Just the Facts:
Base Set: 792 Cards
Inserts: Glossy All-Stars, Glossy Send ins
Key Rookies: Don Mattingly (#8), Darryl Strawberry (#182)
1984 marked the 34th season of Topps baseball cards. It was also the second straight year of using two photos on the front of the card, which like 1983, was nod to the 1963 design. The main photo is surrounded by a white border, and a smaller head shot is included in the lower left corner. Topps tried something new by inserting the team name vertically along the left side of the card. Most of the time this color was related to the team’s actual colors, but the purples and pinks of the Yankees and Astros are a couple examples that make you scratch your head. The vertical, colorful, bubble font is the signature aspect of this set in my mind.
The card backs are clean and show the traditional career stats, player bio, an interesting fact, and the team logo.
There are several subsets in this release of which the All-Stars are my favorite. They scrapped the second head shot photo for one with a special All-Star banner in the corner. Highlights, League Leaders, Active Career Leaders, and Team Leaders are the other subsets which can be found in the release.
As far as inserts, you really only have two to choose from. A 22 card Glossy All-Stars set was included in rack packs, and there was also a Glossy Send In set which was a mail order redemption set.
This set was released two seasons before my entry into the collecting world in 1986, but I was thrilled when a neighbor sold me a wax box stuffed full of them for $3. The White Sox, Mattingly, and Strawberry rookies had already been pulled out, but I was fine with that as it was the Cubs that I was after anyway. Getting a handful of second year Sandberg cards was like hitting the jackpot! My Grandma had exposed me to the excitement this 1984 team created for Cubs fans, so I was eager to learn everything I could about this team.
The set also includes second year cards of Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs to go along with a ton of notable veterans. Robin Yount, Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr, George Brett and Mike Schmidt are a few of the players that drove collectors to put down their Ataris and head down to the grocery store to buy a few packs. Today, those same players keep the collectibility of this set strong.
But does it Hold Up?
As of January 2018, complete sets can be found on Amazon and Ebay for around $40 shipped, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. Unopened wax boxes will run around $60-100 depending on the source. That seems a bit high when the Mattingly RC can be found for about $5 as the most expensive single in the set.
I think the unique design combined with a ton of stars from the 70’s and 80s make this set highly collectible. It is an affordable way to collect some current and future hall of famers.
What do you think? Leave a comment to share your thoughts on this set!
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