Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Team MVPs: 1987 Topps

The last time I updated this series, we were in 1982. In Action cards. Hockey sticks. A World Series bathed in baby blue unis.

And if you've been following this series since the beginning, you know that I am traveling back in time as the sets get progressively older.

So why am I at 1987 if the last set I reviewed was 1982?

Good question. Since the last time this feature appeared -- just over a year ago -- I have completed the 1987 Topps set. And since I am reviewing the best card for each team for every set I have completed, I feel it is my duty to back track and take care of 1987 first before we go any deeper into history.

Besides, it's the 30th anniversary of 1987 Topps -- Topps is requiring me to do this (not really) -- and I know that absolutely none of you are sick of 1987 Topps yet (again, not really).

Before we get to it, I want to say that while going through these cards, the number of cards featuring players with chest protectors leapt out at me. Forget your future stars and wood borders. This should be the Chest Protector set.

OK, here we go. The best card for each team, separated by the leagues that were in 1987:

American League East

Orioles: Eddie Murray; Red Sox: Marty Barrett; Indians: Julio Franco; Tigers: Kirk Gibson; Brewers: Ben Oglivie; Blue Jays: Jesse Barfield

Team with the best cards: Red Sox. Most of the teams in this group featured solid cards, although I swear every damn Yankee card is the same.

Team with the worst cards: Blue Jays. This seems to be a theme in the '80s. Border crossing issues?

Team I should go back and review: Orioles. Eddie Murray in glasses may amuse me a little too much.

American League West

Angels: Ruppert Jones; White Sox: Ozzie Guillen; Royals: Dan Quisenberry; Twins: Kent Hrbek; A's: Alfredo Griffin; Mariners: Jim Beattie; Rangers: Ruben Sierra, record breaker

Team with the best cards: A's. I love the A's cards in this set so much.

Team with the worst cards: Royals. Quisenberry saved K.C. from a very bland action shot showing up here, or Bo Jackson. Future Star, or not, it's pretty standard.

Team I should go back and review: Angels. Some pretty good Angels cards, but this particular photo angle of a player at the plate doesn't appear a whole lot.

National League East

Cubs: Shawon Dunston; Expos: Mike Fitzgerald; Mets: Kevin Mitchell; Phillies: John Russell; Pirates: Tony Pena; Cardinals: Jack Clark

Team with the best cards: Pirates edge out Mets ever so slightly.

Team with the worst cards: Cubs. I can make a case for Dunston, but really something better should be appearing here.

Team I should go back and review: Expos. I just wanted to make sure Mike Fitzgerald showed up on two "best" cards.

National League West

Braves: Team Leaders; Reds: Ron Oester; Astros: Team Leaders; Dodgers: Mariano Duncan; Padres: Steve Garvey; Giants: Vida Blue

Team with the best cards: Reds, by far. There were so many that got left out and so many better than anything else in the NL West.

Team with the worst cards: Giants. I swear they let the intern take all the S.F. pix.

Team I should go back and review: Padres. Again, the Garvey shot amuses me maybe a little too much.

So, there you are. That's my contribution to the 30th anniversary blowout for 1987 Topps.

We're going back to going back in time next time. 1981 Topps, you're on the clock.


  1. The Kevin Mitchell card is outstanding. I wonder if anyone has done a "find the play" with that one.

    1. https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN198606250.shtml

      That is the only day game in 1986 that the Mets and Expos played in Shea where Mitchell and Fitzgerald were both in the game. And there is a play in 4th. Mitchell is on 2nd and Ray Knight singles to score Kevin. Knight advances to 2nd on a throw home, which is the play we see in the dust.

      That was actually too easy.

  2. I remember that I loved the photo on the Mike Fitzgerald card as an 8-year old just starting to understand baseball.

  3. You probably didn't chiming the traded set because the best red sox card in 87 Topps the Ellis Burks traded card. I know it's just a standard shot of him holding a bat but there is some kind of youthful exuberance that jumps of the card. Maybe it's just because he looks so dang young.

    Also honorable mention goes to the Don Baylor box bottom card.

  4. I also have a complete 1987 set. I submit the Roger Clemens card as one of the best cards in the set.

  5. I never thought about the chest protectors, but excellent observation.