30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I love the 80's #8: Topps Rack Packs

Remember those rack packs I picked up at the Santa Clara GTSM card show? Probably not. If you're bored... go here and refresh your memory. If you're strapped for time, here's the Cliff Notes version:

A. Two weeks ago I attended the GTSM card show in Santa Clara.
B. I spent $75 on everything from 90's inserts to autographs to vintage singles to insert sets.
C. In addition to the items mentioned above, I also picked up three rack packs from the 80's.
D. Total cost = $10

I'm in the process of building a 1984 Topps baseball set and have only one card left on my wantlist... card #431 Chris Bando. Well.. I didn't pull it. But I did pull a couple of Oriole HOFers.

1984 Topps Baseball Rack Pack

Pack 1
741 Wayne Gross
429 Randy Bush
197 Garry Hancock
176 Lee Smith
728 Tug McGraw
455 Terry Kennedy
Stick of Gum
58 Max Venable
211 Rick Sweet
114 Checklist
284 Howard Bailey
437 Mike Prowly
614 Len Barker

Pack 2
749 Doug Flynn
642 Tom Underwood
757 Larry Bowa
275 Len Matuszek
68 Luis Salazar
212 Broderick Perkins
Stick of Gum
240 Eddie Murray
25 Glenn Hubbard
750 Jim Palmer
383 Terry Puhl
488 Jesse Barfield
623 Ron Washington

Pack 3
731 Lynn Jones
650 Phil Niekro
385 Tony Perez
145 Gary Lavelle
46 Ray Smith
538 Kevin Bass
Stick of Gum
775 Dave Parker
518 Greg Walker
498 Rich Gedman
466 Gen Garber
601 John Tudor
504 Mickey Rivers

Actually the coolest part of this rack pack was the gum. Inserted into each pack was an individually wrapped piece of gum. Yep... your read it correctly... individually wrapped.

Add in the fact that cellophane was used for the inner packs and what you have is... drum roll please... NO DAMAGED CARDS! What message am I trying to send? Well... if you're interested in building a hand collated set of 1984 Topps baseball... go out and pick up some of these grocery rack packs.

1981 Topps baseball is like scotch... it gets better with age. For years 1981 Topps was the forgotten set when it came to 80's baseball cards. 1980 had Rickey. 1982 had Ripken. 1983 had Gwynn. 1984 had Mattingly. 1985 had McGwire. 1986 had the black borders. 1987 had the wood borders. 1988 and 1989 were ugly, but at least I could picture them if I wanted. But for one reason or another, 1981 always slipped my mind.

However over the past few years... I've slowly started to appreciate the colorful baseball hats in the bottom right corner. And when I was offered the opportunity to bust 30 year old rack packs for less than $3.50 a pack... well... I just couldn't pass them up.

The first rack pack consisted of the stars... while the second rack pack was loaded with rookies.

1981 Topps Baseball Rack Pack #1

Pack 1
439 Denny Walling
369 Frank Tanana
453 Rob Wilfong
27 Champ Summers
131 Keith Moreland
111 Greg Minton
Stick of Gum
570 Ken Singleton
120 Larry Bowa
185 Dennis Leonard
602 Bobby Murcer
627 Luis Tiant
90 Bake McBride

Pack 2
512 Gary Thomasson
412 Britt Burns
371 Charlie Hough
157 John Wathan
390 Cesar Geronimo
578 Bill Gullickson
Stick of Gum
520 Steve Stone
301 Matt Keough
380 Willie Stargell
572 Jack Morris
630 Steve Carlton
539 Rodney Scott

Pack 3
406 Dickie Noles
176 Mike Krukow
359 Tom Hausman
365 Graig Nettles
363 Geoff Zahn
16 Ron Davis
Stick of Gum
480 Carlton Fisk
189 Craig Swan
488 Damaso Garcia
126 Charlie Leibrandt
703 Alvis Woods
660 Gary Carter

I'm not going to lie... I really wanted to pull a pristine Fernando Valenzuela rookie card... or even a nice second year Rickey Henderson. But do I really have any right to complain when I pulled four players enshrined at Cooperstown? I think not.

1981 Topps Baseball Rack Pack #2

Pack 1
82 Astros Future Stars (Heep, Knicely, Sprowl)
469 Jeff Leonard
376 Ron Reed
713 Bill North
536 Bob Owchinko
94 Harry Spilman
Stick of Gum
354 Mario Soto
78 Steve Dillard
379 Lary Sorensen
569 Al Williams
178 Jim Essian
456 Jeff Reardon RC

Pack 2
234 Lou Whitaker
381 Cubs Future Stars (Lezcano, Macko, Martz)
183 Dick Davis
310 Vida Blue
502 Giants Future Stars (Bourjos, Hargesheimer, Rowland)
646 Marvis Foley
Stick of Gum
246 Ed Ott
542 Larry Bradford
524 Willie Aikens
166 Floyd Bannister
721 Toby Harrah
42 Jerry White

Pack 3
525 Mike Torrez
356 Padres Future Stars (Stablein, Stimac, Tellmann)
346 Larry Christenson
564 Ron Hassey
399 Orioles Future Stars (Boddicker, Corey, Rayford)
144 Allen Ripley
Stick of Gum
484 Max Venable
333 Sid Monge
553 Tim Blackwell
465 Bill Russell
568 Dave Revering
375 Dave Concepcion

Tim Raines? Nadda. Kirk Gibson? Not a chance. How about a little Mookie Wilson/Hubie Brooks love? Nope. But I did pull two rookies worth mentioning.

Boddicker won 72 games in a five year period for the Baltimore Orioles. In 1984, he was an all-star when he led the AL in wins and ERA.

Reardon has 367 career saves, which ranks him 7th all-time. He was a four time all-star, who won the NL Rolaids Relief Award in 1985.

Sure... they're not quite Cooperstown quality... but I don't consider them commons either. Both will be added to my rookie card collection... along with that sweet San Diego Padres Future Stars card, that shows off those beautiful yellow and brown uniforms.

Some will say that's $10 down the drain... and when you consider the fact that I'll never recover my money... then you're right. But if you take the time to factor in the entertainment... which lasted just under 12 minutes... it wasn't that bad.

These packs didn't contain autographs, jersey cards, parallels, or inserts. But it did bring back childhood memories... something no modern day pack will every produce for me.

Will I bust anymore of this stuff? Well... probably not in the near future. But what I will say is... if I see these guys again at the next show... I'll probably buy a few more packs. So when I'm caught up in the relic and autograph hype and need to be brought down to Earth... I can pop one of these babies open and remember how it all began.

Thursday's question of the day:

What's the oldest pack you've busted in the past 6 months?

What's the oldest pack you've ever opened?

Okay... it's taken me almost two hours to write this post... because I'm watching the Packers/Saints season opener. The Packers are leading 28 to 17... but the Saints are on the move and are about to score. So... it's time to give them my full attention.

Sayonara and good night!


  1. I can't answer your question because I never buy old unopened packs.

    But what great fun! If I found them, I'd buy some rack packs of '81 and '84 Topps even though I've completed both sets. It's still a great time.

  2. I would buy both of those too. I opened a pack of 1979 Topps recently, but it was one I got fromt the Topps Diamond Giveaway site. It didn't have anything great, but I did get to send Dave Skaggs to Night Owl!

  3. Topps 1988 & Donruss 1989!

    Both a couple of months ago!

    Vintage cards make me feel old!

  4. I recently bought a couple packs of 1981 Fleer for a buck a piece. Got a couple nice HOFs, it was fun. I have been thinking about buying a whole box but I have the set and about 500 duplicates already so it probably wouldn't be wise.

  5. 1991 Archives... yes I know that isn't old at all haha. I pulled a Steve Largent Patch that you can see on my blog if you're interested.

  6. night owl - yeah... i'm hoping he's at the next show... so i can pick up a few 81's for future entertainment.

    play at the plate - i'd love to get my hands on a 1979 topps pack. an old neighbor gave me a box of 79's and that's what got me into collecting.

    martyn - i've had my share of both of those products. did you get a glavine rc or a griffey?

    btw... i received your package yesterday and will put up a thank you post sometime this week.

    arpsmith - i built a set of 1981 fleer either last year or the year before by busting boxes of this stuff. the stuff is affordable and fun to rip open.

    cheap card collecting - love 1991 archives. if i found a box at a discount price, i'd pick one of these up. i'll head over to your site to see which largent you're talking about.