Getting Started on 1982
The same sets from 1981 came around for 1982. Thanks to to a tip from Wrigley Wax, I tracked down a regional Cubs set that had a few players not in any of the big four sets from 1982. I will discuss that more when I get to the Cubs entry for 1982.
The biggest difference though is that Topps added 66 cards to their base set from 1981, but 40 of those were in action cards and 22 were all-star cards, so in the end only 4 extra player cards were added. Donruss also expanded its set by 60 cards, but 26 of those were Diamond Kings, which debuted in their 1982 set. The Fleer and Topps Traded sets stayed the same size.
I am listing all the cards from the major four sets that I really have little to no interest in collecting. These all fall under one of two categories, Donruss's Diamond Kings or the Fleer Superstar Specials (as they would come to be known in future sets). I figure I am not collecting subset cards unless the subject matter of the cards makes sense, if it is commemorating a real event or is a real all-star selection. If I don't cut these out, then when we get into later years I will have to add in every Upper Deck checklist and and Super-K-Master Blaster or whatever Score was putting in their sets. I will list all of the cards in the sets here just for those following along who are curious about what cards were in what sets.
For 1982, some of the superstar specials are being added to the overall set, if they highlighted a memorable event, such as Carl Yastrzemski's 3000th game. I look at that card as a highlight card. The rest of that subset is garbage to me. Why do I care if there is a card of Fernando Valenzuela and Gary Carter (and some oddball dude in the center of the picture) together. The card commemorating the perfect game by Len Barker doesn't even have the correct catcher for the game. If it did, I probably would've put it with the cards I am keeping, but to me this is just two guys sitting on a bench. Donruss also issued a handful of these types of cards in their set, and did a MUCH better job with them. Compare the Reggie Jackson/Dave Winfield cards shown above. It was a worthwhile subject to have on a card in 1982, two sluggers from the most recent World Series runner-up. But the Donruss card has them both nicely posed and the picture is focused, the Fleer version has Reggie Jackson in the foreground and Dave Winfield starts to get fuzzy.
Which leads me to my next point...the 1982 Fleer cards are the worst set ever in my opinion. How they stayed around for a third year is beyond me. A good number of photos were either taken at night or during overcast days. The handful of cards for this set that I do have are mostly off center. The superstar special cards shown above show how little thought was put into making the cards.
I really think Donruss put out the best set in 1982, but this is where they started the Diamond Kings subset. I know this subset may be popular, but frankly, I hate these cards. The player selection (although not bad for 1982) was always pretty awful and the paintings look like they were made in an advanced high school art class. I think these cards are the reason Donruss was always perceived as being a second tier set. Check out the goofy looking George Brett card and the hat on Phil Niekro in the cards above. I know it must've been difficult and tedious to paint 26 players in a years time. That is why I think Donruss would've been better off to scale this subset back to maybe 10 real diamond kings per year, and not 26 cards including players like Roy Smalley, Ivan de Jesus, and in later years, the Jeff Robinson that pitched on the Tigers, and focus on quality artwork.
|__||DO||14||DK||Ivan de Jesus||CHC|
Super Star Specials
|__||DO||558||SS||Yankee Winners (Tommy John, Ron Guidry)||NYY|
|__||DO||575||SS||Bronx Bombers (Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield) (or FL 646) ||NYY|
|__||DO||585||SS||Phillies Finest (Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose)||PHI|
|__||DO||628||SS||Pride Of The Reds (Johnny Bench, Tom Seaver) (or FL 634) ||CIN|
|__||FL||628||SS||1981 All Star Game (Cleveland, Ohio)||CLE|
|__||FL||629||SS||All-Star Infielders (Frank White, Bucky Dent)||XXX|
|__||FL||630||SS||Big Red Machine (D. Driessen, D. Concepcion, G. Foster)||CIN|
|__||FL||631||LD||Bruce Sutter (Top N.L. Relief Pitcher)||STL|
|__||FL||632||SS||Steve & Carlton (Steve Carlton, Carlton Fisk)||XXX|
|__||FL||635||SS||West Meets East (Fernando Valenzuela, Gary Carter)||XXX|
|__||FL||636||LD||Fernando Valenzuela (1981 N.L. Strikeout King)||LAD|
|__||FL||637||LD||Mike Schmidt (1981 Home Run King)||PHI|
|__||FL||638||SS||N.L. All-Stars (Gary Carter, Dave Parker)||XXX|
|__||FL||639||SS||Perfect Game! (Len Barker, Bo Diaz)||CLE|
|__||FL||640||SS||Pete Rose (Pete and Re-Pete)||PHI|
|__||FL||641||SS||Phillies Finest (Mike Schmidt, Lonnie Smith, Steve Carlton)||PHI|
|__||FL||642||SS||Red Sox Reunion (Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans)||XXX|
|__||FL||643||LD||Rickey Henderson (1981 Most Hits, Most Runs)||OAK|
|__||FL||644||LD||Rollie Fingers (Most Saves 1981 A.L.)||MIL|
|__||FL||645||LD||Tom Seaver (Most 1981 Wins)||CIN|