1981 Topps parallels – Carl Yastrzemski

20 04 2016

1981 Topps

Card I selected:  #110 – Carl Yastrzemski

There are a ton of guys with 3 cards in 1981, as about 11 teams had a Coke team set.  So you’d just need to find somebody who is on one of those teams and also has an O-Pee-Chee card.  When I did my complete set post, Yaz was my 2nd favorite card in the set.  My favorite was a subset card of Tug McGraw after the Phillies clinched their first World Series, which doesn’t have any parallels.  The Red Sox are one of those teams that have a Coke set, and Yaz naturally has an OPC card.  So I went with him.  It’s a cool photo of him cleaning off his bat.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  3

The parallel sets in 1981 include:

  • O-Pee-Chee
  • Coca Cola team sets


1981 Topps #110

1981 Topps Yaz

1981 Topps Yaz back

1981 O-Pee-Chee #110

1981 Topps OPC Yaz

1981 OPC Yaz back

The Canadian version of the Topps set.  The set was again 374 cards, but somehow Yaz got the same number in this case.  Unlike 1980, the front of the card is slightly different from the Topps card.  There are a ton of differences for this card:

  • The baseball on the front says “O-Pee-Chee” instead of Topps.
  • The position on the cap is spelled out in both English and French .
  • The card number is – usually – different.
  • The copyright says O-Pee-Chee and notes the card was printed in Canada.
  • The card is printed on white card stock and tends to be poorly cut as cards from the early 80’s were for OPC.
  • The position on the back and the words “complete major league batting record” are shown in English and French.
  • There’s an O-Pee-Chee logo on the back instead of the Topps logo.

1981 Coca Cola Red Sox #11

1981 Topps Coke Yaz

1981 Topps Coke Yaz back

Topps issued 11 team sets in 1981 as a promotion with Coca-Cola.  Each of the 12-card sets features 11 players from the team and an advertising card.  Here’s how you can differentiate these cards from the Topps version:

  • There is a Coca-Cola logo in the upper corner on the front.
  • The card number is different.
  • There’s a Coca Cola logo on the back where the Topps logo is.
  • There’s copyright information regarding the Coke logo on the back.

The “Rainbow”:

1981 Topps Yaz rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  No, but I could have done some creative things with Topps Traded.  Carney Lansford and Ray Durham both switched teams in the 1981 offseason.  You can find them both in the Topps set with their old team (Angels & Cardinals), in the Coke set (Red Sox and Cubs) with the new team and a completely new picture.  They are also in O-Pee-Chee, and then of course in Topps Traded.

I’m going more for “Rainbow” cards, so I didn’t do that here.

Other cards I would have liked to do:

  • Al Hrabosky, Mike Schmidt and Kent Tekulve because I liked all of their photos.  Tekulve and Schmidt have a Coca-Cola version.  Schmidt’s card would be cool, because he has the All-Star designation and it’s shown in French and English on his O-Pee-Chee card.
  • Kirk Gibson because it’s his rookie card.  There’s a Coke version for him as well.

Completed set & master set – one last look at 1981 Topps

30 11 2011

The 1981 Topps and Traded set is my fourth set completed!  I’ve also completed my “personal master set” for this year as well – which I’m defining as the base set, the traded set, and any regular inserts.  Here’s the “look back” I do for each completed set.

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 405 cards from the wax box
  • 193 cards from a vending box
  • 10 cards from a rack pack
  • 111 cards from the trades
  • 1 card from the Diamond Giveaway (Phil Niekro)
  • 6 cards purchased from Sportlots

Card that completed my set: #218 – Paul Splittorff (the last of 6 cards I purchased from Sportlots)

Read the rest of this entry »

1981 & 1982 Topps odd-ball sets

10 11 2011

Continuing with what I went over yesterday – here’s some of the odd-ball sets Topps issued from 1981 and 1982 that I hadn’t covered before.  I only have one to add from each of these year.

Other releases associated with the Topps flagship – 1981

#1 – Topps issued a 11 team sets in 1981 as a promotion with Coca-Cola.  Each of the 12-card sets features 11 players from the team and an advertising card.  The sets have the exact same design and photo as the base Topps cards, except there is a Coca-Cola logo in the upper right-hand corner.  The teams featured are the Reds, Tigers, Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox, Astros, Mets, Royals, Phillies, Pirates and Cardinals.

I remember having the Reds set of these cards, and particularly remember the Johnny Bench.

Other releases associated with the Topps flagship – 1982

#1 – Topps again issued a couple of team sets as a promotion with Coca-Cola, though it was only 2 teams this year – the Reds and Red Sox.  The cards carry an extra Coca-Cola logo on them, but are otherwise the same as the base set.  The Red Sox set was issued in Brigham’s ice cream stores and also carry their logo.  Each set contains 22 players and 1 header.  Cards of the Yankees were going to be issued – there are a few known in existence according to the SCD Standard Catalog (Gossage, Reggie, Cerone).

’90 Reds Catchup Post – 1980-1981 Topps

4 01 2011

As mentioned in the last post, I’ll be scanning in players from the 90 Reds postseason roster. Here’s the lone 1980 card – though it’s not even really a 90 Reds. Sweet Lou still playing in pinstripes!

1980 – Lou Piniella

Ron Oester’s RC was in 1979 – he was shown on the Reds’ 3-player prospect card. However, he didn’t have a card in 1980. Rick Mahler, along with Oester, was the elder statesman on the Reds’ 1990 championship team. He saw (limited) MLB time in 1979, though he didn’t have RC until 1982.

1981 – Lou Piniella, Ron Oester

Pack Promotions

20 09 2010

I haven’t really mentioned much in previous posts about what pack promotions Topps had in previous years. I’m updating those previous posts with that info, but here’s a quick summary:

1980 Topps

  • You could send in for information on personalized trading cards, “just like cards in this pack”, except supposedly “with your personal data on the back”
  • For 1 Topps baseball wrapper and 50 ¢, you could send in for an uncut sheet of all the Team Checklist cards.
  • Topps also issued some “test” wrappers with the “Hit to Win” promotion that was available in every wax pack in 1981 – I would presume this was issued later in the release run
  • You could send in 1 Topps wrapper (any sport), plus $5.25 plus 75 ¢ S&H to receive a Topps Sports Card Locker that held 1300+ cards

1981 Topps

  • Every pack contained a scratch off game called Topps “Hit to Win”, where various hits would win you prizes ranging from a Wilson Jim Rice model glove to various supersize glossy photos of “top players”
  • You could again, (though for 75 ¢ now) Send in 1 Topps baseball wrapper for an uncut sheet of all the Team Checklist cards
  • For $1 and a baseball wrapper, you could receive a collecting box with 5 “easy-to carry files”
  • For $8 bucks and a wrapper, you could get a “classic stripes cap” of an MLB team of your choice

1982 Topps

  • The back of packs advertised buying an album for the insert stickers where Topps cards were sold.
  • For $2 + 60¢ S&H, you could send in for 10 “Official Topps Sports Card Collectors Sheets”; these are 9-card sheets to store your cards, similar to what Ultra-Pro has today
  • Again, for $5.75 plus 75¢ S&H and 1 Topps (any sport) wrapper, you could send for the 1982 version of the Sports Card Locker
  • You could send in for the collecting box for the same cost as the year before

1981 Topps Traded

8 09 2010

As mentioned, I’m going to collect the Traded sets each year. In 1981 was Topps added a new twist to an old idea. Topps had created updated “Traded” cards in 1974 and 1976. In those years, Topps Traded represented players who were traded or signed with new teams in the offseason. The sets totaled 44 cards – 43 players and 1 checklist; the players’ cards had the same numbering as their base set, however they had a “T” designation at the end of the card # and were noted as “Traded” on the front. These cards were inserted in packs at the end of the production run.

In 1981 Topps issued a 132 card set numbered as an extension of the set – #726-858 and organized in alphabetical order. As before, the set includes players who switched teams, however it also includes players who made their rookie debuts early in the year. The set was issued in a factory box, and has the same design as the base set (see to the left for examples – my obligatory big red machine guys).

Danny Ainge has an XRC, so there is one future NBA General Manager in this set. Fernando Valenzuela and Tim Raines, who had “future stars” rookie cards in the base set, also have cards in this set. There are 10 Hall of Famers in this set.

  • Cartlon Fisk is featured in his first card with the White Sox,
  • Rollie Fingers as a soon-to-be MVP and AL saves leader with the Brewers,
  • Joe Morgan is shown with the Giants (above),
  • Gaylord Perry began a 1-year stint with the Braves, teaming with another future 300-game winner Phil Niekro,
  • After leading the NL in saves with the Cubs in ’80, Bruce Sutter switched over to bitter rival Cardinals to …. lead the NL Saves yet again
  • Don Sutton traded in Dodgers blue to also pitch with another 300-game winner (Nolan Ryan) for the Astros
  • Dave Winfield began his stint with the Yankees – that equals 2 former NBA draft picks in this set
  • Bert Blyleven, Tim Raines and Ted Simmons all made it in since I first posted this

Sutter is the only player depicted in the team whose cap he bears on his Hall of Fame plaque.

Bert Blyleven will likely make it next year, and Raines qualifies as my “should be in” list. Since Morgan was in a previous scan, I decided to add one more on here. Leon Durham in his first card with the Cubs. I don’t know why, but “Bull” was a favorite of mine when I was pretty young. Was never the greatest player, but I think the Cubs were my 2nd favorite team then because I could watch Harry Caray on WGN. Maybe I knew he was from Cincinnati originally? Maybe it’s because his nickname matched the movie? Either way, this is a solid card.

I picked up the set at the National. Going through it, I was surprised to see that it was not organized in order – the set order was completely randomized. This seems unusual for a factory set. I also got a pretty poorly centered Valenzuela. That’s fine for this set, but I may be careful when I buy more expensive sets. It’s probably worth another 10 bucks to know my ’82 Ripken is centered OK.

More ’81 Topps Scans

29 08 2010

Here are some of the more prominent cards and rookie cards, including the ’81 League MVPs:

As mentioned in an earlier post – here’s the main card I’m missing:

The next few scans are some of the other cards I liked the best, be it because of the picture, the player or historical significance. One thing I noticed in the ’81 set – I think it has significantly better than photography than the previous year’s set. The Dawson picture below is just, at least to me, a really good picture. I thought his ’80 Topps photo was one of the better ones, but like most of that set, it was a standard posed shot. The other cards are all great action shots. Now maybe they aren’t nearly as good as the pictures got in the 90’s and beyond, but seeing both Sutter as he releases the ball, and Tekulve with his unique follow-through is pretty cool. The Pacella card below was the first card I saw when opening the first pack of the wax box – he threw so hard his cap fell off!

Yet again – here’s 3 guys I think should be in the HOF. Definitely Murphy and Trammell. I could buy no Whitaker, but it’s a tough sell. And he should at least have been able to garner the 5% to stay on the ballot! Oester is one of my favorite players from when I was younger – a staple at second base for the Reds in the 80’s. The other cards are neat subsets – the McGraw pic is an iconic image from the Phillies championship, the Bench HR record was a really big deal, the Ozzie assist record is something I didn’t know about, and the Average leaders commemorates Brett’s .390 season.

The next scan is the all facial-hair team from this set, and the following are some other funny pictures from the set.

Buck Showalter would not have approved of these guys. I guess people did wear their hats backward before Griffey Jr.

I didn’t realize this guy was a player in the 80’s – I thought the term came from a much earlier time period.

"The Mendoza Line"

According to Wikipedia (which means it must be correct, right?), the Mendoza Line is an informal term used in baseball for the threshold of incompetent hitting. Even though Mario Mendoza’s lifetime batting average is .215, the Mendoza Line is said to occur at .200, and when a position player’s batting average falls below that level, the player is said to be below the Mendoza Line. It is often thought of as the offensive threshold below which a player’s presence in MLB cannot be justified despite his defensive abilities.

The “Mendoza Line” was created as a harmless clubhouse joke amongst friends. “My teammates Tom Paciorek and Bruce Bochte used it to make fun of me,” Mendoza said in 2010. “Then they were giving George Brett a hard time because he had a slow start that year, so they told him, ‘Hey, man, you’re going to sink down below the Mendoza Line if you’re not careful.’ And then Brett mentioned it to Chris Berman from ESPN, and eventually it spread and became a part of the game.”

They also had a reference to this in an early “How I Met Your Mother” episode – the baseball and Star Wars references in that show make it pretty much “Legen” … wait for it … “dary”!!!

1981 Topps vending box break

23 08 2010

I opened a 1981 vending box, which I bought along with another ’82 vending box in an eBay auction. The “500 card box” had 513 cards. Numbers below don’t include the ’81 wax box, this gives a feel for how close the vending box got to completing a set:

24 doubles (no triples / quads)

489 of the 726 card set. (67.4% set completion)

I was again pretty shocked at how good the collation was for a vending box. Between the wax and vending boxes, I think the only key card I didn’t get for this set was the Tim Raines rookie card.

Again, though, the crossover between the wax and vending boxes wasn’t bad, in fact it was terrible this time. I’m 128 cards short out of 726 after opening both boxes. Some of this definitely relates to the wax box having two gum stains per box – I think I’d be under 100 if it wasn’t for that. But that’s still some pretty bad luck with almost 400 doubles.

1981 Topps cards of the Big Red Machine

17 08 2010

Three players and the manager already gone (and Perez is on his 2nd team since)

1981 Topps – family ties

17 08 2010

Brothers – I didn’t pull card #623 Sal Bando, so I didn’t scan that or his brother’s RC (Chris), but that’s one more pair.

Name their MLB father and/or son: