1983 was an amazing year for baseball cards. That year, the rookie card class produced three future Hall of Famers: Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, and Ryne Sandberg. In addition to three amazing base sets, these companies also produced cool oddball sets. Topps came out with their one-time wonder... 1983 Topps Foldouts. Fleer produced baseball stamps for the second year in a row. And Donruss produced their Donruss HOF Champions set (if you're interested in reading more about this set... click here), along with an oversized Donruss All-Stars set.
But even non-collectors were treated to something special that season.
That year, Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton raced to see who would pass Walter Johnson's all-time strikeout record first.
On April 27, 1983 the Houston Astros were in Canada visiting the Montreal Expos and gave Nolan Ryan the start. And in the bottom of the 8th, Brad Mills came in to pinch hit for Doug Flynn. Six pitches later, his name would go down in MLB history as he became known as Ryan's 3,509th strikeout victim. Why is that important?
That day, Nolan Ryan passed Walter Johnson to become the all-time strikeout king. Three weeks later, Steve Carlton would also pass Walter on the all-time strikeout list. And on June 7th, 1983, Carlton would pass Nolan Ryan to become the all-time strikeout king himself. The two would go on to take turns being the king nineteen different times over the next two seasons, with Carlton holding the title as late as September 1984.
But as we all know... Ryan would eventually outlast Carlton and hasn't relinquished the title to this day. So to honor their epic battle, I've decided to bust open a pack of 1983 Donruss All-Stars that features the All-Time Strikeout King on the front.
Each pack contains six 3.5" x 5" cards and three puzzle pieces. Here's a look at the other five cards in the pack:
10 Greg Minton
5 Larry Herndon
Mickey Mantle Puzzle (31,32,33)
54 Richie Zisk
53 Fernando Valenzuela
43 Carlton Fisk
Okay... time for today's question:
What was your favorite year to collect cards?
For me... it's definitely 1983. Tony Gwynn is my favorite baseball player of all-time and four rookie cards were produced for him that year. Throw in the fact that the 1983 Topps two photo design is one of my personal favorites and you have a no-brainer.
Time to head out to dinner. Have a great weekend... and sayonara!