Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Worst Baseball Card Sets of the 1980s

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  

1985 Topps #90 Rich Gossage Front   1985 Topps #100 George Brett Front

1985 Topps #85 Mike Marshall Back

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
1980 Topps #17 Bruce Sutter Front   1980 Topps #40 Carlton Fisk Front

1980 Topps #70 Gary Carter Front    1980 Topps #140 Rich Gossage Front

1980 Topps #80 Ron LeFlore Back

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      

1982 Topps #80 Jim Palmer Front   
1982 Topps #82 Bob Welch Back

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        
1981 Fleer #57 Nolan Ryan Front   1981 Fleer #91 Gaylord Perry Front

1981 Fleer #112 Don Sutton Front   1981 Fleer #142 Gary Carter Front

1981 Fleer #81 Tommy John Back

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
1989 Bowman #9 Cal Ripken Front   1989 Bowman #19 Lee Smith Front

1989 Bowman #41 Bert Blyleven Front   1989 Bowman #62 Carlton Fisk Front

1989 Bowman #89 Cory Snyder Back

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. 


  1. I feel like a lot of bloggers really like '80 and '82 Topps (not me though), hopefully you won't receive too much negative feedback for speaking ill of their favorites.

    1. Well, I'm going strictly by the cards. So the rookie checklist and other things are irrelevant. But yeah - I don't think like other card bloggers do. Ha.

  2. Lol. I actually like all 5 of these sets. 4 out of 5 made my Top 10 sets of the 80's. The only one that didn't was the 1989 Bowman... but I still really like that set.

    1. Ha. The fake autos really bother me, in case I haven't made that clear.

      '85 Topps is only on here because I needed a fifth set. It's closer to the middle (16th or 17th) in quality than it is to the worst.

      We'll just have to disagree on the other two.

  3. Yes on 1989 Bowman. They're also slightly larger than typical cards (for no reason) and therefore a tight squeeze in various protection sleeves, boxes etc.