This was the Philadelphia Phillies hangover season, having won the 1980 World Series. If you are a Phillies collector, 1981 was a good year as there were plenty of extra Phillie cards in all three of the regular sets. Topps had record breaker cards for Mike Schmidt and Pete Rose, plus there were 3 cards noting the Phillies 1980 post season. Fleer had many of the Phillies on second cards, such as Tug McGraw-Game Saver, and a Triple Threat card with Rose, Larry Bowa, and Schmidt. Donruss also had multiple cards of the big stars on the Phillies in 1980. I have all of these variations listed under 1981-Miscellaneous Cards.
As most teams seem to do that just win the World Series, they took no chances in the off season. They brought out the identical lineup from the 1980 team except in LF where they got rid of Greg Luzinski and brought in Gary Matthews, who happened to be the same age. This may or may not have been a good move as this Phillies team was an old team, but they did make it to the play-offs as the first half division winners and would return with many of the same players to the World Series in 1983. All of the starters were over 30, the ace of the pitching staff was 35, and the closer was 36. To make you feel old, this was the season Pete Rose turned 40...which means he is damn near 70 today...who knew?
Hall Of Famers
There were three hall of famers on this team...can you name them?
The first two come to mind quickly because they were always associated with the Phillies...Mike Schmidt, who in 1981 was playing his 2nd of 3 MVP seasons and Steve Carlton, who was in between Cy Young seasons in 1981.
The third one was Ryne Sandberg, who played in 13 games late in the season for this team and were the only games he played on a team besides the Cubs in his 16 year career. Unfortunately there were no Ryne Sandberg cards in the 1981 sets.