Wednesday, June 5, 2013

1984 Topps: Part III-T


You're kidding me, right...?

So in my brief collecting lifetime, I had seen the Traded sets mock me with the loss of two-thirds of the Dodgers historic infield, and now I had to suffer the indignity of Dusty Baker in a friggin' Giants uniform. (By the way, that's the way I see the Giants uniforms in my head. The script across each hated player's chest reads "Friggin' Giants.") So who did the Dodgers get in this set to balance the scales? Bob Bailor, Carlos Diaz and Mike Vail. I sense a franchise slump coming on...

It was, however, another big Traded set for the ascending New York Mets, as they brought along a couple of rookie arms for their rotation in Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling, and got the right man to put it all together in manager Davey Johnson.

And here we see another big piece that was added for the impending Mets success (sorry, Bill).

The crosstown Yankees would have considerably less success with their multi-annual managerial change, but any opportunity for a new card featuring Yogi Berra in pinstripes is cause for celebration. (Given that this picture was taken on the road, those would be metaphorical pinstripes, of course...)

You know, if I had Superman's ability to fly around the Earth fast enough to turn back time, one thing I'd try to accomplish is to get Topps to abandon its idea of printing its Traded sets from this era on "premium" stock (if that's what it was supposed to be). I have no idea why they felt this was an appropriate place to experiment with something different. It's clear that the concept of the Traded set is to act as an extension of the base set. And the original Traded set in 1981 worked beautifully in that regard. But their experimentation made subsequent sets feel gimmicky. I wish they had reserved this impulse for their Purina Dog Chow cards and had let the Traded sets retain their dignity.

In the case of the '84 cards, the goofy stock they chose tended to make the white borders fade to a dull cream color. The way the ink stuck to the stock and/or whatever coating they may have applied to prevent the cards from sticking together created an annoying gravelly feel when flipping through them in a stack. And they smelled bad. I will admit, however, that unlike the bright pink of the 1983 Traded set, the two-color card backs of the '84 set actually look really nice on the brighter stock. But it's not enough to redeem the misguided decision to try to get fancy.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I'm definitely digging the Montreal Expos jerseys now that they've been relegated to retro. This Pete Rose card (#103T) has to be a cardboard highlight for the international portion of the Nationals' franchise history.


  1. That '84 Rose is one of my favorite cards, and it all starts with the Expos' uni.

    1. The thing about that card that gets me, other than the fun of the unfamiliar uni on Charlie Hustle, is the care with which Topps placed the photos, with his leg blending out of the helmet in the portrait and lined up with the corner of the box. That's some old-school attention to detail.