PWE Playhouse: A Shoebox From 1982

An off-handed comment during a prior post got me a padded envelope full… or nearly full, as you’ll see… of 1982 Topps. The envelope came from Shane of Shoebox Legends, and the reason for it was because I made a comment along the lines of “I should finish that 1982 set someday”.

I have a soft spot for 1982 because I viewed it as something of a return to form for Topps after the “Meh Trilogy” that was 1979 to 1981.  The fact that I never completed 1982 had more to do with my being 17 years old than with the set itself.  There were other things distracting my attention (even if I was too shy and lacking in self-esteem to generally talk to one particular category of distraction).

Anyway, Shane sent a team-set-sized bag full of 82T, plus two other cards for “protection”.  I won’t feature them all, but here’s a selection of my favorites.

…Well, OK, this isn’t exactly a favorite in that it’s not a great picture of Pete Rose, but Charlie Hustle had a base card, a “1981 Highlight” card, a Phillies Batting/Pitching Leaders card, and this card.  They can’t all be winners.

Phil Niekro wearing an early 1980’s Braves uniform.  At the time I didn’t care much for these unis, but now… Eh, who am I kidding, they’re still not great. They’re not bad, but the current ones are much nicer.

Expo Alert!  Ray Burris went 7-13 for the 1980 Mets, but let’s be fair:  The 1980 Mets sucked.  If you’re wondering about his signature, yes, his first name is Bertram, and yes, his middle name really is just “Ray”.

Speaking of Mets, here’s one of my favorite all-time Mets.  I’m certainly happy to add this one to my Mets binders.

Don’t tell Night Owl, but I really didn’t like Steve Garvey when he was an active player… Mostly because he played for the Dodgers and even 20+ years after they left Brooklyn, the Long Island air was full of disdain for the Dodgers.  It couldn’t help but rub off on impressionable youth such as myself.

Andre Dawson!  It’s terrible to say, but I still think about that commercial where they pull him out of the Wrigley Field ivy and Dawson asks what year it is.  I can’t remember what the commercial was for, but does that matter?  Not really.

When he was a Mets rookie, Benny Ayala hit a homer in his first Major League AB, a solo shot off the Astros Tom Griffin on 8/27/74.  Benny would hit a total of 38 dingers over his 10-year career.

If you’ve ever seen the show Robot Chicken, the closing credits feature a song sung by “chickens” and ends with a long “Buuuuuuuck”.  I say that every time I see Buuuuuuck Martinez.

…Because “Chris Chambliss In Action” sounds better than “Chris Chambliss waiting for a pitch”.

…or “George Brett getting ready to catch anything hit his way”.

The Astros current uniforms are overly generic.  We need rainbows!

J.R. Richard had already pitched his last MLB game when this card came out, all because of a stroke he suffered in 1980.

That wraps up the 1982 cards…and now for the mega-ironic twist to this PWE… the 1982 cards were protected on either end by 2017 cards!  Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

Gabriel Ynoa pitched 10 games for the Mets last year, but he was sold to the Orioles in February (which is just fine with me since I like the O’s as well).  He’s currently in AAA Norfolk, but given the way the Mets’ pitching staff has fallen apart this year, they might be regretting that sale tiny bit.

Curtis Granderson is struggling this season, and once Yoenis Cespedes comes off the DL, he’s going to be the odd man out… Although I’m sure that Terry Collins will work him in on a regular basis (if only because he’s an expensive benchwarmer otherwise).

Thank you so much, Shane! I apologize for being slow on the restitution, but it’s been a bit crazy at work lately (and I know you can sympathize). I’ve got a long holiday weekend coming up to get some PWE’s ready.

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6 thoughts on “PWE Playhouse: A Shoebox From 1982

  1. Glad you enjoyed and yes, it’s been the same on my end so no worries. In fact, I’ve had another stack of ’82s ready to ship you and just haven’t found the time. Soon!

  2. Gabriel Ynoa would have to be an improvement over Ubaldo Jimenez in the O’s rotation. Hell I’d be an improvement over Ubaldo Jimenez in the O’s rotation. I can still get my knuckleball dancing.

    I love Benny Ayala. He was clutch in ’83

  3. ’82 was an interesting set. It was so full of potential yet it was always lacking something for me. I liked that topps had multiple cards for players including the All-Star and In-Action sets to compete with Donruss and Fleer. However some of the color combos (note: Reds=Blue and Brown) were a little out there. And the In-Action set was short on visual excitement compared to the 1972 version. I know folks aren’t fond of 79-81 but I have to include this set in that group also. In fact I prefer 1980 and 1981 to this one. The picture quality of many cards is dull and full of the blue, aqua or grey background washout of that era. On a high note it does have the Cal Ripken rookie and cards for young budding stars like Rickey Henderson, Ozzie Smith and Harold Baines.

  4. I agree with what Tony says above. And, despite the positives he mentions, I never liked the 81 OR 82 as much as 78, 79 and 80 because of the blurry, washed out, (even for Topps),photo quality. They did make a nice comeback in ’83. The cards you posted are a good example of this. Anyway, it must be a treat to finally make progress on a 35 year old set!

    • Agreed. To me 78 and 80 seemed brighter because of the white borders and colorful schemes. On some level the 81 set looks kid-like with the hat icons but I liked the bright colored frames. 79 is OK but many dark, grainy photos and the dreaded topps logo on the fronts hurt the appeal. And 83 is probably my top three favorite set due to design, colors, player content and the Super Veteran subset.

      Congrats on progress… I recently completed the 1982 and 1983 Sticker Albums with the help of ebay. It does feel good to put these ghosts of our past to rest, lol…

  5. The Dawson commercial was for State Farm. They did one with Arrieta, too. “Jake from State Farm.” It was obvious. I know the Astros rainbow unis aren’t “classic” looking but I still like them.

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