The best Topps card of the 1980’s

1 02 2013

Here’s the best card in my countdown of the top cards in the decade.  As a reminder, this is my opinion on the best card from the 80’s.  Not just the best photo, the best card design, the best player or the most notable card.  Really, I consider all of those factors and make a personal list, made up of the cards I think are the best.

1) 1980 Topps #482 – Rickey Henderson

1980 Henderson Ryan Ozzie

  • Rookie card of my favorite player not named Ken Griffey Jr.
  • Who’s also one of the best players to lace ’em up.  In my lifetime, I think he’s probably the third best batter – behind Bonds and A-Rod, just ahead of Ripken and Griffey, and with a TBD for Pujols.
  • 1980 Topps – one of my favorite card designs.
  • Great picture – Rickey’s notable, low-to-the-ground batting stance.
  • Facsimile signature that is placed perfectly and goes really well with the card and photo.
  • Old school Oakland uniform.

There’s a lot to love about this card.  This card is really why I started this blog – doing the lifetime Topps thing meant I could start with this set, which seemed untouchable when I was a kid with a 5 or 10-dollar allowance.

Also, not in my list above may be the most important factor – the year it was released.  In 1980, which was also the year I was born, there was only one game in town.  And that would be Topps.  So if you wanted to get a card of your favorite player, there was only one place to find it.  Want a rookie card of Tony Gwynn?  Wade Boggs?  There are 3 to choose from.  What about Cal Ripken?  Three as well, and the card everybody wanted was the Topps Traded that isn’t technically a rookie card.  Griffey?  There are actually 7 of his.  And if you go past the 1980’s, it gets down right ridiculous.  But there’s just one Rickey, and it’s the best card of the decade to me.





2 responses

1 02 2013

I like your top 5 batters with one exception. I don’t Ripken belongs with those guys. I would put any of George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Albert Pujols, or Ichiro ahead of Ripken (and maybe Jeter also). Ripken was a great player and could fit in the top 15 batters (which isn’t really an insult), but the streak has caused him to be supremely overrated.

1 02 2013

“Batter” may be the wrong term – I really meant “position player”. In that – I wasn’t just thinking about how good of hitters they were, but how valuable they were, factoring out pitchers.

Is Ripken overrated because of the streak? Yes, certainly (though I don’t think by that much). But I think he’s definitely a better overall player than Gwynn, and I would argue Boggs, too – but it’s pretty close. The guy won 2 MVP’s – both of them deserving – and really transformed the position of SS.

I guess I wasn’t really factoring in Brett, Yount, or Schmidt. Too much of their career came before my lifetime, and my memory of them is more of when they were chasing 3,000 hits.

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