1987 Topps parallels – Kevin Mitchell

26 04 2016

1987 Topps

Card I selected:  #653 – Kevin Mitchell

This is the first of these parallel posts where I’ve picked a really great action shot.  Last year’s card (Mike Schmidt) was a very good card that featured an action shot.  But it was all about the guy in the photo.  While Mitchell did win an MVP, he’s by no means an all-time great.  But this play at the plate is an all-time great photograph on a Topps baseball card.

Topps Super was discontinued after 1986, so I’ve only got 3 cards in this mini set.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  3

The parallel sets in 1987 include:

  • O-Pee-Chee
  • Tiffany


1987 Topps #653

1987 Topps Mitchell

1987 Topps Kevin Mitchell back

1987 O-Pee-Chee #307

1987 OPC Kevin Mitchell

1987 OPC Kevin Mitchell back

The Canadian version was again half the size of the Topps set.  Since Mitchell was in the second half of the set, his OPC card has a different number from his Topps card.

Here are the differences for this card:

  • The “O-Pee-Chee” logo on the front replaces the Topps logo in the bottom left.  The name tag is a lighter color on the O-Pee-Chee card.
  • On some of the cards (including 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”.

1987 Topps Tiffany #653

1987 Topps Tiffany Kevin Mitchell

1987 Topps Tiffany Kevin Mitchell back

For the 4th time, Topps issued a Tiffany variation in factory set form, printed on white cardstock with glossy coating on the front.  The 1987 Tiffany set had 6 times the production run as the previous 2 years – “limited” to 30,000 sets.

The “Rainbow”:

1987 Topps Kevin Mitchell rainbow

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

Other cards I would have liked to do:

This was an easy choice.  But I would have picked the Nolan Ryan if not for this card.

Completed set & master set – one last look at 1987 Topps

26 06 2011

Before I started doing all this retro stuff on this blog, I had actually completed another set.  The 1987 Topps and Traded set is my second set and second full year completed!  This means I’ve completed my personal master set for this as well – which I’m defining as the base set, the traded set, and any inserts I’m collecting.  As I did with the 1986 set – and as I’ll do each time I complete a base set and/or a master set – I’ll do a “look back”.

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 426 cards from the wax box
  • 10 cards from a Target re-pack
  • 356 cards from trades

Card that completed my set: #385 – Orel Hershiser (1 of 4 cards I got in a trade from Night Owl that completed the set – I find it particularly interesting that this was Dodger card received from a Dodger collector)

Read the rest of this entry »

1987 Topps Glossy sets

23 02 2011

Topps again issued multiple Glossy sets in conjunction with its base set in 1987.  This time, Topps added a third set to the fold – the Glossy Rookies set.

All-Star Glossy

Back for the 5th year, this 22-card set commemorating the 1986 All-Star game was inserted 1 per rack pack. The set depict the manager, 9 starters, and a 2nd pitcher, which replaces the team picture from the year before and the Honorary Captains from the years before that. Of note – Charlie Gehringer and Rusty Staub served as team captains in 1986.

11 Hall of Famers:     W. Herzog, R. Sandberg, M. Schmidt, O. Smith, T. Gwynn, G. Carter, W. Boggs, C. Ripken, R. Henderson, D. Winfield, K. Puckett (up from 10 from the previous year)

Glossy All-Stars and Hot Prospects

The send-in set was again 60-cards, called “All-Stars and Hot Prospects”. This time collectors could obtain it in 6 different 10-card portions by sending in 6 of the “Spring Fever Baseball Game” cards that came 1 per wax pack. The players were generally either previous years’ All-Stars and up-and-coming prospects who’d had break out 1986 campaigns.

11 Hall of Famers:     T. Gwynn, G. Carter, E. Murray, W. Boggs, R. Henderson, O. Smith, M. Schmidt, G. Brett, C. Ripken, R. Jackson, K. Puckett (down from 18 from the ’86 set)

Barry Bonds is another notable card from this set in the same year as his rookie card from the base set.

Pete Rose is the lone Big Red Machine member in this set, and Eric Davis represents for the 1990 Reds WS Champs. Dave Parker was the one other Red in the set.

Glossy Rookies

In its initial year, the Rookies 22-card set came 1 per 101-card jumbo pack.  The set depicts some of the best rookies from the 1986 season. All 11 members of the Topps All-Star rookie team are included in this set.  Jose Canseco is and was the headliner from this set, and college teammates Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro are also in this set.  Noticeably missing is Bonds, who was 6th in the 1986 rookie of the year voting and led NL rookies in home runs and stolen bases.

I bought all of these sets on eBay. The Rookies set was the hardest to find – I paid 10 bucks counting shipping for this set.  The other two sets cost me a couple bucks each plus shipping.

1987 Topps Traded

21 02 2011

Topps again issued a 132-card “Traded” set in factory form 1987 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, and new managers. The design is the same as the base set, and the cards were again printed in Ireland on white cardstock. It seems like the quality improvement was particular noticeable in this set – the quality of this set seems particularly better than the ’87 base set!

Dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set again received a miniature Bronze Card. For the second year in a row, this bronze replica was of a historic Topps card – this time the 1953 Topps Willie Mays card. Topps again issued a limited Tiffany set that had a glossy picture on the front.

There are no Big Red Machiner players in this set.  There are 2 members of the 1990 Reds World Champion team in the set. Jeff Reed, backup catcher on the ’90 team, was traded from the Twins to the Expos as part of a deal that involved closer Jeff Reardon.  Next – Danny Jackson is included in this set. Was Danny Jackson a rookie in 1987? No – through 1986 he already had 14 and 11 win seasons under his belt. He had a postseason shutout and a complete game World Series victory for the winning 1985 Royals. Was Danny Jackson traded in 1987? No – he was still playing for those same Royals.  Jackson had actually had a Donruss card in 1984, and had both Fleer and Donruss cards in 1985, 1986 and 1987.  Yet he had no base Topps card in those years.  I’m not sure if there’s a story behind that – maybe he didn’t sign an individual contract with Topps until 1987?  I vote for a 1985 “The Lost Cards” inclusion of Danny Jackson in Topps 2011 series 2.

There are 6 Hall of Famers in the set – these are the last Topps cards for both Steve Carlton and Reggie Jackson:

  • Carlton had signed as an 1987 off-season free agent with the Indians after a brief stint with the White Sox in 1986. The tribe eventually traded him to the Twins, where he would end his career with the Twins, but he didn’t have a Topps card with the Twins or in 1988 (I believe he did have a Fleer card).
  • After 5 seasons and 2 playoff appearances with the Angels, Jackson returned to finish his career where it started, in Oakland in 1987.
  • Just before opening day, Dennis Eckersley joined Jackson in Oakland via a trade for 3 minor leaguers from the Cubs.  He switched to a reliever that year, having a nice season where he saved 16 games. He’d go on to become an MVP and a Hall-of-Fame closer in his time with Oakland.
  • After spending 11 seasons with the Expos, free agent and perennial all-star Andre Dawson wanted to move to a team that had natural grass. Playing his home games in Montreal had worn on his knees, and Dawson felt this was the best way to extend his career. However Dawson didn’t have any suitors, likely due to collusion by the owners. Dawson showed up in the Chicago Cubs’ camp in Arizona with a blank contract. He would go on to win the 1987 NL MVP with the Cubs, and his time in Chicago also catapulted a great career into a Hall-of-Fame one.
  • Greg Maddux and Fred McGriff (both for being rookies Topps) were elected in the time since I wrote this post (see their cards below)

Though there was still some evidence of collusion by MLB owners in the 1987 offseason, though there were some other free agency moves. had been found to be colluding during the 85/86 offseason, and there were still some remnants so there are a few more free agents in addition to the Hall-of-Famers above. Dawson was hands down the biggest name to move that off-season, most of the bigger moves were younger guys who blossomed with their new teams. Doug Drabek would go on to win a Cy Young with the Pirates, and Andy Van Slyke would become part of the great trio with Bonds and Bonilla in the late 80’s early 90’s. Kevin Mitchell went to the World Series and won an NL MVP with the Giants.  Two guys who are relatives of Hall-0f-Famers are in this set – Joe Niekro and Cal Ripken Sr.  Also – I couldn’t have told you that Terry Francona was ever a Red.

The rookies from this set aren’t quite as impressive as the previous year – but the set does have the rookie card of Greg Maddux, who would go on to win more games than any other player since Warren Spahn. Matt Williams, Fred McGriff and Benito Santiago also had RC’s in this set. This is David Cone’s first Topps card, though he is also in here because of his trade from the Royals to the Mets. Cone had a card with the Royals in the 1987 Donruss set.

1987 Topps scans

20 02 2011

I’ve done scans of the All-Star Rookies, Future Stars and members of the Reds World Series, so I still need to do scans of the rest of the set. I’ll start off with some interesting cards.  I remember this Tracy Jones card from this set – Tracy has done the Reds post-game show for 700 WLW for a number of years now. This Tony Pena card is a great shot for a set that is kind of in the medium as far as photography goes.  And Billy Beane – I think this may be his RC (scratch that – subsequent research shows it’s his first Topps card at least). At one time Beane was a first round pick for the Mets, going in the same round for the same team as Darryl Strawberry.  I also threw in a few 3,000-hit club members – at varying stages in their career at this point. The Gwynn card is an example of some of the poorer photography in this set.

1987 Topps is known for some solid rookies – in particular, it’s known for rookie / early cards of these guys. What do they have in common? They all played in the 1990 MLB playoffs!  Haha!  The Reds own you! Feel the own-age! (shamelessly stolen from a PS3 commercial)

Mt. Rushmore of the Steroid Era

Mt. Rushmore of the Steroid Era

Here’s a couple other rookies – 2 guys whose first stop on the Hall of Fame ballot was a year ago.

I don’t yet have all the RC’s from this set – here’s a couple more. Clark’s “Thunder and Lightning” teammate from Mississippi State – Rafael Palmeiro (who could be the 5th card in the Rushmore scan above – but he didn’t appear in the 90 playoffs, so no dice!!!!) was in a previous post as a part of the Future Stars subset.

Also, as I mentioned in a previous post – this is the first card of a player still active last year. Supposedly Moyer is out for the year with an injury but hoping to return in 2012. I think if he played in 2013 he’d be a 50-year old playing MLB. In other words, I still have 20 years to get my act together.

Here’s some other notable cards. My standard Rickey Henderson post, his teammate Don Mattingly, and … drumroll … Henderson and Mattingly together on one card. After that, 2 Hall-of-Famers wrapping up their respective 300-win and 500-HR careers, while Nolan Ryan, well, he still had nearly a decade left in him at the time of this photo.

The Wills card is interesting because it isn’t a real 1962 Topps card. Wills was the National League and All-Star game MVP in 1962, after breaking Ty Cobb’s single season record for steals. And if you’d have told me that Yogi Berra coached for the Astros – I certainly wouldn’t have known that – but here is proof!

And, last but actually first – the #1 card of this set was the Rocket’s record-breaking performance, becoming the first pitcher to strike out 20 in a 9-inning game. I just got this card via trade, which I’ll post about early next week.

1987 Topps – All-Star Rookie Team and Future Stars

19 02 2011

Topps All-Star Rookie Team

Topps re-introduced the All-Star Rookie Team to its cards in 1987 after a hiatus.  Topps had still announced the team each year, but hadn’t put the notation of the team since 1978. Topps actually had 11 team members this year – 4 outfielders, but they left the rookie cup off of third-baseman David Sveum’s card. Barry Bonds was a notable omission, getting beat out by 4 American League outfielders despite having 16 HR, 36 SB and scoring 72 runs. I don’t know what it is, but having that trophy on these cards just goes great with this set.

  • LHP – Bruce Ruffin
  • RHP – Todd Worrell
  • C – Andy Allanson
  • 1B – Wally Joyner
  • 2B – Robby Thompson
  • 3B – David Sveum (no cup on his card)
  • SS – Andres Thomas
  • OF – Pete Incaviglia, Jose Canseco, Cory Snyder, Danny Tartabull

Future Stars

Six cards of upcoming prospects were noted with the term “Future Stars” across the bottom, just above the player name. I was missing 3 of the 6 cards at the time I did these scans – and have since gotten Bionic Bo added to my set collection, but still missing Mr. B-12 and Magadan.

1987 Topps – ’90 Reds Cards

18 02 2011

The 9 players that had cards in 1986 Topps and/or Traded (Rick Mahler, Tom Browning, Jose Rijo, Ron Oester, Mariano Duncan, Bill Doran, Eric Davis, Herm Winningham, Billy Hatcher) all returned in 1987 Topps. Manager Lou Piniella is back with a card as the Yankees manager, after being included in the ’86 Traded set. There are five new 90 Reds players. One of the best cards of the set is the Barry Larkin RC.  In addition to the soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer, Jeff Reed, Luis Quinones, Glenn Braggs and Randy Myers all have their first Topps cards in the ’87 set.

1987 – Lou Piniella, Rick Mahler, Tom Browning, Jose Rijo, Randy Myers, Jeff Reed, Ron Oester, Bill Doran, Mariano Duncan, Barry Larkin, Luis Quinones, Eric Davis, Herm Winningham, Billy Hatcher, Glenn Braggs

1987 Topps Cards – Big Red Machine

17 02 2011

Tony Perez and George Foster both had their last Topps Card in 1986. Despite the fact that both guys played in the 1986 season (and Foster actually played for both the Mets and the White Sox), neither got a card in the 1987 set. So the Big Red Machine was down to just Sparky as the Tigers manager – who also made an appearance on the Team Leaders card, Dave Concepcion – platoon at SS for the Reds with rookie Kurt Stillwell, Ken Griffey – for the Braves, and Pete Rose, who had his last player card, a manager card, and was on the Reds Team Leaders card as well. My personal favorite is the Concepcion card – that’s a pretty good photo of a tag just made (that’s two Reds World Series Champion members in that shot BTW).

1987 Topps wax box break

11 02 2011


The 1987 Topps box was the first box I bought in this project/quest/journal. I started collecting again in mid-2009, mostly Upper Deck like I’d collected in the past. But in February of last year, Upper Deck’s MLB license had expired and, though I was still looking forward to their unlicensed set, it was starting to look like they may not produce too many more baseball cards. Around then I started getting the idea to collect every Topps set since 1980.

I was working in Cincinnati last winter, and at lunch one day went to a card shop that was close by to my client. They had a 1987 box for around 12 bucks or so, so I bought it and opened a quarter of the box that night. It was great going through the wood-grain set that was the first I’d collected growing up. But then, I thought about it, and decided I really wanted to do the project chronologically. Through some serious acts of will, I held off opening the other 3 stacks of the box for nearly a year, and some 15 or so boxes later, I came back to finish the job.

The most valuable card is the Bonds rookie, and I got two of these in this box. I also got a McGwire and a Canseco, but didn’t get the Bo Jackson or Rafael Palmeiro “Future Stars” RC’s. I also got the Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Reggie Jackson and my two personal favorites – Rickey Henderson and Eric Davis.

The collation was much worse than 1986 – even though there were 2 more cards per pack, I got about 40 less singles toward completing the set, which comes out to about 110 more doubles.  Part of this was that 1986 had really good collation.  The damaged cards count was better, but only because 1986 was so bad.  2 cards per pack were not salvageable – one due to wax damage on the back (I wish they’d have put the fronts toward the wax – that’s fixable!), and another due to gum damage.  As always – the numbers below don’t include the damaged cards (since if I’d busted these in 1987 they wouldn’t have been damaged).

Stats for the box:

36 packs per box * 17 cards per pack = 612 cards

138 doubles

474 of the 792 card set. (59.8% set completion)

36 “Spring Fever” game cards

1987 Topps Overview

10 02 2011

792 cards in the set – the same since 1982.

  • Subsets: Record Breakers (#1-7), Turn Back the Clock (#311-315), All-Stars (#595-616), Team Leaders (26 cards throughout), Managers (26 cards throughout), Topps All-Star Rookies (10 cards throughout), and Future Stars (6 cards throughout).  The inclusion of a trophy on cards for the previous year’s Topps ASR team returned for the first time since 1978.  “Future stars” was displayed across the bottom of the based cards for this new subset.
  • Set design: A throwback to the 1962 Topps set, with wood-grain borders and the team logo within a circle in the upper-left corner.   The player name is in a colored box across the bottom, with the Topps logo next to it in the lower left corner.  The player’s position did not appear on the face of the card for the first time since the 1972 set.  The gray, yellow and blue card backs feature the player name and card number in the upper left corner, next to player name and position. Stats from each season and career totals are presented.  If there’s room, player-specific information and/or an “On This Date” fact is shown at the bottom, just above the player’s bio.
  • Packs: Cards were issued in 17 card wax packs (40¢ SRP) that came 36 packs per box and 20 per case.  Also available were 31 card cello packs (59¢ SRP), 49-card rack packs, and 101-card jumbo packs (new in ’87).
  • Rookies: The most significant rookie cards include Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin, and Rafael Palmeiro.  Bo Jackson, Bobby Bonilla and Will Clark also have rookie cards in the set.  Larkin and Palmeiro are rookie cards in the truest sense – Bonds, Bonilla, Clark and Bo all had XRCs the year before.  Jose Canseco has his first Topps base card set, and Mark McGwire has his first Topps card since he was featured as a member of the US Olympic team in the 1985 set.  Donruss had the lone RC of Greg Maddux in a 1987 regular (not update) set.
  • Hall of Fame: There are 43 Hall of Famers in this set, down 2 from the year before.  Rod Carew and Rollie Fingers hung up their cleats in 1985, and Tony Perez retired in 1986 but did not have a card in the ‘87 set.  Bobby Cox was temporarily gone as he was no longer the Blue Jays manager.  Barry Larkin’s rookie card replaced Perez so there’s still a Reds Hall of Famer!  Yogi Berra was coach of the Astros and was featured on their Team Leaders card (and yes, I count that).  The Turn Back the Clock cards of Frank Robinson and Willie Mays were replaced by cards of 2 more HOF-ers – Carl Yastrzemski and Roberto Clemente.
  • Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Steve Carlton, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Dennis Eckersley, Carlton Fisk, Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, Eddie Murray, Phil Niekro, Kirby Puckett, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken, Nolan Ryan, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt, Tom Seaver, Ted Simmons, Lee Smith, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Alan Trammell, Dave Winfield, Robin Yount, Sparky Anderson (mgr), Whitey Herzog (mgr), Tony LaRussa (mgr), Tommy LaSorda (mgr), Dick Williams (mgr), Weaver (mgr), Larkin, Berra (TL), Yastrzemski (TBC), Clemente (TBC)
  • New Feature on this write-up!!!! There is one player still active in 2010 (meaning he played at least one game in 2010) with a card from this set. Jamie Moyer’s RC with the Cubs is card #227. That’s 1/792, or 0.1%. I’ll track this trend over the next decade of sets or so.

The yellow and green wax box has a picture of a stack of the current year cards, with Dave Righetti’s (BOOM!) card at the top (In all fairness to Mr. Righetti, he had just broken the single season saves record). Below the card is the “Topps” logo and a banner with the words “Baseball” on top of a yellow ribbon and “the Real one!”. The bottom of the box has 2 cards resembling the base set with career highlights on the back. There are 4 different box options, so in total there are 8 cards (A through H).

Factory Set

Like the previous year, factory sets were sold to hobby dealers and retailers, and the retail “holiday” sets came in much more colorful boxes.

Update Set

Topps again released a 132-card Topps Traded set in factory set form.

Parallel Set

For the 4th year, Topps issued a Tiffany variation in factory set form, printed on white cardstock with glossy coating on the front.  The 1987 Tiffany set came in a violet box and had a production of 30,000 sets, much greater than previous years.  Topps also issued a Tiffany version of the Traded set.

Canadian-based O-Pee-Chee again issued a set that was a partial parallel to the Topps base set.  Each of the cards in the 396-card set had the same design and photographs as the Topps set, with lighter card stock and bi-lingual backs (French and English).  Again, no subset cards were included.


  • Each wax pack contains a “Spring Fever Baseball” game card where grand prize winners could win a trip to any Spring Training site for the next season.
  • Again, 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 makes today.

Insert sets

  • Glossy “All-Star and Hot Prospects” – 60 cards (send-in).  By sending in 6 of the “Spring Fever” game-cards and $1, collectors could send in 6 of these cards and $1 for one of six 10-card “All-Star and Hot Prospects” Glossy sets.
  • All-Star Glossy – 22 cards (1 per rack pack)
  • Rookies Glossy – 22 cards (1 per jumbo pack)

Other releases associated with the Topps flagship set

#1 – Topps again created a “Gallery of Champions” set of 12 metal ¼-size replicas of the base cards. There were still three variations – Bronze and Silver and Aluminum, while there is a pewter Jose Canseco variant given to dealers who purchased the set.

This was the first set I really collected. I’m guessing I started in the middle of 1987 – because I definitely had more 1988 cards than anything else. I probably collected part of the year in 1987, all of ’88, and then some during 1989. I owned the ’86 Topps set, but it had been purchased as a full set, not to be played with like the wood grain 1987 set. Pete Rose had his last “player card” from this set, so this made it kind of cool for Reds fans. Eric Davis was becoming an All-Star, Dave Parker was still one, and it was Larkin’s first card, so this is a pretty good set for Reds fans. This seems to be a love-hate set for collectors; I fall in the “really like” it category. I certainly like it way more than the 1986 set, and I really like the wood-grain design. The 1988 set is probably my favorite for nostalgic reasons, but this set is up there too.