I've read multiple blog posts and watched several YouTubers reminisce about the first cards they ever pulled out of a pack... like it was remembering their first kiss. I'm so pissed that I wasn't blessed with that kind of memory... or didn't take the time to remember such a cool event in my collecting history.
I can't even tell you the very first baseball card packs I ripped, but I will say I'm pretty confident it was 1981 Topps or 1981 Donruss. I remember having stacks of both of these products and trading them with my neighbors.
I'm even more confident that 1982 was the first year I owned a Topps Baseball Sticker Album and attempted to fill it in. No idea if I ever came close (not likely), but I remember having this album as a kid. Over the years, I've debated purchasing a new album with a box of stickers and reliving my childhood. It just never happened and after checking how much people want for their boxes... I've accepted that it won't happen anytime soon.
Then in December, I read a post over at cards as i see them and it rekindled my interest in owning an album. I headed over to eBay, found this for sale, and clicked the BIN button:
A week or two later, the album arrived in my mailbox. It took a few weeks, but eventually I opened it up... and was taken back to 1982.
Let's start off by taking a peek at the nice looking cover which features Gary Carter and a random umpire that I don't recognize:
I'm also jealous of those baseball aficionados who are able to recognize umpires like they were picking out family members in a police lineup. Yeah, I might be lazy. But I did attempt to identify the top two stickers under the 25¢ price tag... only to come up empty-handed.
I actually don't think either of those stickers exist, since the 2nd sticker is obviously an Oakland Athletic... but the American League teams were all issued red borders.
Moving along, here's the back cover:
It's always nice to see team logos from my childhood like the Swingin' A's, the Mariner's trident, and the cursive San Francisco Giants logo.
When you open up the album, the first two pages of stickers are reserved for the NL & AL Batting and Pitching Leaders:
These stickers feature the red, white, and blue borders... although the order of these colors are different for each league.
The next twelve pages are the National League team pages... with each team receiving their own dedicated page like this:
Back in 1982, Topps made sure lack of parity wasn't an issue between larger and smaller market teams. Every team was allotted eight stickers. While the American League teams have red borders, the National League teams were given blue borders to match the blue backgrounds.
The teams are in alphabetical order and after the San Francisco Giants page, collectors are treated to a 1981 Highlights page:
I definitely remember Len Barker's perfect game and Fernandomania... but it took me forty-one years to learn that Bill Stein set an American League record with his 7th consecutive pinch-hit on May 25th, 1981. The record still stands after all these years, although he now shares it with Randy Bush and Ross Gload. And for those who are super curious, the MLB record is held by two National League hitters (Dave Philley and Rusty Staub) who each had eight consecutive hits.
The highlights page is followed the NL & AL All-Stars:
I remember treasuring these foil stickers as a kid... although there are a few questionable selections by Topps. Jerry Remy received a sticker, but he wasn't even on the 1981 American League All-Star roster. Willie Randolph got screwed out of a foil sticker. Actually, two other Yankees who were voted in by fans to start the game were also replaced: Bucky Dent (by Rick Burleson) & Reggie Jackson (by Dwight Evans). Over on the National League side, Manny Trillo received the foil treatment over the actual starter: Davey Lopes.
Don't feel too bad for Yankees and Dodgers fans though, because they shared their own special page later in the album.
After the all-stars pages, there are the fourteen American League teams which are similar to the National League pages except the background is red, instead of blue:
Each team page has the team logo, a pennant with the team name in it, and some team statistics from the 1981 season. I was especially excited to see the Oakland A's page, because I grew up watching them at the Coliseum.
Topps hit a home run by including that memorable outfield trio featuring Rickey in left, Murphy in center, and Armas in right. In hindsight, they could have swapped out Spencer for Mike Heath or Wayne Gross... but overall I was happy with the guys they picked.
The big head-scratcher is the background photo. I'm pretty sure it features Rob Picciolo with those flip-up sunglasses, yet he wasn't given a sticker in the album. I could be wrong about the player, but I can confidently say it's not Tony Armas, Jim Spencer, Matt Keough, or Steve McCatty.
The final sticker page is dedicated to the MLB Playoffs with the highlight being the 1981 World Series Champions... the Los Angeles Dodgers:
There aren't a ton of well-cropped action shots in the album... but you wouldn't know it from this page. Topps hooked the Dodgers up with some of the best looking stickers in the set. In fact my favorite is this one:
1982 Topps Stickers #258
Gotta love Steve Garvey and his floating bat! Any Dodgers fans remember this at bat? Did he get a hit?
From front to back, this purchase allowed me to take a nice trip down memory lane back to my childhood. Unfortunately, there was one hiccup... actually four:
1982 Topps Stickers #34 Ron Oester
1982 Topps Stickers #53 Burt Hooton
1982 Topps Stickers #105 Enos Cabell
1982 Topps Stickers #144 Ken Singleton
When I clicked the BIN button, I assumed the set was complete. Unfortunately I put myself into a sticky situation and still need four stickers. To the seller's credit, he/she did state there were three missing stickers in the listing. I just dropped the ball. As for the fourth missing sticker, I'm guessing it was an honest mistake.
On Valentine's Day, I showed my collection some love by being the only bidder on this complete set of 1982 Topps Stickers:
Wanna guess what the winning bid was? If you guessed one shiny penny then you're right. Shipping was $6.65... so overall I paid $6.66 for the set. At least I didn't have to pay any sales tax.
You might be wondering if I'm going to pull the four stickers I need for my album from this set. I'm not. The goal is to pair up this set with a brand new album and add it to the collection. Yup... I'm one of those guys who is weird like that.
As for the missing stickers, I'll eventually track them down on Sportlots or something.
Thank you to all of you who stuck around and took this little journey back in time with me. These are my favorite posts to write. And my favorite thing about blogging is reading your comments, so here is today's question of the day:
Did you buy these albums and packs of stickers back in the 80's? Did you ever complete an album the same year it was released?
I think I owned the 1982, 1983, and 1984 baseball albums, but I never completed any of them. That being said... back then I never completed any of the baseball card sets either. Part of the issue is that I didn't dedicate all of my money to one or the other and even if I did... I probably still wouldn't complete one or the other.
But that's the beauty of being a collector as an adult. I can now go back and either complete them or buy them already completed.
Happy Tuesday and sayonara!
Which four are you missing? I have a ton of duplicates from this set, so there's a good chance that I'd have all four.
I also have no memory of the first pack that I opened, nor the first card that I got. All I ever wanted were the Tigers players, so I'm sure that I kept looking through the pack until I found one, or not
Good Job! 👍
Wow, those stickers are awesome (love the Gary Carter photo on the album cover), and what an amazing bargain (something one doesn't read much of these days...)
I never had any Topps stickers when I was a kid, though I did get some O-Pee-Chee ones (lived in Canada) in 1989 and remember having fun with them.
I don't remember my first pack of cards, I don't think it was exactly a "Heavenly host singing from up above" moment... plus I have a crappy memory for stuff like that... or stuff not like that :-)
I bought that album and some stickers, but being in my late teens at the time I couldn't bring myself to actually stick the stickers in the album... Seemed wrong even though that's the exact thing you're supposed to do with them. I don't know where that kid was when I stuck all of my Wacky Packs on my school notebook. I think I still have the album somewhere around here.
I did a double-take on that album cover, because they added a white stripe to the red and blue "racing stripes" on the Expos uniform. Did they want to hide the fact that it's Gary Carter?
I certainly did buy a sticker album and packs of stickers -- it was this very album and stickers from 1982, the best sticker album of all-time!
I've written about it at least 5 or 6 times. Here is a particularly extensive post on it: https://nightowlcards.blogspot.com/2016/10/stickers-make-monsters-go-away.html
The sticker book I bought in '82 disappeared but then a collector from England sent me the book and that's where all the stickers are stuck now.
I bought a bunch from back then, still have a few. Never had the album though. I stuck a bunch of those stickers on school folders/trappers and such back then.
Dude, $0.01? Epic buy!! I think I had the 1987 or 1988 album, but never gravitated towards them. This is pretty sweet though! Love the trip down memory lane though!!
Nice score. I never got into the stickers as a kid. I vaguely remember my first pack but the only card hat stands out to me is the Dave Winfield Glossy All Star.
Should have you covered all-around https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFajhGlxpGE
I definitely bought them, but can't say if I ever finished a full album. I doubt I did.
Great post, it brings back my memories of the 1985 sticker album, very similar to me. I carried that thing everywhere even though I could only fill it maybe 20%. I’ve considered buying the set or a box and finishing what I started, hopefully the sticker glue is stronger than the older Fleer stickers I’ve tried to use.
I had many of the sticker books back in the 1980s, and now I wish I had saved them. I was never able to finish any of the albums even with trading stickers with my brothers and a neighbor boy. I am starting to look for these albums again now. I still collect sticker books when I see new ones.
The albums and stickers are a bit before my time, but I did pick up a set of 83 Topps stickers a few years ago at a flea market. It was actually a generous "throw-in" with other purchases I made. Has the Sandberg rookie sticker in it. I should look at that set again in my binder of minis.
Good luck on the 4 missing stickers. I wouldn't break up the second complete set to fill in those 4 either.
Yep, I had this one and I think there was a 1982 version as well, right?
Of course, you messed it up if your stickers weren't applied straight.
The early 80's were great for stickers. 81 Fleer stickers (full card size) was one of my favorite products.
I like these album stickers, but never collected any of the later ones of the same size, even for my player collections. Without an album, they are hard to store in sheets unless you use 12 pockets and put them all together. You can't get EVERYTHING....
Wow...that took me back! I'm fairly certain that was my first sticker album too. Pretty sure I spent more on stickers than actual cards that year!
The first baseball thing I ever collected was the 1986 stickers. I still have a very strong fondness for that book and those stickers. That was how I first learned about all the ballplayers.
This is fantastic, I'm a big fan of buying back treasured childhood items like these. '82 was a bit before my time so a lot of these players, cards, and logos were fairly new to me. Is it possible that Topps switched out some Yankees/Dodgers from the All-Star page to avoid repeating them on the team/WS pages? That would be overkill if the same player appeared 3 times lol.
I did a post like this when I bought back the first baseball sticker album I had as a kid - 1988 Panini.
jon - thanks for the offer. i'm missing 34, 53, 105, and 144.
john sharp - sounds like you treasured tigers as much as i treasured a's.
sean - the reason this album stands out so well in my memory is that image of carter on the cover. jealous that you had access to all of those opc products back in the 80's
shlabotnik report - good eyes. i never would have caught that. honestly didn't realize they didn't have a white stripe in the middle until you pointed it out.
night owl - it was cool to go back and reread that post. do you still remember that rough day at work? i obviously didn't follow through and buy the box and album (which i really, really regret now). but i have a feeling it will feel pretty darn therapeutic to slap these final four stickers into the album.
crocodile - i think i might have slapped my duplicates on a pencil box or something back then.
sumomenkoman - i think i stopped buying the albums and stickers by the mid 80's. if i had to guess, 1984 or 1985 was my last sticker pack purchases
nick vossbrink - the fact that you remember the winfield glossy is pretty impressive. i hope you still own it
baseballcardstore.ca - whoa. that's sweet that you have an unopened box of albums! and your box looks like it's in perfect condition after 41 years.
the lost collector - glad i'm not alone
pennsylvania tiger - 1985 might be the last album stickers i ever purchased as a kid. although i just looked it up and don't remember the album, so 1984 might have been my final year chasing these stickers.
ohiotim - good luck in your search. i've picked up a few partially started albums at the flea market over the years. not sure if i'll ever go back and complete them though.
wax pack wonders - that's a very cool throw in item. if i ever chase another album, it'll be the 1983.
gca - topps also made a football sticker album as well. if i had to guess... they might have made a hockey one too. i'm pretty lucky that the previous owner of this album took his time lining up the stickers. crooked stickers would definitely bug me.
matt - i'm too lazy to do the math... but i wonder if it was easier to build the flagship set of cards or the sticker album set back then.
bo - don't think i ever bought any packs of stickers in 1986. i was really going after the flagship set that year. just looked it up on comc and noticed that vince coleman has a sticker. i might have to track down one of his stickers for my rookie collection
chris - those 1988 panini stickers are nice. i like how they were essentially mini baseball cards with the player's name and team logo on each sticker. and that makes sense about the swapping out of yankees and dodgers.
I think the only year I put together a sticker album was in 1986. I also had a sticker album with the National League logos in that I got in first grade. There were sheets of stickers you could buy for each team and fill in the album. I am going to feature it in a card room post at some point this year.
I never owned any sticker albums but over the years I've somehow accumulated a few stickers here and there. That album is super cool though!
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