Best Player to retire in 1980. Willie McCovey.
Did he have a 1981 card? Yes – 1981 Fleer
McCovey retired around the All-Star break of the 1980 season as the 2nd player to hit home runs in 4 decades (Ted Williams was the first, Rickey Henderson and Omar Vizquel have since accomplished this). McCovey didn’t get a 1981 Topps card, but was included in the inaugural Fleer set.
Was a “retro” card ever produced? No – Topps hasn’t created any new cards showing Brock on a 1981 design. Again, I can point you to Uncle Doc’s Card Closet for an interesting take on what might have been.
Apologies to: J.R Richard, who did in fact have a 1981 Topps card, as well as in the 1982 set when he was attempting (unsuccessfully) to come back from the blood clot that ended his career. See that card above.