The 1986 Topps set was the first one I collected. The thick black border across the top boldly highlighted the team names and allowed me build my collection of Cubs by easily identifying the rack and cello packs I wanted to purchase.
The set contains 792 cards which was standard for Topps at that time, but it seemed like a strange number to land on. Would it really have been that hard to find eight more cards to make it an even 800?
Being a nine year old new to baseball and new to cards, this set gave me my first education to baseball history. Some of those lessons right, some wrong. Pete Rose has the first seven cards dedicated to him? He must be real good! Jim Clancy is the one Blue Jays player Topps chose to highlight on their team card? He must be awesome! Tim Wallach was an All-Star? He must be worth a lot.
While a few of those were not so accurate, that simple mindset also exposed me to Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr., George Brett, and more.
The set contains a wide variety of stars, and features several subsets like All-Stars, Team Leader Cards, the Pete Rose collection. There are no high dollar rookie cards in this set, but there are several who are well known. Ozzie Guillen, Vince Coleman, and Cecil Fielder are a few names who have their RC in this set.
Two of more widely available insert sets were the 22 card "Glossy All-Star" set found in rack packs and the "Glossy Send In" set which required mailing in special offer cards found in wax packs.
For years this set was on the low end of 80s value, but over the last 30 years, collectors have found that it is harder and harder to find these cards in great condition due to the black border along the top. The price of sealed product is starting to rise as evidenced by final sales prices on ebay, and the value of highly graded stars are increasing as well.
The 1986 Topps Checklist is available here
In honor of this post, I picked two sealed rack packs from my LCS, Busted Wax at The Collectible Corner and thought I'd share the results!
We've got some notable players in here based on who you can see in the windows of this first pack. Dusty Baker and Jorge Bell on the front, and a Vince Coleman rookie in the center spot of the back.
I really like this action shot of Mickey Tettleton. The photographer caught him right at the start of his swing and the shot is perfectly framed. The middle section had a Frank Robinson "Turn Back the Clock" card in addition to the Baker and Coleman. The final section had the Bell and a John Tudor All-Star card. There were no superstars in this pack, but I like the variety of base and subsets I got.
The second pack also had a Jorge Bell on the front and a Vince Coleman RC in the middle back.
The first section had a few guys that bring back the memories. Keith Moreland of my Cubs and Jack Clark of the rival Cardinals were grouped together, and Joe Carter is no slouch. Gary Gaetti's mustache and long hair are classic!
The second section had a Willie Mays "Turn Back the Clock" card! I remember pulling this card as a kid and was absolutely thrilled that I pulled a superstar. Mays was my dad's favorite player, and the fact that is was a relatively worthless subset didn't matter. I had my very own Willie Mays.
The final section brought our first "current" superstar…..Pete Rose. The manager card unlike all other manager cards due to the fact he was still actively playing!
Opening these packs brought back great memories of opening these as a kid. It's cool to see pack fresh cards from this set with bright color and crisp corners. Maybe I'll have to go and see if they have any more at the shop!
Read why this set means so much to me in Thad Bosley, My Grandma and a Cello Pack!