Sunday, October 31, 2010

Set Collection: 1985 Topps Rack Pack Glossy Inserts

So let's continue my stroll through a few oddball 80s sets. Starting in 1984, Topps would insert a single All-Star Glossy card in every rack pack. Each year, they would include 22 cards in the set. For each league, there would be a card for each of the nine starters, the manager and the honorary team captain. As best I can tell, Topps stopped inserting the cards after the 1990 set.

It's hard to put over just how COOL these cards were, especially the first few years Topps started including them. For one thing, there just weren't that many cards made on glossy stock. Plus, unlike today, there weren't a dozen different insert sets that practically guarantee that you'll get at least one card of a great player. (Oh sure, you could have been stuck with Paul Owens, but since the cards were on top in the rack pack, you could pick the card you want. Well, at least until 1990 when Topps started hiding the cards in the rack packs.)

I can't remember Paul Owens managing the Phillies to the 1983 NL Pennant. I now know that he replaced Pat Corrales during the 83 season. When he took over, Philadelphia was a game over .500 and would go 17 games over the rest of the season. I still loved the Phillies in 1983, so why can't I remember Paul Owens? If you had just asked me as a trivia question who managed the 83 Phillies to the NL pennant, I would have said Dallas Greene.

In an unrelated note, I turn 40 on Tuesday.
Of course, Schmidt wore the Phillies uniform his entire career, as did Tony Gwynn for the Padres. I know a lot of people don't remember it, but the Wizard started his career with the Padres. I can still remember the trade that sent Garry Templeton to the Padres. I can still remember everybody thinking the Padres got the better end of the deal. I can still remember Oz becoming a better hitter seemingly every year, while Templeton's career began an almost immediate regression.

I may be turning 40 but I can still remember some things.
I was a Little League catcher who grew up in Memphis, TN watching the Expos AA team play, and Gary Carter was for a long, long time my favorite baseball player. The guy who supplanted him was Dale Murphy.
I saw Gary Carter play for the Memphis Chicks. I saw Tim Raines play for the Memphis Chicks. Yes, I also saw Charlie Lea pitch for the Memphis Chicks. Lea looked to be headed to an excellent career before he was struck by arm and shoulder injuries.
Sweet Lou was my favorite of the those good Tiger teams. George Brett, as I will point out over and over again because I'm boring and have nothing of interest to say, is one of my least favorite players in the history of the game.
One of these does not belong.
Speaking of me mis-remembering the past, I could distinctly remember Dave Stieb winning a Cy Young award. Of course, he did not. Does anyone know what happened to his career during the 1991 season? It appears to have gone off the rails.
Despite only playing nine seasons in the big leagues, it's hard not to consider the original Hammerin' Hank one of the all time greats. I may be just turning 40 now, but sometimes, I wish I was older and had gotten to see guys like this play the game.

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