Harbingers of darkness...
This set is the complete opposite of the previous year's Traded set. In '85, the biggest rookies were Vince Coleman, Ozzie Guillen and Teddy Higuera. In addition to Bonds (#11T) and Canseco (#20T), the 1986 Traded set marked the debut of, among others, Bobby Bonilla, Will Clark (#24T), Mark Eichhorn, Andres Galarraga, Pete Incaviglia, Bo Jackson, Wally Joyner, John Kruk, Kevin Mitchell, Dan Plesac, Bip Roberts, Kurt Stillwell, Dale Sveum, Danny Tartabull, Bob Tewksbury, Robby Thompson, Mitch Williams (#125T), Bobby Witt and Todd Worrell. Not to mention one of the best baseball names of the '80s (though a bust on the field), Billy Jo Robidoux.
Sweet Lou Piniella, who appeared as a player as late as the 1984 set, shows up here (#86T) as the latest of George Steinbrenner's managerial whims.
One of my favorite stories here is that of the "Rooster," Rick Burleson. The Angels' shortstop had missed most of the past four years, and all of 1985, due to a torn rotator cuff and a dislocated shoulder. He kept battling and finally made it back to play an important role on the '86 division championship team, hitting .284 in 93 games as the Angels' utility infielder.
We're once again treated to "premium" card stock for the Traded set in '86. I guess I'm starting to warm up to this... a little. I still don't like that it makes for a big difference between base set and Traded set cards. But I have to admit that they look pretty good again, and that the backs are particularly enhanced.
So, what happens to the Blue Crew in the '86 Traded set? They get a couple of veteran role players: catcher Alex Trevino and lefty reliever Ed VandeBerg. The set also marks the arrival of the fourth future star first baseman since the departure of Steve Garvey three years ago. There was Mike Marshall, Greg Brock, Sid Bream, and now Franklin Stubbs. All had solid major league careers. None became a star hitting away from the thin Albuquerque atmosphere. As for departures, we get another long-time Dodger in an unfamiliar uniform. After fourteen seasons in Los Angeles, Playgirl pinup model and catcher's mask throat guard inventor Steve Yeager moved up the coast to the Pacific Northwest for a year before hanging up the spikes for good. Not quite as torturous as previous losses, given the established presence of Mike Scioscia behind the plate.