Sunday, December 2, 2018

The 1980s

Kin wrote a post called I Love the 1980s inspired by Beckett Baseball's righteous decision to do a 1980s issue with Don Mattingly on the cover of their January 2019 issue. And he tweeted back that he'd be interested in seeing my rankings so without further ado, I'll present my favorite sets of the 1980s first and then my favorite cards of the 1980s.

My Tops Sets of the 1980s

I'd really love to include sets like Score and Upper Deck in my list, but I can't. Although I was probably astounded by the weird colors of the Score sets when it came out, I'm far too "traditional", for lack of a better word, to include them here. They don't exemplify the bulk of the 1980s decade for me. Donruss, Fleer, and primarily Topps, however, do. In an effort of full disclosure most cards were stolen from online resources.

Honorable Mention goes to 1986 Donruss.

#5 1981 Topps
I love the hats.

#4 1983 Topps
A set I feel like I got packs of as a 9 year old. It's certainly one I sought within a few years as a hardcore baseball card collector. This is the period where so many 1960s and 1970s stars were still active. Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, George Brett, Robin Yount, Johnny Bench... I mean it's loaded. And then Boggs, Sandberg and Gwynn rookies, Ripken second year. A divine set. Probably should be higher than 4.

#3 1988 Fleer
This set is so crisp and clean. I love the white borders and the blue and red stripes; it's a patriotic set.

#2 1986 Topps
A more quirky set due to the big bold font. Like my number 1 below, it just brings back a really wonderful happy period of collecting and innocence, particularly for the first seven cards of the set, an homage to Pete Rose.

#1 1987 Topps
This is for me a no-brainer.  It's not the first time Topps (or even Bowman) used a wood-grained border, but it best represents my memories of collecting as an earlier teenager.

My Top Cards of the 1980s

#5 Ripken's

Between 1982's Cal Ripken rookie and 1989 Bill Ripken expletive card, I'm sure there are more iconic cards from the decade but these two are amongst the most sought after many decades later.

#4 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr.
Pull this card out of a pack. I should've stopped then!

#3 1983 Topps Gaylord Perry
The 9-year-old in me remembers trading for this card in Cub Scouts.

#2 1987 Classic Yellow Update Andre Dawson

The 1980s had many iconic moments. For me the Mets winning the World Series in 1986 was one of them, but Andre Dawson's card here is one of those indelibly marked occurrences.

#1 Darryl Strawberry
This is predictable and I'm sorry to be predictable, but Darryl Strawberry was my favorite player at the time and so, as such, he's my default number 1 card of the decade. I really could have picked any of his Topps cards, but decided to go for one that I loved then so incredibly much, the 1988 Fleer Headliners.

If anyone is actually reading this blog post, well... what about you? Let's bat this sucker around!

Thanks Kin, for suggesting more input on this brilliant decade in baseball card production!

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. The 1980s are when I first start collecting cards too. I remember my mom buying me a pack every week at the grocery store. My favorite set from the 1980s is also the 1987 Topps, but my favorite cards are the 1982 Topps rookie cards of Cal Ripken Jr and the 1985 Topps Team USA card of Cory Snyder. I am starting a small quest to either acquire or reacquire some of the more iconic cards of all brands from the mid 1980s to mid 1990s.

    1. Good luck on the quest! I probably had multiple copies, back then, of all the great cards. Lord knows what happened to them. I'm sure I traded or sold some...the focus turned from cards to girls and ice cream and stuff.

  2. I see we have two of the same top five sets. I'm a fan of 1988 Fleer as well, but didn't put it onto my list. It has such a "clean" look.

    I love that you said #1 was predictable, but it really wasn't. For one, I thought the whole top five might be Kruk and Strawberry. Then, I would have expected a different Straw!

    Thanks for playing along!


  3. Nice job only choosing 2 rookies in your top 5 cards. I'd probably have to do three different top 5 cards to do this right: top 5 rookies, top 5 goofs/gimmicks, and top 5 photos.

    1. It pained me beyond reason to choose a Ripken as I didn't much care for them. But they are iconic; my Cal and Griffey were both pulled from packs. So...

  4. whoa, gotta love the Dawson beanball and Joyner's floating bat! I don't have many from the 80s that I could call favorites. Ripken and Sandberg rookies for certain. I no longer own a Griffey rookie. In life, the 80s were not good years for me as a teenager. I was awkward and insecure, a true wallflower. Perhaps the day will come that I can embrace some of these sets but now is not the time. I enjoy reading these stories though. Perhaps If I had collected then, these cards may have been a comfort to me. Thanks for sharing, Peter!

    1. Thanks for commenting! Cards were the way of life for me for so long and I have forgotten far more than I will ever remember about how I collected. And I'm grateful to have forgotten most of the awkward stuff I endured.

  5. There are lots of George Brett cards and cards of various key '86 Mets which mean a lot to me, but I think my favorite '80s card is the 1981 Topps John Pacella with his cap about to hit the ground. For my favorite set I think I'll be a bit odd and go 1980 Topps Giants, which was the first set I ever completed (the grey back versions...I got the "premium" white back set for like a dollar at a card show this year!).

    1. That Pacella card is wonderful. I got the whole 81 set for Christmas last year or the year before (or the year before) and remember feeling kind of amazed at this one. I don't know 1980 Topps Giants so am going to go look it up.

  6. Great post. I'll be submitting my lists either later this week... or early next week. 1983 and 1987 Topps will definitely be on the list somewhere.

    1. Thamks Marc! I really look forward to seeing what you list!