Friday, August 1, 2008

1983 Topps Stickers

Let me just start by saying that if this set came out today, it would be a huge hit among collectors. The 330 stickers are composed of a great collection of reverent, neat looking, and innovative subsets as well as a crisp, colorful, and orderly selection of players from 1983. Not too big, not too small, but just right. Whoever Topps put in charge of this set must have been fired not long after its release, because there are too many good things going on with this set.

Part of the fun of this is going to be trying to figure out what some of the subsets are without having the sticker book they go in. Some are easier than others, and I think I've got them all figured out, but why some are done one way and others another way is a mystery to me. But on we go!

This was one of the boxes I picked up at the National for $5. Each box has 100 packs containing 6 stickers each. That's 600 stickers for less than a penny apiece. As you can see from the wrapper, this product held no value whatsoever from it's original price of 25 cents a pack ($25 a box, in 1983 dollars). I like that already.

The set starts off with gold foil stickers of the top four all-time HR leaders. The real ones. The gold foil sets these apart, while at the same time honoring the greats of the past. Given the success today of archives sets, I've never understood why Topps or Upper Deck doesn't do more things like this in their base sets.

That's followed by a group of players that I have no idea what the correlation is. It looks to be some of the game's older, active players, such as HOFer's Reggie, Yaz, Bench, and Tony Perez, but also includes Dave Kingman, Reggie Smith, and Graig Nettles.

Then come stickers of the A.L. stat leaders of 1982 followed by the A.L. players. These are sorted by team in alphabetical order, starting with Baltimore and ending with Toronto. There are gold foil stickers scattered throughout of a top player on each team.

Now we are at what I think is the coolest part of the set. The split stickers. Anywhere from two to six stickers that combine to make one image. These commemorate the highlights, records, All-Stars, and postseason heroes of 1982.

These are awesome, especially the 6 sticker Rickey Henderson set.

How cool is it that the All-Star stickers fit side by side and form an actual star?

Those are followed by the N.L. stat leaders and players in the same manner as the A.L. earlier.

Then the set finishes with stickers of rising stars that includes Wade Boggs, Cal Ripken, and Ryne Sandberg.

The Tigers in the set are as follows:
63-Lance Parrish gold foil
64-John Wockenfuss
65-Lou Whitaker
66-Alan Trammell
67-Kirk Gibson
68-Larry Herndon
69-Jack Morris
70-Dan Petry
193 & 194-Lance Parrish Record Breaker
318-Glenn Wilson

This is just a beautiful set. It's too bad the card companies today don't look back to something like this as a way to make fun and interesting sets without resorting to contrived crap like errors and parallels to drive sales. But, in true Topps fashion, I came up two stickers short of a full set from a box that had almost enough stickers to make two sets.

Now if I can just get my hands on one of those sticker books....

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