Wednesday, December 17, 2008

You complete me II

The second set I completed in 2008 isn't even a 2008 set. It's a set that is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Yep, on Friday, I received the final 58 cards I needed to wrap up my favorite set of the 1980s, the 1983 Topps set.

I received an email from Jeremiah of toppstraders, who had read about my years-long quest to finish this set. He said he had all 58 of the cards I needed and he'd send them off. No need to send anything in return, he said (although I think some cards of players dressed in red will eventually find their way to a mailbox in Oregon. What is it with Cardinals fans in Oregon?).

This is such a classic set, but I'm not going to repeat all the things I love about it (if you're really ticked that you missed that post, you can read it here). Instead, I'm just going to show the cards, with a nice little 1983 song title to introduce each group. Let's go back to the days when Pyromania was cool and girls were cutting up their sweatshirts:

Rock of Ages, Def Leppard: Jim Palmer, Johnny Bench and Jerry Koosman were at the end of careers that each began in the '60s. Bench's last year was 1983, Palmer's in 1984 and Koosman's in '85. Four Hall of Famers here with Eddie Murray and Bruce Sutter.

Lies, Thompson Twins: That's for the Dave LaRoche, Super Veteran card. I'm sorry, he's a veteran, but he's not super. And neither are his kids, at the moment anyway. I'm happy to have one of the Rickey cards that eluded me. Rickey wonders what Rickey should wear for Rickey's Hall induction ceremony next summer.

If you've ever read Seth Swirsky's fascinating books that detail the responses he received from major league players after he wrote to them, then you probably know all about Dave Stapleton's response to Swirsky's question on whether he was surprised that Red Sox manager John McNamara didn't put Stapleton in as a defensive replacement for Bill Buckner in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Stapleton's response is candid and kind of bitter. It reads in part:

"He has to live with his decision the rest of his life. And great Red Sox fans all over the country have to continue to suffer on as a result of it." Wow.

Is There Something I Should Know, Duran Duran: Did they ever find out how far back Pete Rose's gambling habits began? I admit I've never read any of the Rose expose books or his own book. I know he did it, that's good enough for me. But of course that means I'm fuzzy on details. But Rose's problems don't look so bad compared to Sammy Stewart's. Stewart is in prison.

That's All!, Genesis: I believe this is Jeff Little's only card, unless he appeared on one of those rookie prospect cards. I had never heard of him until I got this card. I like the Garner card. A neat action shot. Fred Lynn is on the verge of making All-Star Game history by hitting a grand slam because Whitey Herzog refused to take out an obviously ineffective Atlee Hammaker. (Still stewing about that).

Say It Isn't So, Hall and Oates: My brother and father are both Red Sox fans. They absolutely hated it when Bob Stanley would get called into games. I think most of Boston did, too.

Separate Ways, Journey (this was our Senior Prom song, by the way. How cynical is that?): For Mike Torrez, who played for the Yankees in '77 and then had to face them as a member of the Red Sox in the '78 special playoff game. And we all know how THAT turned out. Some guy named Bucky did something very, very bad.

Give Me All Your Lovin', ZZ Top (for Cliff Johnson): KIDDING! I'm kidding! Finding song titles is tough work. The Chris Speier photo is cool, even though Dodger Derrel Thomas is out easily. This is Bobby Murcer's last card, I believe. Well, these days there's no guarantee anyone will ever have a last card. They'll be making Mantle cards when we're flying around wearing jetpacks on our back.

That's a wrap! Thanks to Jeremiah, as well as Scott at Hand Collated, dayf at Cardboard Junkie, Chris at Nachos Grande, Jim at gcrl, Joe at MLB Collector and Eric at 1987 Donruss. All of them contributed cards to this set.

It is only the second set in which I've completed both the main set and the traded set (the other is the 1974 set). And I cannot wait to record these cards and then slip them into their designated sheet pockets. Is there anything more satisfying in life?


  1. I bought boxes and boxes of old 80's cards at yard sales this summer. Most of them are not anywhere near mint but there are a few good ones in the bunch. Plus a bunch that I had already.

    Vintage can be fun sometimes, even without the auto's and game used cards.

  2. For me, vintage is more than a "sometimes" thing. I'm finding even though I'm more familiar with the current products than I've ever been, I still prefer vintage.

    I don't find cards at yard sales nearly as much as I'd like to. Although there is this one guy I keep going back to every year, who has a ton of '80s stuff (some '70s and an occasional 60s card). Most in good shape.

  3. Excellent! There's something about those circle-shaped inset photos. Sweet.