Feb 3, 2009

The Battle For 1987 Cardboard Supremacy: Topps!

The battle is officially on. Up first is the rack pack of 1987 Topps. Hard to believe I was able to get my hands on this for so cheap, but luckily for us all I was able to pull off quite a coup.

Let's start with the All-Star insert: Lance Parrish
This one sat on the top of the pack and it's a gem. Lance was the starter at catcher for the AL squad and he contributed a solid 0-3. Not much to say about this card, not sure why they couldn't have gotten photos from the actual All-Star game, but this was 1987 after all.
Points scored: +5 for Being a "special" card, +2 for being an eventual Angel All-Star, -3 for a boring card. Total = 4 points.

Now onto another All-Star card: Gary Carter
I can't quite figure out the point of 2 All-Star type cards, but this one also doubles as a league leader card as well. The back informs us that Gary led the NL with 16 Game-Winning RBI's. Not too shabby. So, one pack, two starting All-Star catchers, both of which went 0-3.
Points scored: +5 for being a special card, -2 for redundancy, +1 for added league leader information. Total = 4 points.

Topps All-Star Rookie Cup Winner: Andy Allanson
It was a bad year for rookie catchers in 1986. Allanson hit .225 with 1 home run and somehow came away with this prestigious award. I'm thinking this card may have been a career highlight for Mr. Allanson.
Points scored: +5 for being a special card (Rookie Cup), -1 for being a pretty crappy rookie and still getting this card, +2 for being a future Angel, -3 for being crappy as an Angel too. Total = 3 points.

Next up: Padres Leaders
These cards are reminiscent of the Topps League Leader Mini cards that I opened earlier, so that's a plus. As for the photo...Andy Hawkins? Really? We couldn't have slipped in an extra Gwynn photo here and made this semi-desirable? Tsk, tsk.
Points scored: +3 for Team Leaders/specialty, -2 for picture choice. Total = 1 point.

Another Leaders card: HALOS!
Mike Witt and Bob Boone are pictured which is at least an improvement on the Padres, but what's with all the pitching mound chat shots? The empty bleachers in the background are a nice touch as well. Uggh.
Points scored: +3 for Team Leaders/specialty, +5 for being an Angels card, -2 for picture choice. Total = 6 points.

Regular old Angel card: Doug DeCinces
Douglas Vernon DeCinces. His 3rd place MVP finish in 1982 was definitely his Halo highlight, but he a few decent seasons following that one as well. A definite score here for Topps.
Points scored: +5 for Halo Sweetness. Total = 5 points.

Awesome action shot of semi-star: Kevin Mitchell
Action shots and good one's at that, were not too plentiful back in 1987. This card stands out mainly because of that. I love all the dirt flying up and the look of excitement on Mitchell's face. This guy had a couple of beastly years later in his career, but it seems like he was having quite a time in New York. Stories of him pinch-hitting in Game 6 without his jock on, decapitating his girlfriend's cat, this guy was doing it all.
Points scored: +3 for awesome action shot, +2 for big pinch hitting performance in '86 with no jock, -1 for decapitating a cat, +1 because I'm allergic to cats and I'm not too fond of them. Total = 5 points.

Superstar card: Wade Boggs

I feel like I've seen this card often and considered it for iconic status, but since it came midway through Wade's career and the photo is of little importance, it has been relegated to simply Superstar card.
Point scored: +3 for superstar, +2 for his prowess with poultry and legendary airplane drinking stories. Total = 5 points.

The iconic cards: 2 from the Bay

Both of these cards were HUGE when I was getting into collecting. Although both players had previous Topps issued cards, these were pretty damn big. Without thinking for a second I could have told you what both of these cards looked like. While I had a Clark or two, I believe this is my first '87 McGwire, so that's pretty sweet. The McGwire card especially looks great with the green jersey and menacing stance. Very happy to pull both of these.
Points scored: +10 for iconic card status, -3 for Steroid tainted awesomeness. Total = 7 points.

Awkward Pirate Hat Cards: Barry Jones and Larry McWilliams.

As soon as I started opening these 1987 packs I knew that these cards would find their way into the rankings system. These hats were just not flattering, it didn't matter who was wearing them, how they wore them or what the action was. McWilliams upped the ante with the femine looking front kick pitching motion on his card.
Points scored: +8 for Pirate hat oddities, +2 for awkward pitching motions captured perfectly. Total = 10 points.

Fun with Airbrushing: Spilman and Fontenot

While the Fontenot appears to be the worse of the two, they're both pretty horrendous. The Fontenot card is somewhat forgivable since he only played 15 games with the Twins in '86, but Spilman played in 58 and that's just not right Topps. Fontenot's beard may be the one thing that salvages these cards.
Points scored: -4 for crappy airbrushing, +2 for possible Fontenot airbrushed beard (I've never heard of this guy, he may actually have been clean shaven in '86 and this was just a clever distraction technique by Topps.), +1 for old school Twins logo. Total = -1 point.

The total scored for 1987 Topps - 49 points. Well done by Topps. There were some bumbs along the way, but the Pirates hat oddities and double iconic cards may have saved the day for Topps.

Next up: Donruss.

Go Halos!


  1. Andy should have had +10 for not inflicting any damage to the ONLY professional baseball team in Ohio. The Reds.

  2. You make a good point. This guy was certainly no Bo Diaz. I should have included a Reds bias to this point totals as well.

  3. Awesome rack pack with the McGwire and Clark, way better than a rack I busted a few months ago. I got two cellos on the way so hopefully I can pull a Bonds.