1980’s “Desert Island” Binder: Part 11, Just Mind Your Ass When The Buck Gets Passed

I didn’t mean for so much time to pass between 1980’s Desert Island posts, but I also didn’t want to phone it in when I wasn’t feeling it.

Since it’s been a couple of months since I did one of these, I’ll recap the premise: I’m fleeing to an uncharted desert island to evade the reach of The Powers That Be, those who wish to silence me because I know THE TRUTH about Big Oil suppressing a technological breakthrough which could power an entire city using the energy contained in a small bag of circus peanuts.

All I’m able to bring with me to the desert island is the bare essentials plus one binder worth of 1980’s baseball cards.

So let’s get back to it, shall we?

When I was going through my 1987 Fleer Update cards, I ran across this one and tried to remember what the deal was… why does the card show Kevin Mitchell with the Padres *and* the Giants?  Well…


The “regular” 1987 Kevin Mitchell card by Fleer (and Topps and Donruss…) shows him with the Mets.

In December 1986, Mitchell was part of an eight-player trade that brought Kevin McReynolds to Queens. However, Mitchell only played a couple of months for the Padres before he was sent to San Francisco in a seven-player trade that also saw Dave Dravecky and Craig Lefferts going to the Giants and Mark Davis, Mark Grant and two others heading to San Diego.

It’s pretty cool that Fleer did the Update card like this, because there aren’t many cards which show Mitchell with the Padres. After three minutes of research, all I could find was a 1987 Sportflics “Team Preview” card, a 1987 Donruss Opening Day card and two cards from the 1989 Star Kevin Mitchell set.


This 1980 Topps “Super” card of Nolan Ryan was my first clue that the Topps airbrush artists worked in something akin to “actual size” when they worked their craft.

You can tell it’s airbrushing because the colors are a bit off, but look at it… It’s light years ahead of some of the crappy jobs done before and after. They even painted the seams on his cap.  That, my friends, is an airbrush artist flexing his or her muscles.


An excellent action shot makes this 1988 Topps Big Baseball card of Shawon Dunston… I like it despite the cameo by Juan Samuel (the 1980’s Mets equivalent of Robinson Cano).

I’d like to see Topps give another try to something like Big Baseball, but maybe without the designs which were dated a week after they came out.


Somebody somewhere… on the blogs, on Twitter, someplace I can’t recall… named this 1980 Topps Gorman Thomas as one of the best cards of the 1980’s.

Well, who am I to argue with… um… somebody.  Into the binder it goes.


I like Jim Abbott and I semi-collect him – I don’t always seek out his cards, but I gladly hang on to any new cards of his which come my way.  I was going to feature this card anyway, but since this Draft Pick card shows him in his University of Michigan uniform, and Michigan recently made it into the College World Series finals, I figured I’d share it now.

A couple of friends in my bowling league are Michigan alums and were very excited about the Wolverines’ progress in the CWS.  I better understood their excitement when I learned that the last time the Wolverines were in the CWS, their shortstop was a kid named Barry Larkin.  That was 1984, and Jim Abbott started playing for Michigan in 1985.  Anyway, I was rooting for Michigan and was disappointed that they lost the best-of-three final to Vanderbilt, but that team certainly can hold their heads up high this summer.


With the All-Star Game coming up next week, I have a small request of the photographers covering it –  can someone get some posed photos like this so that Topps can buy it and use it as a combo card or something?

As you can tell from the slight gap in the middle, this is actually two cards from 1984 Fleer.  As much fun as it is to have a photo split across cards like this, I’d be happy with a nice posed photo on a single card.

Hey, Topps, here’s an idea… Let the players pass around someone’s phone and have a selfie subset.  …Or maybe that’s too complicated when it comes time to pay the photographer.


I’m a sucker for the “guy hanging around the batting cage” shot.


Back in 1984, I didn’t like that year’s Donruss set.

There, I’ve gotten that out of the way…. And to be fair, there wasn’t a lot of 1984 Donruss in the stores I frequented, so it wasn’t really an issue.  I have a lot more appreciation for it now than I did then; partly because it’s relatively rare by early-to-mid 1980’s standards, but also because I realized that the design is very nice but unforgiving. I’ve come to put 1984 Donruss in the same category of 1957 Topps. When it doesn’t work, it’s a mess, but when it *does* work…. Like with this Steve Henderson card…

HOOOOOOOO, BABY!


And now it’s time for the quick summary of where the fictional binder stands…

I’m adding seven standard-sized cards, one eight-pocket sized and one two-pocket sized, which brings the totals to…
Nine-pocket (standard sized): 8 sheets (70 cards)
Eight-pocket (1950’s sized): 1 sheet (3 cards)
Four-pocket (postcard sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Two-pocket (5″ x 7″): 1 sheet (2 cards)


This post’s 1980’s playlist song is “As A Matter Of Fact” by General Public, which was a band that came out of the split of The English Beat. I found out just a few years ago that The English Beat is called “The English Beat” only in the US and Canada; in the UK, they’re just “The Beat”. Anyway, I really liked General Public’s 1984 Album “All The Rage” and listened to it quite a bit.

3 thoughts on “1980’s “Desert Island” Binder: Part 11, Just Mind Your Ass When The Buck Gets Passed

  1. You know what would be fun? An All-Star combo pic of Orioles’ John Means and Trey Manci……nevermind, dammit.

  2. I absolutely love the Topps Big sets from 88, 89, and 90. The action shot/portrait combination is right up my alley. I’m one series away from having the entire run of sets displayed in a binder.

  3. That ’89 Topps Abbott was one of my first baseball cards. I think I found it in a box of other ’89 Topps at a garage sale as a young lad, and I was (and still am) fascinated by a college uniform appearing on a mainstream Topps card.

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