1988 Topps Traded

22 03 2011

Topps issued a 132-card “Traded” set in factory form 1988 in the same format 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, new managers, and members of the 1988 US Olympic team.  The design is the same as the base set, and the cards were again printed in Ireland on white cardstock.  I love the Ireland card stock from these sets – but for this set in particular, a lot of the cards are poorly cut on the edges.

Dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set again received a miniature Bronze Card. For the third year in a row, this bronze replica was of a historic Topps card.  They’d done two of the great 50’s centerfielders from New York – so this time they naturally did Duke Snider’s 1955 Topps card. Topps also again issued a limited Tiffany set that had a glossy picture on the front.

There are no Big Red Machine players in this set and all were significant to that team.  There are 4 members of the 1990 Reds World Champion team in the set. Most notably is the RC for Chris Sabo, who won the Rookie of the Year award in 1988 and made the All-Star game in Cincinnati.  Danny Jackson was just as important to the Reds 1990 success – and in 1988, he had a year that would have won a Cy Young most seasons (23-8, 15 CG).  Unfortunately, Orel Hershiser had a truly historic season.  Jose Rijo was the Reds best pitcher in the early 90’s, and won the WS MVP against the team we traded for him (the A’s).  Jack Armstrong, who started the 1990 All-Star game, also had his RC in this set.

There are three Hall of Famers in the set – the Roberto Alomar RC is definitely the most notable card of this set:

  • Alomar now has the most recent First Topps Card of any Hall of Famer – taking that distinction over by 3 years from Kirby Puckett.
  • Goose Gossage had been traded by the Padres to the Cubs in February of 1988 for Mike Brumley and Keith Moreland.
  • Frank Robinson returned to the city where he won the triple crown, taking over for Cal Ripken Sr. 6 games into the 1988 season. He would go on to win AL Manager of the Year the next year.

Topps had included players from the ’84 Olympic team in its 1985 set, so this was the first time USA cards were presented in the Traded set.  This enabled them to get the USA cards into the set a year earlier.  There isn’t a card anywhere close to the magnitude of McGwire. However, there are a number of guys who had good careers from this sub-group, particularly Tino Martinez, Robin Ventura and Jim Abbott (go Blue).

There was more offseason movement in 1988 than in previous years, and free agent Kirk Gibson would go on to sign a lucrative deal with the Dodgers.  He’d win the MVP in 1988 and hit one of the most famous home runs in World Series history – a game winner of Dennis Eckersley in game 1.  Dave Parker was a big part of the A’s 1989 World Series championship – though the A’s gave up Rijo for the Cobra in the trade mentioned above.  Clark signed with the Yankees and had a good season, though he was soon traded to the Padres.  Welch would win the Cy Young for the A’s in 1990; his 27 wins that year are the closest anyone has got to 30 since Denny McLain in 1968.

The Alomar rookie and the Ventura/Abbott/Martinez from the USA set are the key rookies, but there are some others. I showed the Sabo rookie, but Mark Grace was the RoY runner-up and had the most hits of any player in the 1990’s.  Walt Weiss was the AL Rookie of the Year.  Brady Anderson is 1 of 2 player to have a 50-HR and 50-SB season.  Jack McDowell is a future Cy Young winner.  Ron Gant was a future 30-30 guy who would win comeback player of the year, and David Wells is probably the most successful player outside of Alomar (and maybe Grace) – he won 239 games, pitched a perfect game, and pitched on an astounding 11 different playoff teams (winning 3 World Series rings).


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