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Greatest 100 cards of the '80s: progress report 3 ... and a date


Big news! I have a date set for the Greatest 100 Cards of the '80s countdown!

I didn't want to post a date until I had whittled my list of card candidates down to the final 100. But I just did that today and ... wow, was that tough to do.

As is often the case when I do long-form countdowns like this -- the Greatest Cards of the '70s, the Best Dodger Cards Ever Made -- I feel a bit sorry for the cards that just missed the cut. There is nothing wrong with those cards. And on another day, maybe they would make the countdown.

But this is the kind of ruthless examination that you've come to expect on this blog and, so, I will deliver.
Here are five cards that did not make the final 100 but if the ranking went to 105 places, they would be there. Also, I'm going to give you a chance to vote one in!

1980 Topps Frank White

I have long loved this card and have mentioned it a few times on the blog. It's one of the best All-Star cards made since I started collecting cards and it really stands out as it's White's only All-Star card.

1981 Topps Traded Tim Raines

I mentioned in my last Greatest 100 Cards of the '80s progress report that I am not going to stress rookie cards in this countdown, as so many other '80s countdowns do.

That's not to say that there won't be rookie cards in this list. It's just that those rookie cards do something else for me than merely "rookie".

I didn't get to know the Raines Traded rookie very well. I didn't see it for years and it's nothing special as a card. It's OK, that's about it.
I know some are asking "will the Fernando Valenzuela Traded card make the list"? Well, now, Fernando is another story.

1985 Topps Kirby Puckett

Again, I don't care how much an '80s rookie card went for back in the day.

The '85 Topps Puckett rookie is pretty pleasing. I like all the blue on the card. Everything matches so well. But the photo is merely standard and that's why it didn't make the cut.

1989 Topps Ron Guidry

I love this card. It is a tremendous career-capper for a player that was in action for almost the entirety of the first 15 years of my fanhood.

It's a great shot and you should know how much I like cards that show the ball in flight.

But, when cutting down zillions of '80s cards to a final 100 (forget about me doing this for the '90s), you look for reasons to cut. My reason is the catcher looks like an equipment guy, or at best, a backup catcher warming up Guidry ahead of an inning. Whatever the case, it doesn't look quite right. And, yeah, that's an excuse but cuts need to be made.

1980 Topps Andre Dawson OR 1987 Fleer Andre Dawson
Here is where your vote makes a difference.
One of these Dawsons will make the final 100 and one will not, according to what you say in the comments.
Going through the best candidates for the countdown, I discovered certain players popped up over and over as having great cards. Dawson is one of them. He will be showing up multiple times in the countdown so don't feel bad that one of the above will be left out.
Just let me know.
OK, so now that you know how tough the competition is, I'll bet you want to know even more when this whole thing will start.
It will start on Jan. 4, 2021.
Yeah, I know I guaranteed at the beginning of this past year that the countdown would take place before the year ended.
But then 2020 happened. I'm sure you understand.


Jonathan said…
Go with the 87 Fleer. It has an old school vintage feel with that pose.
Unknown said…
'80 Andre Dawson. Tim Raines also has a lot of great cards.
I vote for the 80 Topps Dawson. That stare is so intense, and the facsimile signature makes it probably the only Dawson card that has his middle name on the front.
Chris said…
I'm very, very excited for this countdown. If the Raines and Puckett RCs aren't top-100 worthy I can only imagine what is on the list.

I'm voting for the '87 Fleer Dawson.
EddieK said…
1980 Topps - looks like an extreme close up in action shot, which really sets it apart.
John Bateman said…
1987 Fleer - Because I know the 1983 Topps card of the Hawk HAS to be in the Top 100. It is the first baseball card that I think of when I think of the Hawk. Also, the head shot on the 1983 Topps is somewhat similar to his 1980 card.
John Bateman said…
The suspense is killing me. Question 1. Are you going to stick with the Big Large Sets only? I.E. Topps 1980-on, Donruss 1981-on, Fleer 1981-on, Score 1988-on, Upper Deck 1989, Bowman 1989. Question 2. If you stick with the really Big sets, I am going out on a limb to predict that not every set will be represented. My Predictions. The sets with the most card 1. Topps 1983 2. Upper Deck (I don't really like this set but I think you do). 3. Topps 1987 (but this 3rd spot is really up for grabs).

The sets that won't be represented (My Guesses): 1981 Fleer (1982 Fleer is almost the same set but I know Pete and Re-pete is in the Topps 100), 1983 Fleer, 1983 Donruss, 1988 Score, 1989 Bowman and 1989 Topps (a long shot to get shut out).
acrackedbat said…
Not that I care for either really but I like the 87 Fleer best. I'm looking forward to your 80s countdown. In my collection, 1985-1989 = yawn.
Nick Vossbrink said…
I'm pretty evenly split on that Dawson so I say pick what ever set/brand isn't as well-represented in your list.
Going with the 87 Fleer Dawson. Both are cool cards. Looking forward to the countdown.
bryan was here said…
I do love both of those Dawsons, and the Frank White too.

I would have to go with the '87 Fleer. I love mid-swing photos, they were getting pretty rare during the '80s.

I can't wait for this countdown.
night owl said…
@John Bateman ~

I stuck to the larger sets. There were so many cards in the '80s that you can get lost very easily, especially if you start including oddball sets. And forget about all those minor league cards.

Until you mentioned the '83 Topps Dawson, I've never considered it exceptional. I'll have to look at it closer.
bbcardz said…
Both Dawson cards are worthy but 'Nolan' really caught my eye, so '80 Topps Dawson it is.
Matt said…
1980 Topps Dawson. Has more intensity and looks to be in game action.
Anonymous said…
'87 Fleer gets my vote.
CinciCuse Bill said…
Both show Dawson’s intense focus, but I love the way the end of his bat pops in the 87 Fleer. Cool project!
simpson said…
the 1980 topps with that wonderful intense stare is my vote!
87 Fleer for me. Love the menace.
GTT said…
1980 Dawson gets my vote.

I also petition that you put the '89 Guidry on the list. I mean, it's his sunset card, and a great one at that.
Brett Alan said…
I'll go with the '87 Fleer, but it's close. Honestly I think I like the Raines better than either. Not that the Dawson cards aren't great, but the Raines is even better.
Fuji said…
As an 80's baseball card fanatic... I am so stoked that a date has been set. As for the Dawsons... it's a tough choice. I guess I'll go with the powder blue jersey on the 1980 Topps card, however I probably would have went with the Frank White if it was an option.
Trevor P said…
I think my vote will go to the 1987 Fleer Dawson.
Adam Kaningher said…
I'll go with 1980 Topps. The facsimile signature gives it the edge for me.
Grant said…
I vote for '80 Topps Hawk. I think the yellow makes it pop more and the '87 card is too matchy.
RunForeKelloggs said…
I'll vote for the 1980 card. It really shows the look we saw on TV as he stuck his face over home plate on every pitch.
CrazieJoe said…
1987 Fleer Dawson, just love the stare with the drawn weapon pointing right at the camera.
Nick said…
Normally not a huge '87 Fleer fan, but that Dawson is too awesome to ignore, so it gets my vote. Can't wait for the countdown!
Unknown said…
I like the pose of the '87 Fleer, but from a 'quality of the photo' point of view, it is out of focus and washed out in places by what looks like a flash. The '80 Topps card catches Hawk's intense stare in the closeup and gets my vote.

With a bit better execution, the '87 Fleer could have been a much better card.
gregory said…
Late to the party here, but I'm going with 1980 Topps Andre Dawson, both for the middle name and the chin hair.

Really looking forward to the countdown!
carlsonjok said…
I was going to vote for that Guidry until I saw the 1980 Topps Andre Dawson. That card is just badass.
I like the 1987 Fleer Dawson. Waiting to see all the great 1980's Padres cards that show up in the countdown.
Angus said…
I have to go with the 80 Dawson for the powder blue uniform and the batting helmet while with the bat. The regular hat of Dawson with the bat in the 87 card is enough to make the choice for me.

I remember getting an Expos batting helmet as a stadium giveaway as a kid. :)
friend11 said…
I vote for the 89 Guidry, Sunset cards are the best.
Matt said…
I have to give the nod to the 1980 Dawson card. That glare - you don't make those eyes when you're posing for a photo. The Hawk is looking at prey, and getting ready to strike! I feel sorry for who or whatever has his attention at that moment.
kcjays said…
I’m voting for the 1980 Topps Frank White.
I always have to vote for a Royals player, even if that wasn’t a choice.
Johngy said…
A tough choice, but I vote for Guidry.