Skip to main content

C.A.: 1981 O-Pee-Chee Rick Monday

(Appointments, responsibilities, work, appointments, responsibilities, work, appointments, responsibilities, work ... oh, hi, here is a blog post that I fit in when life is a driver's seat and a desk  ... appointments, responsibilities, work ... It's time for Cardboard Appreciation, this is the 325th in a series):

I have slowly been picking off O-Pee-Chee Dodgers needs the last few months. It's been very methodical, because there's not a lot of cash but there are a lot of cards that I want. So I leave the OPC quest and then come back to it again.
In going through the 1981s that I needed (this is the second straight Cardboard Appreciation on a 1981 card, I'll have to fix that next time), I was a little surprised to see Rick Monday in the set.
I shouldn't have been. Yes, OPC sets were smaller than the Topps version during this time, and, yes, OPC picked and chose what Expos and Blue Jays showed up in the set. But Monday was still a notable player, and, unlike today, when card companies seem to leave out (or include) players based on only their whim rather than who was a significant contributor on the field, card sets strove to make an accurate accounting of who the key players in the game were at the time.

Monday was a key player in 1981, very key for the Dodgers. He would hit the winning home run off Steve Rogers in Olympic Stadium to send L.A. to the World Series over Montreal.

I know a lot of people were upset this happened and, oh, we're so nostalgic for the Expos, it was their best shot at a World Series. I don't care. I was rooting for the Dodgers, the Expos were the enemy, and I am still very happy about "Blue Monday." You're damn right it was blue, that was the color of Monday's uniform. It was a happy blue.

Given that the Expos were Canada's sole (decent) representative in Major League Baseball at the time, I don't think OPC could be blamed for leaving Monday out of its set with its limited checklist. I don't know how much Canadian sentiment figured in the OPC product outside of the home teams and maybe Topps made all the content calls -- was their a special OPC branch? I'm sure someone knows that stuff, but I don't.

Perhaps it was just a matter of facts overruling emotions, which is proper for a card set. We're not Upper Deck here. And besides, the 1981 Monday showed up before the postseason even began that year.

However, there is a 1982 OPC Monday as well. I have my eye on that one. I checked out the back to see if there was mention of the home run -- that would be very generous of our Canadian neighbors. But there was no mention. The stats take up all the space, which is the case on Monday's Topps card, too. By 1983, there are home run references on both Monday's Topps and OPC cards, but they are regarding 1982 feats.

Maybe that figures, because Topps is well-known for avoiding reference to the 1981 postseason (except in its '82 sticker set). There was probably some Expos (or Yankees) fan in headquarters.
A new 1993 Upper Deck blog post is up!


Old Cards said…
Don't have any OPC cards, but I can appreciate this one of Rick Monday.
There maybe an OPC Dodger or two in the monster stack building. I am 2/3 the way through those trade boxes in my garage (not counting the vintage dupes). So I should be ready to dump them um I mean spread the wealth upon your dwindling Dodger needs.
1984 Tigers said…
Living in michigan and being a freshman on the marching band, I remember coming back from class and watching game 5 in my dorm room. I had to leave for practice at 4 pm. This game ended in time for me to see Bob Welch close it out for Fernando. We could watch on cbc too given Windsor had the game on channel 9. Didn't realize until later that Dodger duke snider was the color guy for cbc.

Thanks for sharing! 42 years go by in a flash
Mike said…
I was one of the disappointed Expos fans… but the Blue Jays did exist in 1982, so Montreal wasn’t Canada’s only MLB team at the time.
1984 Tigers said…

1982 was the year the Jays BEGAN to turn the corner. I remember Dave Stieb and company becoming competitive after 5 years of lousyness. Montreal could have been a real postseason threat in 1994 until the strike. Sadly, ownership dumped the players and it never fully recovered. Looking at that 1981 team, three HOF players in Carter, Dawson, and Raines plus some other quality players like Wallach.
night owl said…
@Mike ~

"Sole DECENT representative" ... I need to learn to not post when it's too busy -- even if it means nothing new for two days or more.
Billy Kingsley said…
OPC was its own company that contracted with Topps for the license and design, but not printing and as far as I know the OPC exclusive cards were not tied to Topps other than the design and perhaps photography sources. At least that's what I've gathered from being all in on hockey cards for the last few years.
Doc Samson said…
Living in Chicago and despite being a White Sox fan, I remember Rick Monday well. On another note, 1993 and 1994 OPC are interesting sets because they have completely different designs from their Topps counterparts. I actually like 1994 OPC quite a bit, it looks like a nice low end Pinnacle brand set (yes, that is a compliment.)
Fuji said…
Glad Monday was included in the 1982 OPC set. That would have been sad if someone at OPC used their power to keep him out of the set... just because he kept the Expos out of the World Series.
Jon said…
Are you trying to complete any of the OPC sets, or are you just working on the Dodgers team sets?
night owl said…
Dodgers OPC team sets mostly, although I am very passively collecting the full '77 OPC set.