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1982 Oddball Baseball Cards

By Patrick Mondout

Here's our look at the the unusual (or "oddball") sets of baseball cards for 1982. Regular sets can be found here.

1982 Oddballs at a Glance
Topps produced two 22-card (plus one checklist) team sets for Coke in 1982. One was for the Cincinnati Reds, and the other was co-sponsored by Brigham's Ice Cream for the Boston Red Sox. The cards are virtually identical to '82 Topps with the exception of the logos and the card numbers.

Topps produced two 9 card uncut sheets of old-timers - one for each league - for a Cracker Jack promotion in 1982. The cards featured a border of actual Cracker Jacks candy. They were distributed through a mail-in offer promoting the first "Old Timers Baseball Classic." The game was unique in that fans got to vote old-timers into the game with ballots - just like in the All-Star game. Unfortunately, most of us who sent in the box tops and 50 received damaged goods because of the shoddy way in which they were packaged. Dealers once again had the upper hand as they were able to get them in quantity direct from the source.

Each sheet had eight players from one league and a Cracker Jack logo card in the center. The players were: Larry Doby, Bob Feller, Whitey Ford, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle, Tony Oliva and Brooks Robinson plus Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Ralph Kiner, Eddie Matthews, Willie Mays, Robin Roberts, Duke Snider and Warren Spahn.

Drake's returned with another 33 card set produced by Topps featuring "Big Hitters." The fronts feature a facsimile signature and there are 19 American Leaguers and 14 from the Senior Circuit. The backs are virtually identical to the '82 Topps set.

Granny Goose potato chips produced their second straight set of Oakland A's cards in 1982. A "signature series" was produced for a planned promotion in 1982 in addition to the regular set, but they never got around to that promo and those cards are quite scarce. Many of the Granny Goose cards have stains as they were distributed in bags of their greasy potato chips.

Hygrade distributed a set of Montreal Expos cards with their lunch meat products in the Quebec area in 1982. The cards were in French and very hot until those south of the border realized both the complete set and a special album to put them in were available via a mail-in offer!
Smaller than last year's set, this Kellogg's set feature 64 3D Super Stars. A checklist is here.
Topps produced this 44 card set in mass quantities for K-Mart on the occasion of its 20th Anniversary. The "limited edition" set (strictly limited to every human on the face of the planet who wanted one) featured the MVP winners from 1962-1981 plus three highlight cards. Someone either at Topps or K-Mart vastly overestimated potential interest in the set and these cards quickly became 10 "blue light" specials. No set of the decade was more notoriously worthless than this one. Hobby stores in the Awesome80s unfortunate enough to have them in stock would often give them away with a small purchase.
O-Pee-Chee produced a 396 card subset of the '82 Topps set for the Canadian market. Here's a checklist.
Perma-graphics released their second set of credit card-style plastic baseball cards in 1982. As with the previous year, there were both "Super Star" and "All-Star" sets, but this year they came in both a regular set (like the card of Tim Raines on the left) and a scarce gold version. The Super Star version was released early in the year and then the 18-card All-Star set was released shortly after the All-Star game in Montreal.
Police sets for 1982 included the LAPD/Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Atlanta Braves (sponsored again by Coke and Hostess).
Red Lobster produced a set of 28 Chicago Cubs cards for distribution in the Chicago area. It has the distinction of containing the first card of Ryne Sandberg as a Cub.

Topps produced a set of 22 2-card panels for Squirt again in '82. They were once again distributed on 8-packs of Squirt bottled soft drinks and once again collector's were turned off by the way that dealers seemed to have them whereas they were hard to find in supermarkets.

The backs were similar to '82 Topps, but were on white rather than grey card stock and with yellow, instead of green ink. The size was smaller than a standard baseball card - which collectors usually hate - and the design was even louder than the previous year. This set was loathed by collectors.

TCMA's yearly minor league team sets included this usual and valuable card. Elway was one of the Yankees top prospects hitting .318 with more walks than strikeouts and he led his team in RBIs (and he committed no errors in the outfield). Other sets of interest include the Columbus Clippers (Don Mattingly), Albuquerque Dukes (Orel Hershiser), Orlando Twins (Frank Viola), Oklahoma City 89ers (Julio Franco), Iowa Cubs (Pat Tabler and Mel Hall), Charleston Royals (David Cone), Cedar Rapids Reds (Paul O'Neill), Jackson Mets (Darryl Strawberry), and the Hawaii Islanders (Tony Gwynn).
While collectors continued to yawn at their sticker sets, Topps continued to push them. This set was expanded over '81 to 260 stickers with red bordered stickers for AL stars and green NL'ers. If you find any with backs that have the words "coming soon," you've found stickers that were originally distributed as a bonus in '82 Topps wax packs. There are 48 in the "Coming Soon" set.
Wheaties teamed up with the Cleveland Indians to produce the first of three yearly sets which were both given away at certain games each year and sold in the team's gift shop. The 1982 set was Wheaties' first set since 1952 and featured 25 Indians on 30 cards.
Zeller's produced a set of 20 3-card panels of Montreal Expos that were distributed in Quebec. The cards featured photos and supporting text on how to play the game.


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Image courtesy of TCMA

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