Sunday, November 27, 2011

1986 Topps Phillies

1986 Topps #200, #420, #736 and #475
As the Phillies continued their downward slide in 1986, I was stunned when several of my friends switched their allegiances from the Phils to other teams.  Most of these friends went on to become (gasp!) Mets fans.  Honestly, I still don't get it.  How do people just up and switch teams like that?  Sure, the Phillies of the mid to late-'80s were just plain awful, but to quickly leave behind your white and maroon for blue and orange?  The only good thing to come of this was that suddenly everyone wanted Mets cards and they were more than happy to trade away their Phillies for my Mets doubles.

I've lost touch over the years with most of my sixth grade friends, but I've wondered recently if they've since switched back to rooting for the Phillies.  The bandwagon started getting crowded again right around 2007.

1986 Topps #420 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  For the fifth year in a row, Topps included 792 cards in its base set and added another 132 to the boxed traded set.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  1986 Topps cards were everywhere then and to an extent, they still are.  I think I could open any drawer in my house today and find a few 1986 Topps cards.  I loved the half-black border when the cards first came out, although I started to get sick of the design once I needed two 800-count boxes to house my doubles.
Notable competition:  Fleer and Donruss cards were also everywhere.  I'm not sure when the "junk wax" era officially began, but solely based on the pure amount of doubles in my collection between the years 1986 and 1989, I'm going to say the era began right around 1986.  Sportflics made its debut in 1986.  In order to buy packs of Sportflics though, we had to haul it over to the 7-11 way across town.

1986 Phillies
Record and finish:  The second place finish was nice and the 86-75 record was pretty good, but the Phils still finished 21 1/2 games behind those pesky Mets.
Key players:  This would be Mike Schmidt's last MVP-caliber season.  After moving back to third base, he won the National League MVP for the third and final time while hitting 37 home runs and driving in 119 with a .290 average.  Von Hayes took over at first and contributed 19 home runs, 98 RBIs and a .305 average in what was probably his finest season.  Juan Samuel (.266, 16 home runs, 78 RBIs, 42 stolen bases) and Glenn Wilson (.271, 15 home runs, 84 RBIs) also enjoyed fine years at the plate.  Rookie Bruce Ruffin was tasked with replacing a future Hall of Famer in the rotation, after Steve Carlton was released.  The future looked bright for the young Texan, as Ruffin compiled a 9-4 record in 21 starts with a 2.46 ERA.  The newly acquired Steve Bedrosian saved 29 games while Kent Tekulve appeared in 73 games as a solid set-up reliever.
Key events:  In mid-December 1985, the Phils traded Ozzie Virgil to the Braves for Bedrosian and Milt Thompson and then dealt John Denny to the Reds a day later for Tom Hume and Gary Redus.  Garry Maddox retired in May and Carlton was released in June, truly signaling the end of an era.  

1986 Topps #392, #453, 1986 Topps Traded #90T and #112T
1986 Phillies in 1986 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 32 Phillies cards in the regular set (same as 1985), but only 4 Phillies cards in the traded series, for a total of 36 cards.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#392 John Russell (c), #420 Von Hayes (1b), #475 Juan Samuel (2b), #453 Steve Jeltz (ss), #200 Mike Schmidt (3b), #90T Gary Redus (lf), #112T Milt Thompson (cf), #736 Glenn Wilson (rf)
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 4 cards
#764 Kevin Gross, #361 Shane Rawley, #792 Charles Hudson, #120 Steve Carlton

Ruffin would have to wait for the 1987 Topps set for his first Topps card, although he appeared in the 1986 Sportflics Rookies set.

1986 Topps #764, #361, #792 and #120
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 1986 - 14 cards
#16 Rick Schu, #39 Dave Rucker, #69 Luis Aguayo, #183 Larry Andersen, #264 Darren Daulton, #302 Greg Gross, #326 Kent Tekulve, #466 Tom Foley, #532 Don Carman, #585 Garry Maddox, #686 Jeff Stone, #689 Dave Stewart, #7T Steve Bedrosian, #47T Tom Hume
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1986 - 6 cards (with new teams listed)
#95 Ozzie Virgil (Braves), #158 Derrel Thomas (Retired), #418 Alan Knicely (Cardinals), #505 Jerry Koosman (Retired), #556 John Denny (Reds), #664 Tim Corcoran (Mets)
  • Phillies cards within The Pete Rose Years subset - 2 cards, #6 and #7
Charlie Hustle's 1980, 1981 and 1982 Topps cards are featured on card #6 and his 1983 and 1984 Topps cards are on card #7.
  • Phillies Leaders card - 1 card, #246
Carlton is pictured as the Dean of the Phillies on this card for his continuous service with the team since his acquisition from the Cardinals back in February 1972.  This would be a cool subset for Topps to resurrect.
1986 Topps #686, #16, 1986 Topps Traded #7T and 1986 Topps #326
Who’s out:  The big oversight is Ruffin, but Topps can probably be forgiven for not including the rookie in its traded set.  Ruffin came out of nowhere in '86, never having pitched above Double-A before his call-up in late June.  Ron Roenicke appeared in 102 games with the Phillies and while he merited a Phillies card in Fleer's Update set, Topps left him out of its traded set.  Catcher Ronn Reynolds (43 games) and pitchers Mike Maddux (16 starts, 3-7 record) and Dan Schatzeder (25 games, 1 save) should have also merited some consideration for inclusion within the Topps Traded set.
1986 Topps #63
Phillies on other teams:  There are eight cards in the 1986 Topps set featuring members of the 1986 Phillies squad on different teams.  First, the four players who ended up as Phillies in the traded set - #342 Gary Redus (Reds), #517 Milt Thompson (Braves), #573 Tom Hume (Reds), #648 Steve Bedrosian (Braves).  And the four players who didn't make it - #63 Ron Roenicke (Giants), #324 Dan Schatzeder (Expos), #414 Tom Gorman (Mets), #649 Ronn Reynolds (Mets).
What’s he doing here:  Thomas was granted free agency back in mid-November 1985, but he still had a card in the base Topps set.
Cards that never were candidates:  Ruffin, Roenicke, Reynolds, Maddux and Schatzeder should have cards, as should one of my personal favorites - Greg Legg.  Legg appeared in 11 games for the Phillies in 1986, going 9 for 20.  He's a life-long Phillie who is still in the organization today.  In 2011, he completed his 30th season within the organization as he served as a coach for the Single-A Lakewood BlueClaws.  He'll be back for his 31st season in 2012.
1986 Topps #246
Favorite Phillies card:  Wilson looks super mid-'80s suave with his stubble and shades, but I loved Kevin Gross' card as a kid.  I remember the Phillies had a flip-up sunglasses give-away day at The Vet, and I made sure my Dad got us tickets so that I could emulate Kevin Gross.  Ah, youth.

Other Stuff
Recycled:  Schmidt's card appears as a reprint in the 2010 Cards Your Mother Threw Out insert set.
Blogs/Websites:  The 1986 Topps Blog launched in March and it's been fun so far to follow along.  As much as I saw these cards when I was younger, I had forgotten there are some truly great cards within the set.  
Did You Know?:  49-year-old Jamie Moyer, who hopes to latch on with a team this spring and pitch in the Majors this season, made his Major League debut back on June 16, 1986 against the Phillies.  He earned the victory against Steve Carlton in what would be Lefty's penultimate appearance with the franchise.


Anonymous said...

I have to politely disagree about '86 being Schmidt's last great season. What about '87? He hit .293, with 35 homers and 113 RBIs. And he did that in 13 fewer games.

Jim said...

Agreed and updated. : )

Steve F. said...

As your friend at the oh my o-pee-chee! blog illustrated, the 1986 OPC card of Steve Bedrosian, with the Phillies name on top, could pass for a Phillies card, what with his blue jacket an lack of any Braves clothing on:

So in my set it does--it's the 37th card of the team set! (It does necessitate that I use an extra 9-pocket sheet, though.)