1985 Topps Traded

26 12 2010

Topps again issued a 132-card “Traded” set in 1985 in the same fashion as previous years; cards were numbered in alphabetical order, separately from the base set with a “T” suffix as #1-132. 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. The design was the same as the base set, and the cards were again printed in Ireland on white cardstock.

For the first time, Topps issued the Traded set in wax packs, 15 cards / pack and 36  packs / box, with packs retailing at 35¢. These wax boxes were a limited issuance, and today fetch a pretty penny – a box runs over 300 bucks on the few websites I could find, while the set itself will run under $10.

Keeping with previous traditions, dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set also received a miniature Bronze Card – this time the card was a replica of Pete Rose’s player card from the 1985 Topps set – no doubt capitalizing on his return to the Reds. For the 2nd year, Topps also issued a Tiffany set that had a glossy picture on the front.

There are no Big Red Machiners in this set, and there are 5 Hall of Famers in the set.

  • Bruce Sutter was signed by Atlanta as a free agent from the Cubs in the offseason.
  • Don Sutton, who was traded from the Brewers to the Oakland A’s in the offseason.
  • Rickey Henderson left Oakland for the first of four times, this time via a trade to the Yankees for a slew of players – Tim Birtsas, Stan Javier, Eric Plunk, and Jose Rijo. Funny, the A’s would get Rickey back via trade from the Yanks in 1989, and one of the players involved was Eric Plunk. That has to be a pretty rare occurrence in the annals of Major League Baseball – two players swapped and then later reversed back by the same two teams. I don’t even know how to look that up – but I did find that a player named Harry Chiti was traded for himself in 1962.
  • The Expos, probably assuming Gary Carter was over the hill for a catcher, was traded to the Mets in the ’84 offseason for 4 younger players, including Hubie Brooks, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans. The trade worked out well for both – Carter made 4 more All-Star teams and helped lead the Mets to a World Series title, but he was closer to the downside of this career than his peak.
  • Earl Weaver retired in 1982 after a long, successful tenure in Baltimore, and his replacement Joe Altobelli guided the O’s to a World Series title in his first year. However, the Orioles didn’t meet expectations over the next couple years, and Altobelli was fired midway through the ’85 season. Shortly thereafter, Weaver was talked out of retirement to again lead the team.

Also notable to me from this set was the two Yankees below. The Bombers traded for Dale Berra (manager Yogi’s son) in December of 1984). Less than 20 games into the 1985 season, Steinbrenner fired the elder Berra from his post in what was a very public breakup that left Yogi at odds with the organization for 10+ years (the next two of which meant those Yankees were his son’s employer). To boot, Yogi’s old teammate Billy Martin was hired as the replacement, his 4th of 5 stops at the helm of the club.

The set really has few XRC’s worth more than a brief mention. Vince Coleman is the only player other than Rickey to steal 100 bases 3 times. Tom Browning was a mainstay for the Reds for a number of years, and pitched a perfect game in 1988. And Ozzie Guillen was an All-Star shortstop for the White Sox and eventually, in 2005, managed the club to its first World Championship since the Black Sox Scandal.

 HoJo was another Mets pickup that contributed significantly to their ’86 WS win, and Clark and Fred Lynn are two excellent players portrayed in this set.

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