In the spring of 2019, I loaded up a USPS medium flat rate box full of Cubs cards and sent it up to Madison, Wisconsin. A trade was in the works with Beau Thompson, the man behind the One Million Cubs project. I sent him the box of Cubs, and in return, he would be sending me a package of various “odd ball” issues from the 70’s-90’s!
This is part of a multi-post series coving the odd ball sets I received in the trade. In this one we’ll be talking about, the 1983 Topps Gardner’s set.
In 1983, Topps produced a promotional set that you had to live in Wisconsin to love.
Literally, you had to live in the area which was home to Gardner’s, the regional bakery Topps partnered with to produce a 22 card set of Milwaukee Brewers, if you wanted to get your hands on these cards. I’m sure collectors living in surrounding states may have been able to find some in the 80’s, but in the days prior to the interwebs, this was a hard set to find outside the region. This was actually the first of a three year run of cards which were included in loaves of bread and packages of buns. It returned once again in the late 80’s heyday of promo sets before being retired. Hopefully, we’ll have future posts to cover those sets!
I’m pretty confident that these two cards are the first Gardner’s cards I’ve ever owned. Being that Beau is in the heart of Wisconsin, it’s fitting that he would be the person to get them into my hands.
The cards utilize the standard 1983 Topps back, however they do have a different card number. The front however is a unique design which actually reminds me a lot of some of the Topps 582 Montgomery Club designs we’ve seen so far.
On the front we see a white border surrounding a combination of yellow, pink, and orange fill. The Gardner’s Logo is in one of the upper corners, and the name, position, and team logo are at the bottom. The majority of the player photos appear to be posed shots, but a couple look like they may have actually been on-field shots. The Don Sutton in particular looks it may have been captured in a game that wasn’t going so well for the Milwaukee hurler.
The 22 card set contains many of the 80’s Brewers you would expect. Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor, and Robin Yount are among the players who were featured on the cards. Actually, for Brewer’s fans this set is pretty loaded. A couple years ago, Fox Sports published an article of the Brewers All Time 25 Man roster, and eight of those players are found in this set!
Complete sets can be found on eBay for about $3 plus shipping, which is also about the price you can expect to pay for singles of Yount and Molitor. Actually, if I was going to pick up singles, I’d head to Sportlots. They have all 22 cards available from .18 to $1 each.
I’d put this in the must own category for Brewers fans, and heck, even if you like unique cards of Hall of Famers, this set has several cards for you to pick up!
Harvey Kuenn MGR
There are more Odd Ball promo sets to read about! Check out this one on the 1986 Topps Quaker Granola Bars set which was one of the first I ever chased, and keep checking back for more posts about the cards that came from this trade!