Wednesday, June 19, 2013

1985 Topps: Part III-T


In 1980 I stayed home from school to watch the Dodgers' miracle comeback against the Astros come to an end with a defeat in a one-game playoff for the division championship. Five years later, I had high hopes for a better outcome when I came home from lunch on a Wednesday afternoon and didn't return to school. The Dodgers were down three games to two in the best-of-seven Championship Series against the Cardinals. But they were back home at Dodger Stadium, and they had Orel Hershiser, 19-3 on the season, taking the mound. The Bulldog pitched well, but got into some trouble in the seventh and was replaced by closer Tom Niedenfuer, who couldn't hold the lead. Mike Marshall broke a 4-4 tie with a lead-off homer in the eighth. But with runners at second and third in the ninth, and one out away from forcing a seventh game, Tommy Lasorda opted to let Niedenfuer pitch to this guy...

I should have stayed in school.

Meanwhile, the annual Traded set exodus of Dodgers favorites continued with Burt "Happy" Hooton taking his rhythmic delivery and knuckle-curve to Texas.

It was another big Traded set for managers. Longtime organizational guys like Eddie Haas, John Felske and Jim Davenport were given their shots. Buck Rodgers took over in Montreal. Earl Weaver was brought back to Baltimore, and Billy Martin made yet another cameo in Yankee pinstripes. Bobby Valentine began his eventful career as a manager. And the masochistic Gene Mauch signed on for another helping of heartbreak by taking over the California Angels.

Again, the Traded set is printed on bright card stock, which works better with this set than it did with any other in the decade. That's mainly because it helped to brighten up a fairly bland set, and because it actually made the backs legible, which isn't something the base set could claim.

But even the content of '85's Traded set was fairly bland. The biggest name rookies were Vince Coleman, Teddy Higuera and Ozzie Guillen. The set featured Rickey Henderson and Cary Carter moving to New York within their respective leagues. But there just wasn't a lot of excitement to be found in this set, which was overrun by the Donnie Hills and Gene Nelsons of the world. An appropriate cap to a less-than-stellar year for Topps baseball.

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