Sunday, April 12, 2020

Cardboard Keepers - The Big 3 from '83

Time for the next installment of "Cardboard Keepers", a thought experiment where I theoretically whittle my entire collection down to just 2,000 cards; 1,000 baseball keepers and 1,000 other keepers.

Today we show some love and appreciation to the first Topps flagship baseball set to be released in my lifetime.  Technically, the 1982 set is my "birth year" release, but since I was born in the fall the '83 set was the first to hit shelves after I came into the world.

Though there are many great cards in the '83 release, and I may very well draw from it again for this project down the line, I'm going to start with the three notable Hall-of-Fame rookie cards...

Ryne Sandberg was the most recent of the three to enter into my collection, snagged at a card show back in 2012 for $5.  I always thought he got the best photographs of the three cards in today's post.  Sandberg won his first MLB award in 1983, a Gold Glove.  The following season he'd add All-Star, Silver Slugger and MVP to his resume!

I won't show all three, but here's a look at one back anyway in case you're unfamiliar with the set.  1983 Topps is generally one of the most loved Topps baseball sets of the '80s, and it's easy to see why.  A clean design that pays homage to the 1963 set with the inset photo, team-coordinated border colors, and clean backs that are easy on the eyes.

Next up, one of the best contact hitters the game has ever seen, the legendary Tony Gwynn.  This is actually the copy I acquired as a kid, still resident in my collection today, which is pretty great.

8-time NL batting champ, and a .338 lifetime average.  Insane.  Though this card is iconic, when you really look at the larger action photo it's not the most flattering shot of the 15-time All-Star.  Still, nobody was raking the ball in the National League during the '80s and '90s better than Gwynn, and I absolutely love this card.

In the American League though, it was all about Wade Boggs during the '80s.  The 5-time AL batting champ hit .325 or better in every season from his debut in 1982 through the end of the decade!  I've always liked Wade, and don't begrudge him for going to New York and winning a World Series in pinstripes.  I snagged this card off of eBay and blogged about it way back in 2009.  Man, I've been at this a while!

So, there you have it, three of the most iconic rookie cards of the 1980s, and a great way to honor the 1983 Topps set in this experiment.  That's 31 cards down in the baseball Cardboard Keepers collection altogether now, 969 to go.  You can see the virtual album here if you're interested.

I'll be back with more keepers soon, in the meantime thanks for stopping by...


Fuji said...

One of my favorite sets of all-time. Beautiful design and iconic rookie card class. It doesn't get better than this.

gregory said...

The big three are the big three for a reson, and you've done well to make them keepers!

(Honorable mention to the Willie McGee and Frank Viola rookie cards in this set.)

Nick said...

I paid $5 for my copy of the '83 Ryno too! Money well spent.

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