Sunday, November 6, 2011

1984 Topps Phillies

1984 Topps #700, #484, 1984 Topps Traded #105T and 1984 Topps #587
One of the common criticisms of the 1984 Topps set is that it's just another version of the prior year's set, but with more angles.  I often wonder how the set would have been received had it been released before the '83 set.  It's got the cool vertical team name going for it, and I love that Topps included the team logo on the back of the cards.  Maybe I've been too harsh on the 1984 Topps set all these years?

1984 Topps #587 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  For the third straight year, it's a 792-card regular set, plus a 132-card traded set.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  As I was getting everything together for this post, I realized there may be a more subliminal reason I've never been terribly fond of the 1984 Topps set.  As noted below, there are 51 cards in the set (regular and traded) featuring Phillies.  However, 15 of those cards featured players who had moved on to other teams by the time the '84 season started.  So whenever I found a new Pete Rose or a Gary Matthews or a Ron Reed card in a pack of 1984 Topps, it wasn't as exciting for me since those guys were now with other teams.
Notable competition:  I have a boat-load of doubles from the 1984 Donruss, Fleer and Topps sets.  While it may shock some hobby enthusiasts, I never really cared for the 1984 Donruss set, even though I hand-collated a complete set back in the day.  Shortly after its release, our local baseball card dealer (the Card Doctor) couldn't sell his inventory of 1984 Donruss wax boxes.  My Dad bought a box on the cheap, right before the set started taking off.  The Don Mattingly rookie card from the Donruss set was probably the first card I ever owned that I rarely handled as it was stored safely in a plastic screw-down holder.  Also, 1984 was a key collecting year for me, as it was the year my subscription to Baseball Cards magazine began and I started tracking the "book value" of my collection.  Ah, youth.

1984 Phillies
Record and finish:  And so begins the long and tortuous road of mediocre to downright bad Phillies teams from 1984 until 2006, which a slight respite in 1993.  The Phillies finished at an even 81-81 in 1984, 15 1/2 games behind the former-Phillies heavy Cubs.
Key players:  Mike Schmidt turned in another fine year, batting .277 with 36 home runs and 106 RBIs.  Youngsters Ozzie Virgil (.261, 18 home runs, 68 RBIs) and Juan Samuel (.272, 15 home runs, 69 RBIs, 72 stolen bases) also enjoyed fine years at the plate.  Rookie Jeff Stone hit .362 following his June call-up and bench guys Tim Corcoran (.341) and Greg Gross (.322) had terrific years.  Veteran Jerry Koosman led the staff with 15 wins, followed by an aging Steve Carlton (13 wins) and Shane Rawley (10 wins) who was acquired in a late-June trade.  Closer Al Holland had another solid year, saving 29 games.
Key events:  In March, in the middle of Spring Training, the Phillies pulled off two miserable deals.  First, reliever Willie Hernandez was shipped to the Tigers for Glenn Wilson and John Wockenfuss.  Hernandez would go on to win the American League Cy Young and MVP for the World Champion Tigers.  A few days later, Porfi Altamirano, Sarge Matthews and (my personal favorite) Bob Dernier were sent to the Cubs for Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz.  This trade explains why most pictures of me from the summer of 1984 feature yours truly wearing a Cubs hat.  Schmidt joined the 400-home run club on May 15th with a shot off the Dodgers' Bob Welch.

1984 Topps #275, #279, 1984 Topps Traded #129T and 1984 Topps #185
1984 Phillies in 1984 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 46 Phillies cards in the base set and 5 cards in the traded set for a new all-time high 51 Phillies cards.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#484 Ozzie Virgil (c), #275 Len Matuszek (1b), #105T Juan Samuel (2b), #279 Ivan DeJesus (ss), #700 Mike Schmidt (3b), #129T Glenn Wilson (lf), #587 Von Hayes (cf), #185 Sixto Lezcano (lf)
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 4 cards
#780 Steve Carlton, #64T Jerry Koosman, #432 Charles Hudson, #17 John Denny

1984 Topps #780, 1984 Topps Traded #64T, 1984 Topps #432 and #17
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1984 - 11 Cards
#148 Joe Lefebvre, #332 Kevin Gross, #458 Kiko Garcia, #511 Marty Bystrom, #535 Bo Diaz, #564 Al Holland, #613 Greg Gross, #728 Tug McGraw, #755 Garry Maddox, #22T Bill Campbell, #130T John Wockenfuss
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1984 - 9 cards (with new teams listed)
#43 Ron Reed (White Sox), #70 Gary Matthews (Cubs), #101 Porfi Altamirano (Cubs), #199 Willie Hernandez (Tigers), #210 Joe Morgan (Athletics), #252 Larry Christenson (Retired), #300 Pete Rose (Expos/Reds), #358 Bob Dernier (Cubs), #385 Tony Perez (Reds)
  • Phillies appearing on 1983 Highlight cards - 2 cards
#1 Steve Carlton, #4 Steve Carlton with Nolan Ryan (Astros) and Gaylord Perry (Royals)
  • Phillies appearing on 1983 Leaders cards - 4 cards
#132 Home Run Leaders - Mike Schmidt with Jim Rice (Red Sox), #135 Victory Leaders - John Denny with LaMarr Hoyt (White Sox), #136 Strikeout Leaders - Steve Carlton with Jack Morris (Tigers), #138 Leading Firemen - Al Holland with Dan Quisenberry (Royals)
  • Phillies appearing on National League All Star cards - 2 cards
#388 Mike Schmidt, #395 Steve Carlton
  • Phillies appearing on Active Career Leaders cards - 9 cards
#701, #702, #703, #704, #705, #706, #707, #708, #709

Featuring Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Mike Schmidt, Joe Morgan, Steve Carlton and Tug McGraw.
  • Manager card - 1 card, #229 Paul Owens
  • Batting & Pitching Leaders card - 1 card, #637 with Gary Matthews and John Denny
1984 Topps #564, #613, #755 and #254
Who’s out:  There are several 1984 Phillies reserves who didn't make it onto Topps cards - Corcoran (.341 average in 102 games), Stone (51 games, 27 stolen bases), John Russell (.283 average in 39 games) and Luis Aguayo (58 games).  Reliever Larry Andersen had a 2.38 ERA in 64 games, yet he didn't earn a Topps card.
Phillies on other teams:  Four players were in the base set with other teams, but received Phillies cards in the Traded series - #119 John Wockenfuss (Tigers), #311 Jerry Koosman (White Sox), #563 Glenn Wilson (Tigers) and #787 Bill Campbell (Cubs).  Three other players appeared with other teams, with no Phillies cards in the Traded series - #254 Shane Rawley (Yankees), #603 Renie Martin (Giants) and #620/#87T Al Oliver (Expos/Giants).
What’s he doing here:  Rose, Morgan and Christenson were all released by the Phillies in October or early November 1983.  So when we were opening packs of Topps cards in the summer of 1984, these guys had been history for over six months.
Cards that never were candidates:  There's a bunch here, given the heavy player turn-over the Phillies had following the 1983 season and even during the regular 1984 season.  Here's the list of players deserving of Phillies cards - Aguayo, Andersen, Corcoran, Oliver, Rawley, Russell and Stone.  Also, catcher Mike LaValliere made his debut with the Phillies on September 9, 1984, so a Phillies rookie card would be fitting.
Favorite Phillies card:  For the third year in a row, it's a card featured in the Traded set - Samuel's rookie card.

Other Stuff
Recycled:  Carlton's Highlight card and Hernandez' base card are reprinted in the 2001 and 2002 Topps Archives sets, respectively.
Blogs/Websites:  1984 Topps?  Anyone?  My Dad bought me the 1984 O-Pee-Chee set for my birthday the year it was released and to date, it's the only complete O-Pee-Chee set I own.  (As an aside, and as I mentioned earlier, this was a big year for me personally as a baseball card collector.  I wasn't yet fully into G.I. Joe and my interest in Star Wars was waning, so baseball cards was where it was at.  My parents - and Santa - obliged accordingly with a baseball card-heavy birthday and Christmas morning.)  The Oh My O-Pee-Chee! blog has highlighted some of the cooler variations between the 1984 Topps and O-Pee-Chee sets.   
Did You Know?:  Dave Wehrmeister appeared in 7 games with the 1984 Phillies, causing me quite a bit of ten-year-old angst.

1984 Topps #702, #703 and #707

No comments: