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Baseball Cards in the 1980s!

By Patrick Mondout

Welcome to our look at the baseball cards of the Awesome80s! We've got pages for all the major sets of the decade (and the Super70s too) as well as a complete checklists. Use the links on the left (under the green heading "Baseball Cards") to get started. We also have created a brief history of baseball cards as part of our article on the Fleer/Topps legal battles that came to a head in 1980.

Use the links on the left (under the green heading "Baseball Cards") to get started.

Wow! What a decade! If you want to see the evidence of how baseball cards exploded from a hobby in 1980 to a big business by the end of the decade, start here: In 1980, there were about five sets of Major League cards produced with two of them (O-Pee-Chee and Topps) being virtually identical and all but the Kellogg's set being produced ultimately by Topps. There were also a few dozen minor league sets produced mostly by TCMA. By 1987, there were over 200 sets from dozens of companies and the Pro Cards set of 2,800 minor leaguers by itself represented more unique cards than were produced in all of 1980!

So what happened? First, Topps lost in the courts paving the way for Donruss and Fleer to enter the market. Topps later won on appeal but the newcomers had figured out a way around the language in ruling and the player's association cooperated by signing lucrative deals with them.

And the speculators came. First they came for Joe Charboneau. Then it was Fernando Valenzuela. Then it was Steve Sax and Cal Ripken. Later it was Darryl Strawberry, Ron Kittle and, especially, Dwight Gooden. Only one of these guys made the Hall, and there were some pretty ridiculous prices paid in the Awesome80s for the likes of Matt Nokes, Cory Snyder, Kevin Sietzer, Wally Joyner, Pete Incaviglia, Kal Daniels, Vince Coleman, Bo Jackson, Alvin Davis, Danny Tartabull, Dan Pasqua, Ruben Sierra, Oddibe McDowell, Kevin McReynolds, Ron Darling, Dave Magadan, Gregg Jeffries, Sid Fernandez (virtually any Met prospect - they were all heading to Cooperstown!), Eric Davis, Jose Canseco and Don Mattingly (the latter two might have been quite good ballplayers, but their cards are worth a fraction of their Awesome80s peak).

Follow it all year by year right here!



Image courtesy of Topps

'80 Topps Sets!
'80 Topps Singles!
'80 Topps Unopened Packs!
'80 Topps Lots!
'80 Topps Cases!

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