1982 Topps: Let's bust some 36 year old packs!

Sell it or rip it?  

That was the dilemma I found myself in as I was looking through a stack of unopened 1988 Donruss cello packs from a recent collection purchase and came across a lone 1982 Topps cello mixed in.

I’ve never opened a pack of cards that old. There could be a perfect Ripken Jr. in there!  And the gum, that delicious gum.  Ok, eating the gum wasn’t really part of the consideration, but the smell of the freshly opened cardboard and gum was on my mind.  On the other hand, I could easily get a quick $15 back towards the cost of the collection by selling it.  The chances of actually getting a Ripken are fairly small, but the profit from selling it sealed was a sure thing.


As you can see above I decided to rip it!


Alas, there was no Ripken to be found, but there was a pretty cool selection of other cards that took me back to the days of wax and gum stains.

With 28 of a possible 792 cards, the chances of getting that Ripken out of one pack were pretty slim, but six familiar names is pretty solid in my opinion.


1) Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson is probably the biggest name in the pack.  1982 was Reggie’s 6th season with the Yankees and he still had several good seasons left in him.  While looking through the back of the card, I realized for the first time that he had one season with Baltimore in 1976!  How did I not know that?  I always had him with the A’s, Yankees, and Angels, but never realized he played a season with the Orioles.


2) Rickey Henderson Sticker

One of the other nice finds was a Rickey Henderson Sticker tucked right up next to the stick of gum.  It looks like these were “promo” stickers of some kind.  The sticker back told collectors to ask the store to carry the “new 1982 Topps Sticker Album COMING SOON!”.  

3) Dennis Leonard

Leonard wins the award for “Best Facial Hair” in the pack.  He’s got some wicked sideburns to go with his Fu Manchu.  Dennis threw over 100 complete games for the Royals, and his 144 wins puts him at second all-time for the team.

4) Steve Carlton “In Action”



Card 481 shows Carlton mid pitch on the front, and the back highlights several key moments of his career.  The three items featured are 1) the fact that we was credited as the winning pitcher in the 1969 All-Star game,  2) he hit a home run  in the 1978 NL Championship Series, and 3) he was credited with two wins in the 1980 World Series against the Royals.

5) Kirk Gibson 

This card is Gibson’s second year card, and while he did some good work with the Tigers, it is his walk off World Series home run as a member of the Dodgers that is his defining moment in my mind.


That was a fun experience, and I hope to come across some more sealed packs from the early 80s in future collections!  I’ve already got this complete set put together, so these cards will go up onto Sportlots sometime in the next several weeks.

My most recent purchase was a huge lot of cards from the last couple seasons, and there will be a lot of sorting to do.  There is a Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock Auto in this collection, and hopefully I’ll be able to sell enough of it to allow me to add those two cards to my collection for free!