Monday, February 12, 2018

18 months ahead of its hockey counterpart--50 from '83 Topps

I read quite a few tweets on twitter and posts on blogs that extol the love that people have for the 1983 Topps set.   Until recently, I only had a few cards from this set in hand so I wasn't very familiar with it.

I knew more about the 84-85 OPC/Topps release which is very much the same design, but has some great rookies such as Steve Yzerman, Doug Gilmour and Cam Neely.

1983 Topps has its own great class of RCs, featuring Ryne Sandberg, Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn.  Sorry, you won't be seeing any of these 3 here on this post.

There's a few other cards that I liked that I wanted to show.  Some of these players were not as well known in the baseball world.

I imagine that if I ever became a major leaguer that I would have played 3rd base.  It was always my favorite spot on the diamond; it usually featured a solid hitter such as these guys are.

Ken Oberkfell was the opposite of what you expected from your 3rd baseman, great for average but only single digits in homers.  Vance Law is the son of long term Pirate Vern Law, and had a decent 11 year career for Pittsburgh, Montreal, Oakland and both Chicago clubs.

I remember Wayne Gross from his days in Oakland, good power, average not so great.  I didn't know that he pitched in a game during the '83 season, pitching 2 and 1/3 scoreless innings against the Twins in a 16-5 blowout.

Enos Cabell made his career as a utility player, 3rd, 1st, short, both corner outfield spots.  He played them all.

A little trivia; one of these 6 holds the Blue Jays record for most RBI in a single game with 9.  Answer at the end of the post.

These 3 had almost 50 combined seasons of pitching experience by the time these cards came out.

I don't remember Luis Tiant pitching for the Angels, and it's no wonder as he only had 6 appearances for the Halos in '82.  This would be his sunset card.

This pair of batting/pitching leader cards might tell you that these teams were relatively close in the standings in 1982, but the Orioles finished 16 games ahead of Toronto.

The Orioles had a young rookie in 1982 that would build quite a resume for himself, Cal Ripken.

Haven't shown many catchers so far in these 50 card posts, so I figured I'd get 3 of them out for your viewing pleasure.  Sal Butera is the father of current KC Royal Drew Butera.   Rick Cerone was a Blue Jay for a couple of years before being part of a trade that saw the Jays net Chris Chambliss, Damaso Garcia and Paul Mirabella.  Chambliss was only a Jay on paper as he was traded to Atlanta which netted the Jays 3 other players that helped build a nucleus of young talent that would get the Blue Jays out of the cellar in a couple of seasons....

Len Barker gets his card scanned all by itself because of one game.  May 15th, 1981, Len pitched a perfect game against the Jays, striking out 11 in front of just 7290 fans in Cleveland Stadium.  The game took just 2 hrs and 9 minutes to finish.  Luis Leal pitched for the Jays and pitched reasonably well, pitching a complete game 7 hitter with no walks, but gave up 3 runs (1 earned).

Speaking of walks...

The wife and I love listening to Bob provide color analysis on Pirates telecasts.  Bob has been with the Pirates radio/TV crew for more than 2 decades now, so he's seen some highs and quite a few lows that the Bucs have gone through.

TRIVIA ANSWER:  Roy Howell still holds the Jays record for RBIs in a single game with 9.  He set this record on 9/10/77 in a 19-3 rout of the Yankees.  Roy had 4 hits, including 2 homers while setting a record that surprisingly has never been surpassed in the 40 year history of the Jays.

Thanks for reading, Robert


  1. That's a really nice batch of 83s and you can't go wrong with Large Len.

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