Wednesday, June 18, 2008

1986 Topps League Leaders

Here's another pack from that Wal-Mart cube I busted open last week. This one I did not expect, just a little tiny pack wrapped up in cello lost amongst the others. The 25 cent price on the wrapper didn't do much for the box's claim of "$15 dollar value!" so I'm glad this pack was able to sneak in. I bought a ton of these packs back in '86 from the McCrory's at the mall. They always had the real oddball stuff you couldn't find at the grocery or drug stores. At 25 cents a pop you could buy a handful of the suckers too without going broke. Topps took the concept of a league leaders set, combined it with the 1986 team leaders subset cards from their base set, shrunk the cards down into a mini size they had been experimenting with for years and printed them on blindingly white cardboard with a glossy sheen that was dazzling at the time but now looks positively matte. Since there's only 6 cards in the pack and they're all good, I'll post them all with the categories they led the league in that got them into this set in the first place.

23 Burt Blyleven
#1 AL Shutouts - 5
#1 AL Strikeouts - 206
#1 AL Complete Games - 24
#1 AL Innings Pitched - 293 2/3
#5 AL Wins - 17

That's right, 24 complete games and only 17 wins. The 1985 Minnesota Twins only won 77 games total. Keep not voting for this guy in the Hall of Fame ballot guys, let that ignorance shine brightly for all to see.

33 Charlie Hough
#2 AL Complete Games - 14 (tie)
#8 AL ERA - 3.31
#9 AL Innings Pitched - 250 1/3

I have a soft spot for the knuckleballers. You gotta admit, they chew up innings really effectively.

37 Dale Murphy
#1 NL Home Runs - 37
#1 NL Runs - 118
#1 NL Walks - 90
#2 NL RBIs - 111
#5 NL On Base Percentage- .388

Murph! Showing off one of his finest seasons.

15 Lance Parrish

#3 AL Game Winning RBI - 16 (tie)

Topps had to fill out the set somehow. I think Game Winning RBI was a short lived gimmicky stat that never stuck.

18 George Brett
#2 AL Batting average - .335
#2 AL On Base Percentage- .436
#3 AL Game Winning RBI - 16 (tie)
#5 AL RBIs - 112
#5 AL Runs - 108

Helluva player. He tied Lance in GW-RBIs too.

2 Cal Ripken
#2 AL Runs - 116
#5 AL Game Winning RBI - 15 (tie)
#6 AL Runs - 110 (tie)
#6 AL Total Bases - 301 (tie)

Cal is in a contemplative mood. It's hard to ponder the difficult questions of life with a cartoon bird on your helmet.

Two Hall of Famers and two guys not in the Hall, but with a legion of followers who incessantly complain that they're not in. That was well worth 25 cents even back in '86 when a quarter would get you a game of Rampage at the Gold Mine arcade. It's a cool little set and you can pick one up for under 5 bucks pretty easily online. Hell, you could probably buy a case of the stuff for less than the price of a 2008 box if you're quick about it.


capewood said...

Thanks for this post. I never heard of this set. I love this odd ball stuff.

Chris Harris said...

I had absolutely no idea Topps made vending boxes of the mini League Leaders. You learn something new every day, I guess.