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C.A.: 1986 Topps Traded Billy Hatcher

(Greetings on Memorial Day. I hope you're enjoying your long weekend. I have to work tonight because kids have to keep playing sports. But at least I'm still functioning on this planet. Time for Cardboard Appreciation, this is the 339th in a series):

My first sportlots order of the year has been trickling in over the last few days and will be for a few days more.
It's a fairly modest order this time but it's an important one because it completes at least three sets from the 1980s that were overdue to be finished. I'll focus on one of them right now, which is 1986 Topps Traded. It's now complete!
Billy Hatcher was the last card I needed, it was a little bit elusive, kind of like I expected the Bo Jackson card to be. But that's the fun mystery that comes with being a set-builder: you never really know what the last card will be to finish the set.

To many collectors the 1986 Traded set is the big four and not much more:

But I was raised as a set collector and on the knowledge that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." It takes a lot more than a few rookies to complete a wonderful extension of the 1986 flagship set. 1980s Traded sets have fascinated me since I first read that Topps was creating one in 1981 and got my first one in 1982.

For example, there are other notable rookies in the '86 Traded set besides the Big Four. These are just a few.

The 1986 Traded set features cards that I would be so upset if I never saw them. A lot of these players in 1986 I followed heavily in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

How could I call myself a collector without being able to produce this card?

The Traded set continues the 1986 Topps trend of terrific catcher-in-action shots.

Traded cards like this are so interesting to me. Dennis Leonard did not change teams. He was not a rookie. That means there is a backstory to Leonard in 1985 (P.S.: I know what it is). I want to look through the '80s Traded sets and find more examples of this and write a post about it -- maybe I actually will.

Just a warning: Completing the full 1986 Traded set means you will be bipped!

There is a whopping eight managers in the '86 Traded set, six percent of the set. Topps would never do that today!

And one of the greatest parts of an '80s Traded set are the painted gems that were still going strong at this time, even as they were starting to be phased out in the flagship set.

That's the story of the 1986 Traded set -- well that and Ted Simmons as a Brave and Bill Gullickson as a Red and Steve Yeager as a Mariner, WHAT? -- and I can't wait to slip the Billy Hatcher card into its designated pocket.

(I briefly panicked when I spotted two other empty spaces like this one elsewhere in the binder. But I just hadn't gotten around to taken two Dodger dupes -- Franklin Stubbs and Alex Trevino -- from the dupes box to assign to the Traded set).

Completing this set wraps up 1986 Topps completely for me. As I've said many, many times on the blog, 1986 Topps arrived when I was in college -- my first year away from home in fact. It was the first year in which I did not collect any cards since I started the hobby 12 years earlier. I don't think I actively decided not to collect cards anymore, I just didn't. And 1986 was the first victim.

I was aware of the design though and I've always liked it -- and not collecting them for more than 20 years (until I had a blog) created some mystery about the set for me. The strange photos and a seeming downturn in quality after 1983, 1984 and 1985 has added to the fascination with the set for me and why I still think of it as the "three-legged dog" of sets. In other words, I love it. Always will.


Congrats on completing the traded set!
Old Cards said…
Good deal on completing the set. I have a complete 85 Topps set (no traded) and 87 Topps set including traded, but for some reason I skipped collecting 86 Topps all together. Still watching for that post about your completion of the 70 Topps set.
BaseSetCalling said…
Leyland always looks truly (& deservedly) proud to have finally “made the Majors”
Anonymous said…
Still baffled that Topps whiffed on Ruben Sierra for this set. Of course, that is not as baffling as 86 Fleer Update whiffing on Bo Jackson!
86 Topps was my reentry into the hobby. I am and a friend built the set from packs. I still have the set somewhere.
Nick said…
Congrats! I think that Tom Seaver was one of the first'86 Traded cards I ever saw, and to this day it reminds me of something you'd be more inclined to see in a comic book thanks to that...questionable airbrush job.
Fuji said…
Congratulations on completing this set! The early to mid 80's were the peak of my manager fanfare... so seeing eight of them brings a smile to my face. But honestly... I was super happy to add this set to my collection back in 1987. The rookie card class in this set was talked about a lot. I just wished I had also grabbed the Fleer Update and Donruss Rookies sets to go along with it.
1984 Tigers said…
A lot of cool spring training shots of players traded in the off-season (Gullickson) or rookies who got their start in the bigs in 1986 (inky, etc).

It seemed like Topps used around the end of June as the cutoff date for inclusion in the Traded set. That's probably why Sierra (1st game was June 1 1986) was missed by Topps. Bo was a no-brainer after he rejected playing for Tampa Bay in FB and got picked in June by the Royals. The back of his card says he got his 1st professional hit June 30.

At least 4 cards had photos taken during the 1986 season at Tiger Stadium. Would be funny to be the adult or kid behind Moose Haas photo in the dugout. You'd be immortalized in card history being on a real card.

1984 Tigers said…
Dennis Leonard was the living epitome of "workhorse" from 1975 to 1981. Lots of starts. Back to back 20+ complete games.

Maybe not fully up to HOF potential had his career not been dampened by a serious knee injury in 1983 but still would have likely finished well over 200 wins.

After missing about 2.5 seasons rehabbing, he got off to a great start in 1986 and had 10 starts and an ERA under 2.00 by end of May but then lost his effectiveness. Retired the next spring.

I remember when his 4 player 1975 topps rookie card was listed in Becketts.
Doc Samson said…
1986 Topps is one of favorite designs ever. Here’s a thought regarding the dodgy overall quality: why not release a “remastered” version of 1986 Topps? Like a Beatles CD. Clean up the photography, make the colors more true and print it on premium card stock. I bet it would sell like hotcakes. Thanks again, Mr. Owl.
Anonymous said…
Your last photo makes it look like you put two cards, back to back, in each spot. Is that what you typically do? I would hate not being able to see the card backs.
night owl said…
Yes, I double-bag the majority of my bindered sets. I've addressed this many times. I have far too many completed sets not to do this, I don't have room for double the binders, running out of space as it is. If I want to look at the back I pull out the card, no biggie.
Jafronius said…
Belated congrats on the completed set!