Monday, April 4, 2011

Flea Market Finds 4/2/11 Part IV: Mail-Ins!

Another group of sets that I've been after for a while are the 1980s Topps mail-in glossy All-Stars. They were the '80s equivalent of all the wrapper redemption stuff we've seen lately, and they're cool, simple, and pretty hard to find in the wild, except that on Saturday, they weren't.

As you can see from this familiar-looking-yet-different Dwight Gooden card (they used this picture on the '85 Record Breaker card), I was fortunate enough to get a complete 1985 Topps mail-in glossy All-Star 40 card set, along with all the other stuff I got in the $7 boxes of 1980s joy!

Here's Kong hitting the bejeezus out of something!

And here's a great head shot of Michael Jack Schmidt!

Of course, because these boxes were kinda bottomless, I didn't just get the 1985 set...

...I also got the 60 card '86 set! Look at how happy Phil Bradley is about that!

Even Gorman seems to be in a better mood than he was the last time we saw him as a Seattle Mariner!

Here's a great picture that goes along with a sad story. Chris Brown (not to be confused with that other Chris Brown), a teammate of Darryl Strawberry's at Crenshaw High, was primed to be a big star. He had a great '85 and an even better '86, but he hurt his shoulder toward the end of '86, and he never really recovered, physically or, it seems, mentally. After he returned from offseason surgery, he wasn't the same player, was traded to the Padres mid-season in '87 (for Kevin Mitchell, to give you an idea of how highly regarded he once was) and then again after the '88 season. He landed on the Tigers, and shortly after that, in Sparky Anderson's doghouse, for claiming that he couldn't play because of all sorts of weird injuries. This eventually got him dropped by the team, and he was out of baseball by age 28, never to return. Eventually, he worked for Halliburton as a truck driver in Iraq, and after returning home from Iraq in '06, he was severely burned in a somewhat mysterious fire, and eventually died a month later at the age of 45. Quite a far cry from the days of this terrific, bittersweet picture, when, as it was for so many ballplayers, the sky was the limit. What was it about the mid-1980s that eventually led baseball and so many of its people into ruin? A few books have been written already, peripherally on the subject ("Juiced" and "The Bad Guys Won" come to mind), but I think there's a more general one that needs to be written.

Let's wrap this up on a slightly happier note, with Reggie taking a curtain call for the Angels. Knocking off two of these sets in one go was pretty awesome, and I'm not even done listing my haul yet!


  1. Another book on the topic that more directly relates to Brown is The Ticket Out: Darryl Strawberry and the Boys of Crenshaw.

  2. Yep, saw that in his Wiki entry, but I haven't read it yet, and I'm way behind on my reading as-is. Hopefully, someday, I'll get in the habit of reading more frequently.

  3. I had no idea that's what happened to Chris Brown. Wow.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.