Monday, May 13, 2013

1982 Topps: Part III-T


Unlike with the debut Traded set the previous season, it seems as though Topps went out of its way to differentiate the 1982 Traded set from the base set. Rather than number the cards to pick up sequentially where the base set ended, they numbered the cards in this set as 1T-132T. The other way in which these cards struck their own identity was in their use of color. The checklist card was green, not yellow. The backs were red, not green. And, more subtly (and perhaps not intentionally), the photos seemed to be tinted in a slightly different way than those in the base set. The blues seemed to be more purple, and the greens more intense. Spring training posed shots still predominate, with very few action photos. But the poses look classier than the many awkward attempts at candid shots in the base set, so that gives a sense of some improvement in quality from the base set to the Traded set. But for all of that, it was still clearly a continuation of the original set.

The set is still primarily concerned with the relocation of veteran players, but there are a few more rookies here than in the previous year's effort. Key newcomers include Chili Davis, Von Hayes, Kent Hrbek, Johnny Ray, and some kid named Ripken. And let's not forget Jack Perconte, getting his shot with the Indians, while another kid was handed the job for the Dodgers.

One of the fun things to do with a Traded set was to compare your favorite team's lost players to the ones they gained. The Dodgers may have been champions in 1981, but the team's ledger in the 1982 Traded set did not bode well for their chances to repeat. We get our MLB-mandated Rookie of the Year winner in Steve Sax, but... other than that it's three aging veterans: two pinch hitters (Jose Morales and Jorge Orta) and one no-bat glove man (Mark Belanger). On the other hand, we lose former Rookie of the Year Rick Sutcliffe, bullpen stalwart (and the man who taught Fernando the screwball) Bobby Castillo, a couple of bigger-name veteran pinch hitters in Jay Johnstone and Reggie Smith, the budding star second baseman (at least according to my Grandpa) Jack Perconte, and... worst of all... the Dodgers All-Star second baseman since 1973, breaking up THE Infield, Davey Lopes, now wearing green. Yikes!

Actually, the disturbing trend that this set revealed to me was that my Grandfather's team, the lowly California Angels, had added so much veteran star power that they were threatening to become a better team than my Dodgers. Doug Corbett, Tim Foli, Bob Boone, Doug DeCinces, and Reggie Jackson were just some of the additions the crosstown rivals had made. Seeing the Angels in the playoffs and the Dodgers knocked out upended my baseball worldview. I didn't know bad teams could become good, just like that. As a Dodger fan, I sure hoped things couldn't go the other way as well.

Not sure there's much else to say about this set. The bottom line is that the Traded set means more cards. And you can never have too many cards, can you? I know I can't.

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