1986 Topps Traded

21 01 2011

Topps again issued a 132-card “Traded” set in 1986 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 again 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.

Topps only issued the set in factory form this year; in 1985 Topps ran a test issue of releasing the Traded cards in wax packs as well as the factory set. Apparently, this test didn’t convince Topps to keep up with this idea.

Dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set also received a miniature Bronze Card – though this time the bronze card was not a replica of a current year base card. Instead, dealers received a bronze replica of the iconic 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps card. For the 3rd year, Topps also issued a Tiffany set that had a glossy picture on the front.

Ken Griffey is the lone Big Red Machiner in this set; in June of 1986, he was traded from the Yankees to the Braves for Claudell Washington. As a result, he got this airbrushed card in the 86 Topps Traded set.

There are 2 members of the 1990 Reds World Champion team in the set. Billy Hatcher was traded by the Cubs to the Astros after the 1985 season, and Lou Piniella was hired as Yankees manager, replacing Billy Martin. Piniella would be promoted to general manager before the 1988 season, and Martin would in turn replace Piniella. BUT!!! Then Martin would again be fired less than halfway through the 1988 season, and Piniella would then replace Martin for the remainder of that season. It’s all quite confusing.

There are three Hall of Famers in the set:

  • Tom Seaver traded his White Sox for some Red ones in June when Chicago traded him to Boston for Steve Lyons. Because of this, he got one of the worst airbrushed jobs I’ve ever seen. This one has to take the cake.
  • 47-year old Phil Niekro signed as a free agent with the Indians in April
  • After a winning record but a 3rd place finish, Dick Williams was let go by the Padres just before the 1986 season commenced. He was hired by the Mariners to manage their ballclub after a Chuck Cottier was fired 28 games in.

The MLB owners were found to be colluding during the 85/86 offseason, so there aren’t a lot of big name veterans who left via free agency. Niekro may have been the biggest free agent name to switch teams, and though he’d won 16 games the year before, he left because the Yankees didn’t want to re-sign him. Most of the veterans in this set switched teams via trades, and unlike the year before, this set has quite a few high-profile Rookie Cards. 

The biggest is the all-time Home Roid King, Barry Bonds – Bonds wasn’t in any 86 base sets, but was included in all 3 manufacturers Update sets. Also joining Bonds was his “Killer B” compatriot, Bobby Bonilla, who was still in the White Sox minor league organization. At the time this set was released and through the early 90’s, Jose Canseco’s card was even more recognizable than the Bonds card. That’s 2 of the 4 members of the 40-40 club (the other 2 were traded for each other at one point – can you name them?). Canseco bashed over 30 homers and was the Rookie of the Year in 1986, and his cards were the hottest in the hobby. Now it can be had for a few bucks, though it’s still the 2nd most valuable card in this set.

On top of that, you had future Giants great Will “the Thrill” Clark, who probably should have been the 1989 NL MVP, and at one point was arguably the best player in baseball. And “The Big Cat”, who hit 399 career homers, and along with Bonds is one of the few hitters in baseball history who has won all 3 jewels of the triple crown without ever winning the triple crown (so is one of those mystery 40-40 men, and so is Babe Ruth). And finally, the Heisman Trophy winning, NFL first overall draft pick. On top of these 6, there’s still a few more good RC’s in this set:

Bonds and Bonilla’s soon-to-be manager. Will Clark’s future teammate – who beat him out for that 1989 MVP award. And future Phillies All-Star / ESPN analyst John “I’m not an athlete” Kruk. All in all, this is a very solid set!


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3 responses

22 01 2011
sanjosefuji

Epic set… love that bronze Mantle!

23 01 2011
Jim Crawford

another great post

25 01 2011
chuckneo

Thanks!

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