1985 Topps parallels – Gary Matthews

24 04 2016

1985 Topps

Card I selected:  #210 – Gary Matthews

As I promised yesterday – in 1985 I’m finally picking a guy who isn’t a Hall-of-Famer.  In 1985, Topps made a pretty rare test version of 132 of their cards in “mini” format.  They also made a partial parallel, 60-card set of extra-large cards called Topps Super.  If you cross-check the two checklists, there aren’t many guys in both sets.  Gary Matthews is one of those players, and I kind of liked his card.  The Cubbie blue combined with the short team name seems to go well with the 1985 Topps design.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  5

The parallel sets in 1985 include:

  • O-Pee-Chee
  • Tiffany
  • “Mini” test
  • Super


1985 Topps #210

1985 Topps Gary Matthews

1985 Topps Gary Matthews back

1985 O-Pee-Chee #210

1985 OPC Gary Matthews

1985 OPC Gary Matthews back

The Canadian version of the Topps set was, again, 396 cards; half the size of the Topps set.  Matthews got the same number in both sets – there’s a 50/50 proposition for that.  If a player is in the OPC set, he’ll have the same number if he’s in the first half (#1-396) of the Topps set.

Here are the differences for this card:

  • The “O-Pee-Chee” logo on the front replaces the Topps logo in the top left.  It has a yellow box as background that isn’t there on the Topps version.
  • On some of the cards (not this one), the card number is different.
  • The copyright on the bottom of the back says O-Pee-Chee and notes the card was printed in Canada.
  • The card is printed on white card stock.
  • Any wording on the back is in both English and French.
  • It says O-Pee-Chee on the back instead of “Topps”.

1985 Topps Tiffany #210

1985 Topps Tiffany Gary Matthews

1985 Topps Tiffany Gary Matthews back

For the 2nd year, Topps issued a Tiffany variation in factory set form, printed on white cardstock with glossy coating on the front.  The 1985 Tiffany set had half the production of the previous year, limited to 5,000 sets, and is one of the most expensive sets of the 80’s given the plethora of rookies and short production.

1985 Topps Mini Test #210

1985 Topps Mini Gary Matthews

1985 Topps Mini Gary Matthews back

As part of its relationship with O-Pee-Chee, Topps tested printing equipment in Canada by printing variations of certain cards in the base set that were ~10% smaller than the base cards (2-3/8″ x 3-9/32″).  The cards were printed on white cardboard stock.  Only 1 sheet was printed, so there were only 132 cards printed.  These cards made it out the backdoor in Canada, and now can cost quite a bit if you want one of the star cards that were on that sheet.  I got this one for 10 bucks on eBay.  I’ve read estimates of around 100 of these cards out there.

1985 Topps Super #19

1985 Topps Super Gary Matthews

1985 Topps Super Gary Matthews back

Also for the 2nd straight year, Topps also made a set that was larger (4-7/8 x 6-7/8) than the base, this time with twice as many cards (60).  The numbering is obviously different from the base set, and this .  Called Topps “Super”, these cards came in 1-card packs, 36 per box.  Other than the size and numbering difference, these cards have an extra bit of write-up at the bottom, highlighting the player’s statistics.

The “Rainbow”:

1985 Topps Gary Matthews rainbow

1985 Topps Super Gary Matthews

Any sets I didn’t get:  There’s no others that I know of.

Other cards I would have liked to do:

Pete Rose, Darryl Strawberry, Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn and Eddie Murray were all great cards, but weren’t in the Mini set.  Joe Morgan was a cool card, too.  It’s his last card; he played with the A’s to wrap up his career in 1984.  His OPC card has wording on the front denoting his retirement.  Alas, while he has a mini card, it would be pretty expensive, and he wasn’t in the Topps Super set.  Matthews seemed like a good choice compared to the few other guys who would also have 5 cards.


Completed set & master set – one last look at 1985 Topps

22 12 2011

I’m finished up with my standard 1993 Topps posts – and since we’re getting to the end of the year, I’m going to do some other things before I move on to 1994 Topps.  I plan on a few posts about insert sets I’ve completed from the 2010 and 2011 products I purchased throughout this year. I’ll also do a top card of the year.  Then I’ll get back to my project in early January – with busting some 1994 Topps boxes.  Before that, I’ve got one more base set from the 1980’s that I completed.

The 1985 Topps and Traded set is one of three sets I completed in late November after buying some cards from Sportlots.  It’s my sixth set completed overall.  I’ve also completed my “personal master set” for this year as well – the base set, the traded set, and any regular inserts.  Here’s the “look back” for this set.

Info about my set:

How I put the set together – 792 cards:

  • 397 cards from the wax box
  • 275 cards from a vending box
  • 114 cards from trades
  • 6 cards purchased from Sportlots

Card that completed my set: #760 – Nolan Ryan (1 of 6 cards from a Sportlots purchase)

Read the rest of this entry »

’90 Reds Catchup Post – 1985 Topps + Traded

11 01 2011

Future manager Piniella was gone (temporarily) from the Topps base set as he retired in 1984. One of the key cards in this set is Eric Davis’s rookie card. Jose Rijo also has a RC in the base set. Herm Winningham, Mariano Duncan and Tom Browning have XRC’s in the Traded set, too.

1985 – Ron Oester, Bill Doran, Rick Mahler, Eric Davis RC, Jose Rijo RC

1985T – Mariano Duncan XRC, Herm Winningham XRC, Tom Browning XRC

1985 Topps Glossy Sets

28 12 2010

Topps again issued 2 Glossy All-Star sets in conjunction with its base set in 1985, in the exact same format as the ’84 set. The 22-card set commemorating the 1984 All-Star game was inserted 1 per rack pack and contained the manager, the 9 starters, and an honorary captain card for each league (Hank Greenberg & Willie McCovey).

12 Hall of Famers:     R. Sandberg, M. Schmidt, O. Smith, T. Gwynn, G. Carter, McCovey, R. Carew, G. Brett, C. Ripken, D. Winfield, R. Jackson, Greenberg (same # of HOF-ers as the previous year’s set)

The 40-card send-in set could be had in 5-card portions after obtaining 25 “runs” from the “Winning Pitch Baseball Game” card that came 1 per wax pack. The players were again primarily from the previous season’s game (1984). For example, Bob Brenly and Mike Boddicker are in the set, and each player had his only All-Star appearance in ’84. But Pete Rose is in the set, and he was in the ’85 game, but not ’84 (when he would have been an Expo).

12 Hall of Famers:     J. Rice, D. Winfield, R. Jackson, R. Gossage, R. Sandberg, B. Sutter, M. Schmidt, C. Ripken, E. Murray, T. Gwynn, P. Niekro, G. Carter (down from 16 in ’84)

Pete Rose is the lone Big Red Machiner. There were no Big Red Machine members in the 22-card rack pack set.

I bought a bunch of these sets (this and future years) on eBay. A few I got for $1.99, though some were a bit more. The send-in sets tend to be in worse condition – the way the cards were cut tends to be pretty poor, leaving  on the sides.

1985 Topps Traded

26 12 2010

Topps again issued a 132-card “Traded” set in 1985 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 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.

For the first time, Topps issued the Traded set in wax packs, 15 cards / pack and 36  packs / box, with packs retailing at 35¢. These wax boxes were a limited issuance, and today fetch a pretty penny – a box runs over 300 bucks on the few websites I could find, while the set itself will run under $10.

Keeping with previous traditions, dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set also received a miniature Bronze Card – this time the card was a replica of Pete Rose’s player card from the 1985 Topps set – no doubt capitalizing on his return to the Reds. For the 2nd year, Topps also issued a Tiffany set that had a glossy picture on the front.

There are no Big Red Machiners in this set, and there are 5 Hall of Famers in the set.

  • Bruce Sutter was signed by Atlanta as a free agent from the Cubs in the offseason.
  • Don Sutton, who was traded from the Brewers to the Oakland A’s in the offseason.
  • Rickey Henderson left Oakland for the first of four times, this time via a trade to the Yankees for a slew of players – Tim Birtsas, Stan Javier, Eric Plunk, and Jose Rijo. Funny, the A’s would get Rickey back via trade from the Yanks in 1989, and one of the players involved was Eric Plunk. That has to be a pretty rare occurrence in the annals of Major League Baseball – two players swapped and then later reversed back by the same two teams. I don’t even know how to look that up – but I did find that a player named Harry Chiti was traded for himself in 1962.
  • The Expos, probably assuming Gary Carter was over the hill for a catcher, was traded to the Mets in the ’84 offseason for 4 younger players, including Hubie Brooks, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans. The trade worked out well for both – Carter made 4 more All-Star teams and helped lead the Mets to a World Series title, but he was closer to the downside of this career than his peak.
  • Earl Weaver retired in 1982 after a long, successful tenure in Baltimore, and his replacement Joe Altobelli guided the O’s to a World Series title in his first year. However, the Orioles didn’t meet expectations over the next couple years, and Altobelli was fired midway through the ’85 season. Shortly thereafter, Weaver was talked out of retirement to again lead the team.

Also notable to me from this set was the two Yankees below. The Bombers traded for Dale Berra (manager Yogi’s son) in December of 1984). Less than 20 games into the 1985 season, Steinbrenner fired the elder Berra from his post in what was a very public breakup that left Yogi at odds with the organization for 10+ years (the next two of which meant those Yankees were his son’s employer). To boot, Yogi’s old teammate Billy Martin was hired as the replacement, his 4th of 5 stops at the helm of the club.

The set really has few XRC’s worth more than a brief mention. Vince Coleman is the only player other than Rickey to steal 100 bases 3 times. Tom Browning was a mainstay for the Reds for a number of years, and pitched a perfect game in 1988. And Ozzie Guillen was an All-Star shortstop for the White Sox and eventually, in 2005, managed the club to its first World Championship since the Black Sox Scandal.

 HoJo was another Mets pickup that contributed significantly to their ’86 WS win, and Clark and Fred Lynn are two excellent players portrayed in this set.

1985 Topps scans

23 12 2010

For my scans of this set, I’m not going to start out with the “most famous cards” from the set (they are the 3rd scan down). Though 85 Topps has 3 pretty iconic rookie cards. What I will start off with is a full scan of the Record Breakers subset. Why, you ask? Two reasons. First – I got all of them in the wax and vending boxes. Second – I think these are some pretty good records – not “throwing the most guys out in the AS game”, but 1984 actually produced some honest-to-goodness records!

  • You have a not-quite-so-young Carlton Fisk breaking the record for most innings caught in a game. Coincidentally, this game was also interesting because it spanned 2 days, Tom Seaver won the game in relief on the 2nd day, and then won the 2nd game that day to win 2 games on the same day (all as he chased 300 victories that year).
  • Steve Garvey set the record for the most consecutive games without an error at First Base. A decent record, particularly if you consider how often first baseman handle the ball.
  • Gooden – rookie strikeout record. Also a pretty big record.
  • Cliff Johnson – most pinch hit homers. Possibly the least important record here (in my humble opinion), but not that bad of a record in and of itself.
  • Joe Morgan – most homers as a 2nd baseman. Catching up with the work his teammate Johnny Bench did a few years earlier – setting the position homer mark. Passing Rogers Hornsby. Many people assume Hornsby is the greatest 2nd-sacker of all-time. They would be wrong.
  • Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb’s record – a year early from the big kahuna, the hits record, but the all-time singles record? I’d say that’s a pretty big deal as well.
  • Nolan Ryan re-passes Steve Carlton for the K record. Yeah, that’s a big deal. Good thing Ryan waited another decade to hang up his spikes, and essentially put the K record out of reach.
  • Juan Samuel breaks Tim Raines 3-year old rookie record for SB’s. Probably the 2nd worst on this list, but again, a pretty interesting record.
  • After that, another guy who knows about setting a few records. Here are my obligatory Rickey scans – unlike earlier years, just one subset for the Man of Steal.

    As promised, here are the most recognizable / valuable cards of this set. Funny how all 3 of these guys faced a significant fall from grace after their playing career was over.

    The also-ran Rookie Cards from this set. I must say, this is actually a pretty impressive list. Here’s some career highlights from these guys – not quite the accolades of the (2/3rd) steroid induced guys from above, but impressive to say the least.

    • Gooden won a RoY, a Cy Young as part of one of the most dominant seasons of my lifetime, and pitched a no-hitter.
    • Saberhagen won 2 Cy Youngs’
    • Orel Hershiser won a Cy Young and broke a cherished record in the same year – most consecutive scoreless innings. He did it in very dramatic fashion at the end of the season, too, but I’ll get to that in my 1988 posts. He also won the World Series MVP that year.
    • Jose Rijo – while he never won a Cy – he was one of the best pitchers in baseball for about 5 years, and he did win the 1990 WS MVP for my Cincinnati Reds.
    • Joe Carter (I think this is technically not a RC, but is his first Topps card). Hit one of 2 walk-off, series clinching home runs in history. Was one of the better players in baseball for over a decade – from 1986 to 1996 he averaged 30 Homers, no small feat for that time frame.
    • Neither Gubicza nor Cory Snider had great careers, but they did have some pretty good seasons.

    Eric Davis gets his own write-up. Davis was about 15 homers shy of being in 300-300 club along with Mays, Bonds, Dawson, and Bonds. He is also, along with Rickey, one of 2 players with 25+ homers and 80 steals in the same year. He was a truly great talent who never quite lived up to everything hoped for him, but somehow managed to still be a fan favorite in the cities he played in. I think his game 4 injury in the ’90 WS may have hindered him, but he was and still is one of my all-time favorite players. Growing up in Cincinnati – this card was like the holy grail it seemed. Maybe it was just because of my age – but this seemed like the hardest card to get your hands on! It was probably overpriced in the Cincy markets, and since I didn’t start collecting until 1987, this set seemed a little bit vintage, and thus an untouchable card in any of my friends’ sets. Aside from the 1980 Rickey card, this is definitely my favorite card to date from the sets I’ve opened so far.

    Here’s some younger guys from the 85 set. Love the Strawberry based card, by the way – that’s a great shot of him early in his career. When, like his friend Davis, the Hall of Fame seemed like his destiny. I could not have told you that HoJo played for the 84 WS champs. 2 WS rings in 3 years, both for different teams – not bad!

    Some pretty good players from the 85 Topps set. The Hernandez card is on the front of the 85 Topps wax box.

    Here’s some of the manager cards from the set. LaRussa, Torre and Cox will all be in the Hall someday soon. I also wanted to include some father-son cards – the younger Boone and Bell would both be managers someday as well.

    Here’s some good (i.e. funny) shots. Not sure what Carew is doing there, and not sure what those glasses Gwynn is wearing are! Boddicker’s smile gives away how ham-handed this pose is, and the last 2 guys are taking the phrase “choke-up” to another level.

    And finally, along the lines of funny, they sure don’t make glasses like they used to…

    1985 Topps Cards – Big Red Machine

    21 12 2010

    Johnny Bench and Cesar Geronimo went by the wayside the year before, and this is Joe Morgan’s LTC. So I’m coming down to the end of this run. Happily, though, we have 2 Big Red returnees, for a total of 3 guys sporting a Reds uniform. This is great – because last year’s set had 3 BRM-ers sporting Phillies uniforms, and that just isn’t right! (NL pennant notwithstanding)

    We’re down to 2 “subset cards” after it seemed like all the Big Red Machine guys had subset cards in previous years. Interesting – Rose is pictured here with the Reds, but he broke the record for most singles while a member of the Expos.