzemski, W. Herzog, M. Schmidt, O. Smith, A. Dawson, G. Carter, J. Bench

Bench is the lone Big Red Machiner.

The next set was a 40-card send-in set returning for its 2nd season. After obtaining 25 “runs” from the “All-Star Baseball Game” card that came 1 per wax pack, you could send in to get 1 of 8 different 5-card portions of the set. The players in this set were primarily All-Stars from the previous year’s game (1983). Again, this wasn’t true for every player – Nolan Ryan and Pete Rose were not All-Stars in 1983 or 1984, but are included. Darryl Strawberry was not an All-Star in 1983, but was the Rookie of the Year, and he was an All-Star in 1984.

16 Hall of Famers:     E. Murray, R. Henderson, W. Boggs, G. Carter, G. Brett, N. Ryan, D. Winfield, O. Smith, J. Rice, R. Carew, S. Carlton, A. Dawson, R. Yount, M. Schmidt, C. Fisk

Rose is the lone Big Red Machiner. Interesting that Bench is in the earlier set, but not this one.

I got both sets on eBay. The first set was pretty cheap, like $4 including S&H. The second set was a little bit more, but I didn’t feel like waiting to find a good deal.

Trades & the “Local” Card Shop

27 11 2010

Over the past week, I’ve completed 3 trades. This increases the number of bloggers I’ve traded with by 150%! I’ve now made trades with 5 bloggers (Chris at Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz has sent me cards twice). Trading is great – it lessens the cards in my “doubles” boxes, and I get to cross some cards off the wantlist. I have more cards at my parents’ house, so someday in the (probably distant) future (since I now live 10 hours from Cincy not 2), I can look through some more boxes of cards. I’ve added links to any blogs that I’ve traded with to the right side of my blog. I’m at 5 and counting…

Adam at Thoughts and Sox sent me some newer cards – some 2010 Topps and some various cards from my Upper Deck wantlists. To hold up my end of the bargain, I dug through a bunch of doubles boxes I have from my previous collecting habits to dig up an assortment of various Red Sox cards, mostly from 1990-95, and maybe some 06-08 Upper Deck stuff if I remember correctly.

I did the same thing for Mariners cards to trade to Larry from Emerald City Diamond Gems. I only had 1 Griffey card in my current boxes – I’m guessing I pulled those cards out separately back in the day**. I also sent him the Tony Gwynn 2010 Topps base SP variation. Larry sent me a lot of Upper Deck wantlist cards, and a BIG chunk of 81 Topps cards.

Finally, I swapped some 1984 Topps cards with Chronicles of Fuji. This got my ’84 set up to a 85% complete, which is a great offset to the poor collation from those boxes.

Also, I’ve gone to a nearby card shop in Midland Park, NJ a couple of times. The store is called Baseball Card Store Inc. Most recently, I went to buy a bunch of supplies, and ended up getting a ’10 Topps Update HTA jumbo pack and a Mike Schmidt ’80 Topps card for a couple bucks. They’ve gone a little insert crazy – out of 50 cards, I had 9 insert cards. Including 1 Million Card Giveaway, and a Randy Wells autograph. I guess an auto is a good thing, right?

Here’s the card I got from the site (hopefully I don’t pull that card when I buy my 2001 box):

**For those who read an early post of my blog – I am a huge Griffey fan. Other than Jalen Rose, Junior is probably my favorite sports figure. My wife and I have a 1-year old dog named Griffey. I used to have a girl dog named Rose. After Jalen, not Creepy Peter Edward. I was told by my wife that it would not be appropriate to name any children after either of these people. Not even a middle name.

1984 Topps Traded

26 11 2010

Topps again issued a 132-card factory “Traded” set in 1984. The setup of the 1984 Traded set was the same as the previous two years; cards were numbered in alphabetical order, separately from the base set with a “T” suffix as #1-132. The design was the same as the base set, and for the 2nd year in a row the cards were printed in Ireland on white cardstock. The set contains XRC’s of players who didn’t have a card in the base set, players who signed with or were traded to new teams, and new managers.

For the 2nd year in a row, Dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set also received a miniature Bronze Card – this time the card was a replica of Darryl Strawberry’s 1984 Topps Base Rookie Card. For the first time, Topps issued a Tiffany set that had a glossy picture on the front.

There are 3 Big Red Machiners in the set – Tony Perez and Joe Morgan were in the Traded set for the 2nd year in a row, joined by Pete Rose. All 3 left the Philadelphia after a BRM “reunion” and a World Series appearance in 1983. Perez was on a 1 year deal, and returned to Cincy by signing a free agent contract with the Reds. Morgan and Rose were both released in October of 1983. Morgan returned home for his second 1-year stint in the Bay Area, this time signing with his hometown Oakland A’s. Rose signed with the Montreal Expos, where he would collect his 4,000th hit and play for just over half a season. This card is one of the few Rose Expos cards. Cards I know of that feature him in Canadian attire:

84 Topps Traded, 84 Topps Traded Tiffany, 84 Fleer Update, 84 Stuart Expos, 84 All-Star Program insert, (Note that 84 OPC – picture in Phillies uni, but denotes he was traded and team name says Expos)

This is by no means the most expensive set in the 80’s. But from my perspective, it seems pretty loaded for a Traded set. There are 7 Hall of Famers in this set.

  • Morgan & Perez, as noted above
  • Tom Seaver, who was selected as a free agent compensation pick by the White Sox. Seaver was left unprotected after a 1-year return to the Mets, who assumed no team would want a 39-year-old pitcher with a decent-sized contract.
  • Dennis Eckersley, who was traded from the Red Sox to the Cubs in May. Eckersley helped the Cubs to their first postseason appearance in 39 years, though he lost a game in the NLCS.
  • Phil Niekro was signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees. “Knucksy” would win 16 games for the Yankees in 1984 and make his final All-Star game selection. He would also win his 300th games with the Yankees a season later.
  • Goose Gossage left the Yankees to sign as a free agent with the Padres. One of many new faces for San Diego in 1984, Goose clinched the game 5 NLCS win to send the club to its first World Series appearance.
  • Yogi Berra was signed for his second stint as manager for the Yankees. This card is interesting because this hiring led to a decade-plus rift where Berra did not return to Yankee Stadium. Yogi managed the team in 1984 and agreed to return in 1985 after owner George Steinbrenner told him he would manage the full season. 16 games into the ’85 season, Steinbrenner reneged on that promise and fired Berra. Yogi held a grudge for years and his participation in Yankee celebrations seemed finished; he even stayed away from Yankee Stadium for the dedication of his plaque in Monument Park. To quote the former catcher – “it ain’t over ’til it’s over”. Steinbrenner finally issued a public apology in the late 90’s, and Yogi returned for “Yogi Berra Day” in 1999. There he caught the ceremonial first pitch from Don Larsen – to battery mates for the historical World Series perfect game. At that game, David Cone put an appropriate stamp on the tribute by throwing the 3rd perfect game in Yankees history.

Perez and Berra are the only players featured with the cap from their HOF plaque. Both are on return stints to the team they are most associated with.

The set is best known for the Dwight Gooden XRC; the Strawberry card from the year before and the 84 Donruss Mattingly were some of the cards that started the Rookie card craze in the hobby. Future 2x Cy Young winner Brett Saberhagen and future WS MVP Jose Rijo also have XRC’s in this set.

There were some other Rookies in this set who would go on to have very productive careers, and there were also some guys who would have some serious impact on future pennant winning and World Championship teams. Willie Hernandez would win the AL MVP for the World Champion Detroit Tigers. Darrell Evans didn’t have a great year for the Tigers, but in 1985 he would become the first player to hit 40 homers in both leagues. Graig Nettles joined Gossage in moving from the Bronx to San Diego. Buckner and Johnson would both have what I’ll call “significant” impact on the 86 World Series – Johnson as the winning manager, Buckner as the goat. These are the first cards with those teams.

1984 Topps scans

24 11 2010

Here’s what I’d consider the most famous cards of the set. The first two are the most recognizable RC’s from then and now. I’ve read on a lot of blogs that collectors born before the 1980’s (so basically anyone older than me) generally don’t like the RC craze that took over the hobby in the 80’s and 90’s. I tend to disagree with them up to a point. To me, the idea of rookie cards is generally a good one. Having the first card of a star means you’ve either got a card from when no one knew what was to come, or, for these 2 guys, from when they were the new “buzz” in the baseball world. When Doc Gooden or Darryl Strawberry were a rookies for the Mets, it wasn’t just that their RC’s got valuable. They were the biggest stories in baseball at the time. For Gooden, he was the biggest story in baseball in the ’84 and ’85 season. Why shouldn’t their first card carry a premium? Now I agree, this can go too far – it’s done so when you had sets or large subsets that are built just for prospecting guys who are 3 years from even making the majors. The new fix MLB imposed a few years ago (no cards until the guy has made his debut) seems to help this.

The Ryan/Carlton/Perry highlight card is truly iconic to me. Johnson’s mark of 3,509 strikeouts had stood for 56 years, and Johnson himself set the record 6 years before he retired. So this was a 62 year-old record. And 3 guys surpassed it in the same season. Plus, it was the all-time strikeout record – if chicks dig the long ball, the second best thing is the strikeout.

The Quisenberry may not quite rise to the same category as the other 3 – but to me, this card also commemorates a pretty big record. His 45 saves shattered the record of 38. And he truly had a great season. Quiz was quite the character in baseball – at times he seemed halfway amused with his success, halfway struggling with it. He became a poet after he retired, and published a book of his work, “On Days Like This”, in 1998. Sadly, Quiz died of cancer that same year. See the picture of his book at the end of this post.

Speaking of pretty good players, here are some pretty good players on cards pretty early in their career (but not the dreaded RC’s)! These guys hod quite a few batting titles, MVP’s, and a Cy Young Award.

Speaking of winning Cy Young Awards. This guy won a few. Topps honored him with a bunch of different subsets, and they sure went with a variety of poses in doing so. The highlight card acknowledges his 300th win in addition to his ending the season as the all-time strikeout leader.

Speaking of all-time leaders with a lot of subset cards. Here’s Rickey’s 4 cards that I pulled. Much like fellow recent Hall-of-Famer Andre Dawson – Rickey’s base Topps cards always seem to be a really good picture.

Speaking of recent HOF-ers. Here’s 12 more cards of Hall-of-Famers. I like most of these shots. The Jackson card does seem to show another lack of variety across the years – most of his 80’s Topps cards have him kneeling down at the end of that powerful swing. The Jenkins card was his last Topps card; it’s strange that he had a base card this year, despite retiring at the end of the 1983 season. Bench, Yastrzemski and Perry did so as well, and they were only featured in subset cards. The Seaver card shows his 1-year return to the Mets, and I never knew Jim Rice was in the “Oscar Gamble crazy afro” club too!

Here’s some other recognizable players. This is Hernandez’s first regular issue card with the Mets (he was in the Traded set the year before). I like the Fernando shot – this was when he was still considered one of the best in baseball. Garvey is shown in his first regular issue card without the Dodgers – he helped get the Padres to the World Series in 1984. Good shot of future manager Brenly in all his catcher’s gear. Bucky Dent with the Rangers? I didn’t know he played with the Rangers. He had some cool glasses though.

Speaking of cool glasses, these guys are the pre-cursors to Chris Sabo. I wonder if Knicely wore his glasses under that catcher’s mask.

As mentioned, here’s Quiz’s book. This is the largest picture I could find.

1984 Topps Cards – Big Red Machine

23 11 2010

For the ’84 set, I got every base card except Pete Rose. His card is shown here. So is the Bench/Yaz/Perry retirement card, which is the last Topps card for Bench and the other 2 Hall-of-Famers. The base cards I did pull are below.

BRM-ers were a part of 5 of the subset for “active career leaders”. In fact, for the one for NL hits, Perez and Rose were on there. I pulled 2 of this subset, but was still missing 3 others. See the scan below.

Here are the ones I didn’t pull, so I stole the pic from the WWW. The “Big Dog” was on 3 of these!

Most Votto Player

22 11 2010

Joey Votto ran away with the National League MVP award today, taking 31 of 32 first place votes, tallying 443 total points. This vote comes after Votto led the Reds to their first playoff appearance since 1995. Votto led the National League in SLG (.600), OBP (.424). He hit .324 (2nd) with 37 HR and 113 RBI (both 3rd in the league).

Votto beat out fellow triple crown contenders Albert Pujols (279 points – and the other first place vote) and Carlos Gonzalez  (240). Adrian Gonzalez (197), Troy Tulowitzki (132) round out the top 5. Cy Young winner Roy Halladay was the highest ranking pitcher, placing 6th with 130 points.

Votto is the 10th Red to win the award, and this is the Reds 12th award (Bench and Morgan each won MVP twice). Reds players have won the award at every position except third base – Rose was 2 years from moving to 3rd when he won the award in 1973. Votto is the 3rd Canadian born player to win the award. Here’s hoping down the road he joins Bench and Morgan in winning the award multiple times!

Cincinnati Reds MVP winners

1938 – Ernie Lombardi C

1939 – Bucky Walters SP

1940 – Frank McCormick 1B

1961 – Frank Robinson OF

1970, 1972 – Johnny Bench C

1973 – Pete Rose OF

1975, 1976 – Joe Morgan 2B

1977 – George Foster OF

1995 – Barry Larkin SS

2010 – Joey Votto 1B

Canadian-born players to win MVP

1997 – Larry Walker, Colorado Rockies OF

2006 – Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins 1B

2010 – Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds 1B

1984 Topps vending box

21 11 2010

In the past I was posting how much of the set was completed by the vending box break (stand-alone – as if I had just opened that box and not the wax box). Doing this and then putting it together with the wax box I’d opened was taking too much time. So I’m just posting how the vending box did for completing the set.

Since the wax box was so poorly collated, it stood to reason that the vending box would do better in helping complete the set. It did. I got 194 base cards that I hadn’t had from the first box break. So I had a total of 560 cards, or 71%, toward finishing the set. I did get the Ripken 3rd year card and the Sandberg 2nd year card out of this pull, so that was a good thing. Gwynn is the only notable card I didn’t pull from one of the boxes. So I don’t have his RC or his 2nd year card.

I also bought a few rack packs as part of an eBay auction. After opening everything, I have 660 cards out of the set. So I’m getting there. As usual, I’ll post some pictures in a later post this week.

1984 Topps wax box break

20 11 2010

I finished breaking the 1984 wax box, which I bought from BBXC, it ran fifty bucks. I pulled both the key Rookies – Mattingly and Strawberry. Of the key 2nd year guys, I only pulled Boggs – so no Gwynn or Sandberg. I also didn’t pull the Ripken card.

So not so great there, and overall, the collation was pretty awful for this set. It seems to be getting gradually worse – 1980 was the best (though ’83 was good too), and you’d think it would improve since the set got 66 cards bigger in 1982. I had a total of 174 doubles out of the 540 cards in the box – compared to 20 from the year before! That’s a really bad drop-off!

The one saver here – Topps packaged the cards so that the wax was again touching the front of the first card. In 1983, it was touching the back, and because of that and the gum stain, basically 2 cards per pack were not salvageable. Well this year, it was the exact opposite. For whatever reason, the gum stains only ruined a couple cards. And since the front touched the was, I was able to get the wax off the front of most of the cards. So compared to about 70 ruined cards from 1983, I had only 4 or 5 this box, and only 1 was a single. Stats for the box:

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

174 doubles

366 of the 792 card set. (46.2% set completion)

36 “All-Star Baseball” game cards

1 singles was, so I really about the same portion of the set as above. Still much worse than last year – I can’t wait until the gum issue goes away! Though that will probably not be until the mid 90’s. I still haven’t had a real valuable card with a stain yet, so that’s good.

I’ve opened the vending box as well; I’ll update my checklist of cards for the ’83 set in a little bit – including that break.

1984 Topps Overview

19 11 2010

An overview of the 1984 Topps set:

  • 792 cards in the set – the same since 1982.
  • Subsets: 1983 Highlights (1-6), League Leaders (131-138), All-Stars (386-407), Active Leaders (701-718), Team Leaders (26 cards throughout), and Managers (26 cards throughout). Team Leaders has a picture of the team’s Average and ERA leader on the front and the team checklist on the back.  The Active Leaders subset pictures the top 3 career leaders in 9 statistical categories in each league and has a list of all-time and active leaders on the reverse.
  • Set Design: Similar to the year before, the card front featured a dual picture format.  The front has a white border featuring a large photo with a cameo portrait in the bottom left-hand corner and the Topps logo in the top right-hand corner.  The team name is positioned vertically in team colors on the left-hand side, while the player name and position is shown across the bottom right part of the border.  The blue card back features the team logo in the upper right-hand corner, player stats from each season and career totals, and if there’s room, 1983 season highlights.
  • Packs: Cards were issued in 15-card wax packs (30¢ SRP) that came 36 packs per box and 20 per case.  Also available in 55-card rack packs, 36-card grocery rack packs with 3 sticks of gum, and 28-card cello packs (49¢ SRP).
  • Rookies: The most significant rookies are Don Mattingly and Darryl Strawberry – after Strawberry had an XRC the year before.  Andy Van Slyke and Julio Franco also had rookie cards in the set.
  • Hall of Fame: There are 49 Hall of Famers in this set, down 2 from the year before.  Manager Earl Weaver retired in 1982 and 1983 was his last card.  Jim Kaat also retired in 1983 and didn’t have an ’84 Topps card.  There were no new Hall of Famers in the set.
  • Harold Baines, Johnny Bench, Bert Blyleven, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Rod Carew, Steve Carlton, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Carlton Fisk, Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Fergie Jenkins, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Jack Morris, Eddie Murray, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Gaylord Perry, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken, Nolan Ryan, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt, Tom Seaver, Ted Simmons, Lee Smith, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Alan Trammell, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski, Robin Yount, Sparky Anderson (mgr), Bobby Cox (mgr), Whitey Herzog (mgr), Tony LaRussa (mgr), Tommy LaSorda (mgr), Frank Robinson (mgr), Joe Torre (mgr), Dick Williams (mgr)
  • Last Active Player:  Ageless wonder Franco replaces 2 ageless wonders Jesse Orosco and Rickey Henderson.  Franco’s last MLB game was 9/17/07.

The blue wax box has a picture of a stack of cards with Steve Carlton’s card at the top.  Below the card is the “Topps” logo and a banner with the words “Baseball” covering a baseball.  The words “the Real one” are below the banner along with the MLB licensing logo.

Other items of relevance:

Promo Cards

Topps issued 66 promo / sample cards as blank-backed versions of the cards in the set. Other than the blank back, this version is also distinguishable by the “encased” portrait photo in the lower left-hand corner.  The edge of the small portrait photo is cut off by the border, whereas for the regular set, the top of the player’s head/cap will overlap the border.

Factory Set

Topps again issued a full factory set available for order in J.C. Penney’s Christmas Catalog.  This set was again packaged in an unmarked cardboard box.

Update Set

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

Parallel Sets

For the first time, Topps issued a Tiffany variation in factory set form. Similar to the 1983 Topps Traded set, this card was printed on white cardstock. The cards were limited to 10,000 sets and also contained a glossy photo on the front.

Topps also issued a full parallel set as an uncut sheet as a promotion with Nestle.  Many of the sheets were cut up to be sold as individual cards.  The only difference for these cards from the base set is that the Nestle logo replaces the Topps logo.

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 the All-Stars subset is also included.

Insert Sets

  • All-Star Glossy – 22 cards (1 per rack pack).  For the first year (at least the first year since my collection starts), there is an insert set.  Each rack pack contained 1 insert of a 22-card All-Star Glossy set.  This is the first insert set I’ve come across, excluding the stickers from 1982, which I guess I don’t count since they weren’t standard-size cards.
  • Glossy All-Star – 40 cards (send-in).  By collecting 25 total bonus runs from the “All-Star Baseball” game-cards, collectors could mail-in (along with 50¢ S&H) for 5 cards which were part of the Topps “All-Star” Glossy sets.


  • Topps offered collectors the 6 uncut sheets of 132 cards that make up the full set for $30.
  • Topps created a card of “Darryl Palmer” – the fictional character played by Michael O’Keefe from the movie “The Slugger’s Wife”. It was designed the same as the base Topps sets and numbered as card #801.
  • Topps tested a special send-in offer in a few states where collectors could obtain from the company ten cards of their choice, however, they were forced to print more of the Mattingly and Strawberry cards due to high demand.
  • Each wax pack contains a “All-Star Baseball Game” game card that either contained an instant winner of a certain prize or could be sent in for a drawing to win a trip for 4 to the World Series.
  • 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.
  • You could again send in for the collecting box for the same cost as the year before, $1 and a wrapper.

Other releases associated with the Topps flagship

#1 – Topps created a set of 12 metal replicas of base cards called the “Gallery of Immortals” at 1/4 the size. There are two variations of these 1/4 size cards – Bronze and Silver, while there is a pewter Tom Seaver variant given to dealers who purchased the set.

#2 – Topps also made 30 cards that were larger (4-7/8 x 6-7/8), with only the numbering differing from the base set.  Called Topps “Super”, these cards came in 1-card packs, 36 per box.

That’s the overview – I got from Baseball Card Exchange along with the ’83 and ’84 Traded Factory sets. I’ve actually opened the wax box, still need to do the vending box I bought.  I will post that over the next few days. I was 4 years when this set was released; at that point I still wasn’t really that into sports yet, and definitely not baseball cards.  I may have been just starting to get into Saturday morning cartoons and possibly even Star Wars.  The Reds were unremarkable (I mean, Pete Rose was an Expo!), so that wasn’t drawing me into cards.

But if I was collecting cards this year, just like 1983, I’d have been trying my best to get the 40-card glossy set, 5 cards at a time.  I’d also probably buy a lot of the rack packs to try to collect the 22-card glossy All-Stars there.

More Topps cards from the postman

17 11 2010

Thanks for a second time to Chris at MadduxGlavineSmoltz! He sent over a bunch of 1982 and 1983 Topps cards from my wantlist, putting a good dent into completion of those sets. And even a few cards from my upper deck want list to boot!

I updated my wantlists for those cards, and for the Topps 2010 Update Set. There are one or two folks from other sites who I’m supposed to look into trades for – hopefully I’ll get to that his weekend.