Wednesday, May 27, 2020

HOF Jackson, Seaver, Carlton, Niekro

Four Hall of Fame players had their final Topps cards in 1987 and it's a solid group of players.

Tom Seaver (inducted 1992), Reggie Jackson (inducted 1993), Steve Carlton (inducted 1994), and Phil Niekro (inducted 1997). Look at the backs of their cards. It was the end of a righteous era of players with one thing in common: longevity. Niekro started in 1964. Carlton started in 1965. And Jackson and Seaver started in 1967.

Seaver retired after the 1986 season after completing 20 years in the Majors but was given a 1987 Topps card. He was a first ballot winner and received 98.8% of the voted. Nearly unanimous.

Reggie Jackson played 21 years and retired after the 1987 season but was not given a 1988 card despite playing 115 games. Another first ballot guy who got 93.6% of the vote.

Steve Carlton hung it up after 24 seasons during the 1988 season. Like Jackson he wasn't given a 1988 Topps card. He did, however, get a 1987 Topps Traded card because he played for several teams. His last two years he racked up the frequent flyer miles playing for the Phillies, Giants, and White Sox in 1986 and the Indians and Twins in 1987. Another first ballot guy who got 95.6% of the vote. 

Phil Niekro got into the Hall of Fame on his fifth ballot, getting 80.3% of the vote, leading the pool that year. He played 24 years in the big leagues and in 1987, he, too, got around going from the Indians to the Blue Jays to the Braves. Unlike Carlton, Niekro did not get a Topps Traded card. Topps' inconsistency is the model of consistency. He did get a 1988 Record Breakers card but that's outside of the scope of my Hall of Fame project.

All totaled up, that 89 years of baseball between the four players. Wow! Will we ever see the likes of that again??

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Niekro always looked 20 years older than his actual age on his later year cards.

  2. 87 was my first set and I was fascinated by these cards (plus Ryan and Sutton) because of all the stats on the back.

  3. I would like know, from Topps' mouth, what exactly they are trying to do with their cards. Are they intending to document the previous season? If so, then why no Reggie in '88?
    Regardless, I think every major star should have a sunset card, where full career stats are on the back. Just my two cents.

  4. Beautiful set. Solid rookie card class... and by the looks of this post... a very, very solid Final Topps Card class.

  5. On those 4 cards look at all the numbers....... I grew up outside Philadelphia hated the Phillies due to Carlton & Schmidt being A-holes. so we also got WOR TV so the Mets were my team and Seaver was my guy to the point that my oldest sons middle name is "Seaver". Great that the companies put the sure HOFers in the next year sets with the full career stats this should be the norm.

  6. Man, the font is so small on the back of those cards. 89 combined years of baseball really is remarkable!