Gotta admit that I remember almost nothing about the 1980 baseball season. I remember owning an SI with Reggie Jackson on the cover, but that was about it. Not surprising, since I was only five years old at the time. However, several of the elder statesmen among the editorial staff were married by this time and threw in their thoughts on this year, which helped me decide that 7th place was fitting. All in all, the year wasn't terribly memorable for non-Phillies fans, save for tremendous years by Mike Schmidt and the .400 average-chasing George Brett.
In that year's World Series, the power of the Schmidtstache pushed Philly over the top. That team was pretty stacked, with Rose, Bowa, Carlton, Maddox, McGraw, etc., although it never developed into a dynasty in the mold of the A's, Reds and Yankees squads that dominated the 1970's.
To recap, here are the rankings released to date:
#10 - 1986
#9 - 1988
#8 - 1982
#7 - 1980
Rickey Rickey Rickey. The rookie card of the greatest base stealer of all-time is the year's crown jewel. I remember getting this card as a gift in 1986, when it was worth $20. I think its value ballooned to $200 at one point, only to come back down to $20. It appears to be hovering a bit south of $69 at the moment. Check here if you don't believe me. Another plus was that this set was only 726 cards. The expansion to 792 didn't happen until1982. So we didn't have All-Star cards. Like we need a Rick Honeycutt card AND a separate Rick Honeycutt all-star card. Sometimes less is more. Unless we're talking about cup sizes. Unfortunately, having less cards in a set meant deluding young saps like myself into thinking they could compile an entire set by buying packs. I always wanted to do this and never came close. I would end up with mangled cards in half-ass stacks all over my bedroom, and then give up.
A cool design feature of the cards was the waving pennants format that showed the position and team of a player, although the colors were often garishly juxtaposed with the team's uniform colors. Or with Pete Rose's hair.
Again, we have the three-player rookie cards. It's always funny when the three players turn out to be nobodies. Overall, 1980 featured a general dearth of quality rookies.
And we still had to deal with those stinking checklists. I hated checklists like the Hanson Brothers hated root beer. And despite the lack of All-Star cards (mostly a good thing), the cards put a boring black band across the top of the picture on the card to show the player was an All-Star. It looks like a tribute to somebody who died the year before. And no, I don't think the Munson family saw it as a heartfelt gesture by Topps.
We're now 40% of the way done with the list. Stay tuned for the top six years, which will be coming back at you after Labor Day.