Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Junior Varsity - The 1982 Topps Traded Set

There's little question about the most iconic card in the 1982 Topps Traded Set - Cal Ripken, Jr was quite the phenomenon.

The Topps company moved quickly onto the Cal Jr train, naming him to the 1981 Topps All-Star Rookie Team - then boldly naming him to the team again in 1982! Granted, he only played in 23 games in 1981, so that selection that season may have been premature.  Not to mention the fact that there are no Rookie Cup trophies on his 1982 card or his 1983 card, so it is one of those bits of trivia that don't come up often.

Some other notable rookies in this set include a pair of Twins, Tom Brunansky and Bloomington, MN born Kent Hrbek. Chili Davis and Steve Sax get their first full cards from Topps as well in the set. All four of these guys joined Ripken on the 1982 Topps All-Star Rookie squad.

In addition to Ripken, there were four other Hall of Fame players in the set. Reggie Jackson triumphantly returned to SoCal after some legendary seasons in New York. Fergie Jenkins and Gaylord Perry appeared here at the tail end of impressive careers. Perry would win his 300th game as a Mariner. Last but not least is Ozzie Smith in his first appearance as a Cardinal - the trade with San Diego would profoundly impact both franchises, and for Smith it was a catalyst to refine his skills as a hitter. The dedication and hard work would ultimately pay off for the defensive wizard, who would go from being a glove only, to a glove first short stop.

1982 Topps Traded was a good year for Twins representatives. Along with Bruno and Hrbie, the set included rookie cards of Bobby Castillo, Randy Johnson (not that one), and Ron Washington (yes, that one). Ron Davis became the Twins' closer and had a few successful seasons, but ultimately was more remembered in MN for the games that got away.

Some of the gems hidden in the 82 Topps Traded set. Tim Blackwell's iconic moustache makes its debut, along with Rookie Ron Gardenhire's mullet. Steve Kemp is rocking a great White Sox uniform (their unis are rarely boring, I'll give them that over the Twins). Frank Tanana was coming off a rough season in Boston, and still a few years from finding his second wind in Detroit.

I'll leave you with the the Bluest Blue Vida Blue. He looks happy, though!


  1. First Traded set I ever owned. Practically have the set memorized.

  2. I still need 98t to complete my set. Then I need 2 for the TASRC (Cup binder), and another 1 for the PC.

    1. Lol. I have the 98t, but need the other 131 cards to complete my set.

  3. I love this set and it was a great day when I got it. That Blackwell mustache is epic. As is Gardenhire's hair and Reggie's specs. Encapsulates the era wonderfully.