The 1983 Topps Traded set was a turning point in the collecting world. Even though the 1982 set fetches a higher premium today with the Cal Ripken, Jr Rookie, this set was immediately at the top of the list to get the Rookie Card of #1 Overall Pick from 1980.
Strawberry, like Fernando Valenzuela just two years earlier, was an overnight sensation. As shown on his card, he was knocking extra-base hits with regularity as early as May of 1983.
After Strawberry, the list of big name rookies shrinks quickly. At the time, however, Catcher Ron Kittle was having a similar impact on the American League that Strawberry had in the NL. The only Twins in the set were Rookies Randy Bush and Len Whitehouse. The Age-less wonder Julio Franco was a rookie in the 83 Traded Set as well, coming over to Cleveland from Philadelphia.
Speaking of Philly, 2 of the set's 3 Hall of Famers were on the move to the Phillies in 1983. The move to add veteran leadership this time did not have the same magic it did in 1980. Tom Seaver was making a homecoming to his first franchise, taking another tour with the New York Mets.
While the set doesn't have a very high profile, there were some fairly notable players with new teams. Steve Garvey and Ron Cey found new digs outside of LA, and Keith Hernandez began the second half of his career. Fresh off a championship in 1982 with the Cardinals, he sought to bring another to Queens in the coming years. The 1983 set also brought back Manager cards! Billy Martin came back to New York, again, after a successful (if tumultuous) run of "Billy Ball" in Oakland.
Here are some of my favorite images from the set.
This was too bad - they had a photo of Valentine in his Angels uniform, but chose not to use it in the main section. Topps gets an "A" for level of difficulty, but the photoshop job was not great.