So I checked out the 32 major release sets of the decade. Instead of boring people with analysis of every set, I'll just talk about the worst ones here and the best ones in a future post. Base cards only.
28. 1985 Topps
The redundancy on the front. The typical unattractive Topps back. The photos aren't bad - at least they're doing baseball things. So it's a bad set, but not the worst.
29. 1980 Topps
The infamous fake auto makes an appearance. Some action shots. Boring borders, though the labeling is a bit more interesting. The usual unattractive back, but with a cartoon.
30. 1982 Topps
It might not be clear from this sampling, but I think the photos are weaker in this set than in 1980 Topps. Even the In Action cards are a bit lacking in ... action. The fake auto returns after taking a break in 1981. The trivia on the back is about other players. But I kind of like the hockey sticks and the In Action cards don't have the fake autos.
31. 1981 Fleer
Weird that Tommy John missed an entire season when he was an established veteran. Was there a major injury that required surgery? Anyway ...
So many boring photos in this set. Team name spelled out inside a baseball doesn't help. The glaring error on every pitcher card is another demerit. Points for readability, so it avoids the ultimate shame.
32. 1989 Bowman
Fake auto? Check.
Boring photos? Check.
Lack of info on the front? Check.
Weird back? Check.
So that's that. Next time I'll look at the best 1980s baseball card sets.