Sunday, September 18, 2011

1980 Topps Phillies

1980 Topps #270, #540, #380 and #495
This is the year it all came together.  This is the year we as Phillies fans would remember fondly during the dark ages spanning from 1984 until 2006, with a small respite in 1993.  Each player who donned a Phillies uniform in 1980 will forever be fondly remembered as Champions.

I had just turned seven when the 1980 postseason began, and the games were on much too late for me to stay up and watch.  However, I remember the sounds of my parents watching the games on TV - cheering home runs, yelling at missed opportunities, clapping at the end of each gut-wrenching inning - all while laying in bed on 12th Street, thinking to myself, "How come they're getting so worked up over a baseball game?"  I completely get it now.

1980 Topps #270 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  There are 726 cards in a complete set, for the third year in a row.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  It may seem strange, but when I think of the Phillies who won the World Series in 1980, I think of the 1981 Topps set, and not the 1980 Topps set.  The 1981 Topps set came out after the glorious season, and those were the cards we wanted at the time.  Also, I had the 1980 Burger King Phillies cards way before I had the actual 1980 Topps Phillies cards in my collection.
Notable competition:  This was the final year of the Topps Company's 25-year competition-free, baseball card monopoly.  Donruss and Fleer would enter the fray in 1981.

1980 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies finished first in the East with a 91-71 record, just one game ahead of the Expos.  They defeated the Astros in a grueling N.L.C.S., in what by some is considered the best league championship series ever.  On October 21, 1980, at 11:29 pm, Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson of the Royals, and the Phillies won the first World Championship in the history of the franchise.
Key players:  Mike Schmidt won his first MVP, hitting .286 with 48 home runs and 121 RBIs.  Steve Carlton won his third Cy Young Award, going 24-9 with a 2.34 ERA with 286 strikeouts.  No other members of the starting line-ups had great years at the plate, with the exception of Bake McBride (.309, 87 RBIs) and Manny Trillo (.292).  Rookies Lonnie Smith (.339, 33 stolen bases) and Keith Moreland (.314) provided some much needed life for the offense.  Dick Ruthven (17-10) was amazing behind Carlton in the rotation and McGraw (20 saves, 1.46 ERA) enjoyed one of his finest seasons.  Rookie Marty Bystrom made his first start of the season on September 10th, and he'd finish the month at 5-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
Key events:  It's hard to boil down the events of the 1980 season to just a few "key" sentences, but the one event that still stands out in my mind, second only to McGraw's strikeout of Wilson, is the 2-3 foul pop-out by Frank White, resulting in the second out in the ninth inning of Game 6.  Dick Allen Hall of Fame chose to use the catch as the photo for Bob Boone's 1981 Custom Redux card.

1980 Topps #470, #90, #630 and #120
1980 Phillies in 1980 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 28 cards needed for a complete team set.  There are a total of 786 Topps Phillies cards between 1951 and 1980.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#470 Bob Boone (c), #540 Pete Rose (1b), #90 Manny Trillo (2b), #630 Larry Bowa (ss), #270 Mike Schmidt (3b), #120 Greg Luzinski (lf), #380 Garry Maddox (cf), #495 Bake McBride (rf)
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 4 cards
#210 Steve Carlton, #136 Dick Ruthven, #344 Randy Lerch, #161 Larry Christenson

1980 Topps #210, #136, #344 and #161
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1980 - 7 cards
#27 Del Unser, #52 Warren Brusstar, #178 Tim McCarver, #447 Nino Espinosa, #609 Ron Reed, #655 Tug McGraw, #718 Greg Gross
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player "Future Stars" cards - 1 card
#682 Ramon Aviles, Dickie Noles and Kevin Saucier
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1980 - 5 cards
#296 Dave Rader, #317 Mike Anderson, #421 Doug Bird, #566 Bud Harrelson, #692 Rawley Eastwick
  • Phillies appearing on 1979 Highlights cards - 2 cards, #4 Pete Rose and #6 Del Unser
  • Team card with manager - 1 card, #526 with Dallas Green
1980 Topps #655, #27, #718 and 1980 Burger King Phillies #14
Who’s out:  There are four players who didn't appear in the Topps set, but they received cards in the 1980 Burger King Phillies set - Smith, Moreland, John Vukovich and Saucier.  (Saucier's in the Topps set, but he's on the Future Stars card.)  Players completely omitted from both sets - outfielder George Vukovich (78 games), pitcher Bob Walk (11-7, 4.57 ERA in 27 starts), starting pitcher Bystrom and reliever Dan Larson (12 games, 7 games started).
Phillies on other teams:  Relievers Lerrin LaGrow (#624 with the Dodgers) and Sparky Lyle (#115 with the Rangers) played with the Phillies in 1980 and they're in the 1980 Topps set with other teams.
What’s he doing here:  It's hard to argue with any of the players featured with the Phillies who didn't actually see time with the club in 1980.  All five were active members of the 1979 squad.
1980 Burger King
Phillies #1
Cards that never were candidates:  Walk, Bystrom, George Vukovich and a "rookie" card of my all-time favorite player - Bob Dernier, who made his Major League debut on September 7, 1980.
Favorite Phillies card:  Without a doubt, it's Schmitty's card.

Other Stuff
Recycled:  I used the 1980 Topps design for my 2009 Chachi set.  Reprints of McCarver's and Schmidt's card can be found in the 2001 and 2002 Topps Archives sets, respectively.  Topps used their 1980 design but different pictures for the cards of Schmidt and McBride in their 2003 and 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites sets.
Blogs/Websites:  Check out the 1980 Topps blog - one of my favorite set specific blogs out there.
Did You Know?:  If you happen to have the 1980 Phillies Yearbook, turn to page six and you'll see a series of candid shots of Phillies fans labelled "The Vet Experience."  I'm the kid in the circle on the bottom left and that picture was taken at my very first Phillies game back in the summer of 1979.  I use that picture as my profile picture in Blogger, and one of these days I'll write a post about that game and how I ended up in the 1980 Phillies Yearbook.  It wouldn't have happened if not for my Dad.


Jim from Downingtown said...

when I think of the Phillies who won the World Series in 1980, I think of the 1981 Topps set, and not the 1980 Topps set.

Same here, Jim. I stopped collecting cards after 1972, and didn't collect anything until getting all the Burger King Phillies cards in '79 and '80.

After the Phillies won, that got me going again, and I restarted by getting the '81 Topps and Fleer factory sets. Those green-bordered, red-capped '81 Topps Philles cards featured all the players from the World Champs (unlike the '80 set).

I'm looking forward to your '81 review next Sunday!

Anonymous said...

For me, the most memorable card that year is the national Burger King Pitch/Hit/Run Steve Carlton (#2) with the red ink on the back. Otherwise, it's nearly identical to the regular Topps and Burger King Phillies card, but somehow that red back always stuck out in my mind and made the card special.

Jim said...

Jim - All the '81 Phillies cards were held in high regard among my collecting friends because they featured the Champs. It's amazing how quickly Phillies cards fell out of favor with my group of friends. By the mid-'80s, everyone else was collecting Mets cards and I was sticking with the Phillies.

14k - I didn't see the two Phillies Pitch/Hit/Run cards until much later, but I agree with you - the red ink on the back made those cards pretty cool.