Saturday, December 2, 2023

My least favorite sets from the 1980s

Still reveling in my Texas Rangers FINALLY winning a World Series! Such a long time in coming, that its really hard to move on from it. Can't tell you the number of times that I've watched replays on YouTube. 

However, that is for another post. This one is about my 3 least favorite sets from the 1980s. 

 I'm not a negative person. I'm definitely a "the glass is half full" kind of person. I get that from my faith in God and my parents. I tell you that so you know that this post about my least favorite sets from the 1980s is not supposed to be a big negative thing. I mean, it's baseball cards, so how can that be bad, right? 

Once again, this is not going to be a deep dive into the sets. As a matter of fact, I'm going to include all three of the sets in this one post. These aren't in any order, just my least favorites from the decade. The biggest thing for me on these sets has absolutely nothing to do with the number of rookie cards or the over abundance of cards printed. These are just my least favorite designs of the cards from the '80s. 

Leading off the list of my least favorite Topps sets from the '80s is the 1981 set. 

1981 is the year I got into card collecting. I opened a ton Topps, Fleer and Donruss packs that year. A failed attempt at making a quick buck on Fleer error cards, a whole bunch of Donruss packs (I cannot for the life of me remember why!) and lots of Topps, chasing the Fernando Valenzuela and Tim Raines rookie cards. 


There are 726 cards in the set with 79 of those rookies. The other sought after rookie cards from the set are the Hall of Famer Harold Baines and Kirk Gibson. 


Back in '81, I didn't mind the design of the card, but the more time that has passed, the hat on the left bottom corner just doesn't work for me anymore. I don't think I'm a fan of all of the information on the front being at the bottom of the card either. I do like the way Topps chose to designate the All-Stars and there are some really good close up pictures of the players.  


This isn't a terrible set, just not one of my favorites. Could be part of the reason I still haven't completed the set yet.

Next up on the least favorite Topps set from the 1980s is the 1982 set.

The 1982 set was the first set that expanded to 792 cards. There are 62 rookie cards with 26 of those being the Future Stars team cards shared by three players. The most famous and sought after being card #21, Orioles Future Stars with Cal Ripken Jr. 

Who doesn't love Cal Ripken? Okay, I'm sure there's people out there that don't, but I sure don't know any. That card is almost the reason, all by itself, to not have the '82 set on my least favorite sets, but I'm sorry, I just don't like the double hockey stick design of the cards. I definitely didn't coin that phrase, but once I heard it, it fit. I think Topps was trying to be modern and in the '80s I guess that would qualify, but it doesn't work for me. 


There are some decent action shots in the set and I kind of like the facsimile autographs on the cards, but I keep finding myself drawn to strange colored hockey sticks on the side. Plus, I think the Topps logo on the front is kind of big.

The last of the least favorite Topps sets from the '80s falls to the 1987 set.

The '87 set is made up of 792 cards and is probably the most over-produced set out there, but that's got nothing to do with why it is one of my least favorites sets. It's all got to do with the wood grain border. 


This is 25 years after the 1962 set that had the wood grain borders. Like that set, the borders vary a bit in color and I guess its my OCD kicking in, but it drives me nuts! I do know this, it is real easy to identify the '62 and the '87 sets. That being said, There are some nice cards in the set.


 The Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin and Rafael Palmeiro rookie cards are from this set. My first born son was born in 1987 and I decided before the cards even came out that I would collect him a set from his birth year. I was really disappointed in the wood grain design, but I still bought them and  have that complete set for him. I don't have one for myself though, so I've got to finish that one. 

That's it for my least favorite sets from the 1980s. Like I said before, this can't be a big negative post because, its baseball cards and how can baseball cards be negative? Leave me a comment and let me know what your least favorite sets from the 1980s are!

Isaiah 40:31


  1. No issues from me. I don't think I'd put 1981 in the bottom 3 but it's also never been a favorite. 1987 is the darling of the online collecting world but it's never done anything for me. And 1982 is just OK. The hazy photos don't help.

  2. The green backs on the 1985 cards were always kind of weird to me. I don't really have any that I really don't like. Positivity, faith in God and the card hobby is a great combination.

  3. I seem to be one of the few who enjoys '81 Topps - probably my favorite set of the '80s, in fact. I'm with you on '82 though, I've never been too fond of it.

  4. All of those are better than the early Fleer and Donruss.

  5. 1981 Topps and 1987 Topps are two of my favorite 80's sets, so safe to say my list would look quite different!

  6. I was expecting to see a lot more me people riled up in the comments. I can't say that any of these sets do anything for me. The only one that I ever collected was '87, but I was young... and didn't know any better :)

  7. I wrote a post about my Top 10 favorite 80's sets... and the 82T came in at #10 and the 87T was #2. Different strokes for different folks though. Don't think I've ever dedicated a post about my bottom three... but I'm pretty sure 88T and 81D would be in the running. I'd have to do more research before making a commitment though.


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