Friday, October 26, 2007

1981 Topps Scratch-offs

If memory serves, I've owned these cards since they came out in 1981. I am surprised that I never separated them at the perforations, and even more surprised that I didn't play the game on the cards! The idea behind these was like lottery tickets for kids (hmm, maybe I could sue Topps for my scratch-off ticket "hobby"). The cards were supposed to be broken apart at the perfs, then divided up into two teams. Nine players on each team from the AL would face off against nine players from the NL in a nine inning baseball game. As each team came to 'bat,' the collector would scratch off one spot. According to the rules on the back (paraphrasing), "Base runners advance one base on a ground out and single, two bases on a double, and three on a triple. There is no advancing on a fly out or strike out. There are no double or triple plays."

So, on the backs of the cards, you find place to write the line-up number of the player (Topps assumed that people would lose their place during a game, or perhaps in test marketing, people DID lose their places). The "top" card listed the rules of play. The "middle" card of the unbroken trio provided a scoreboard in which to record runs and hits. The "bottom" card contained various offers from Topps, like the plastic-shelved "Sports Card Locker" (which I owned at least two that I remember), or the "#445 Ball-Strike Indicator" - a perfect 'tool' for keeping up with you scratch-off game or when you were odd man out in a pick-up game and had to play ump... At least you could "look" official..

I find it funny that for all the explaining they do, as if we collectors don't know anything, no where on any card is it indicated whether the team is AL or NL. Now, I know, most people who collected would know that, but when the rules detail how to scratch off a circle, yet the card does not tell you which league the featured player is in, I really gotta wonder....

As for the photos themselves: I think some of these guys would have made great candidates for Thorzul's 1981 Topps competition (Which, Al Hrabosky won by the way). Cecil Cooper sports not only the 80's ultra-cool beard and 'stache, but he tops it off with those specs! Is it just me, or does Super Joe seem to be squinting in nearly every baseball card ever made of him? I'll have to do a study in a future post on that one.... Manning, on the other hand, has that usual, "Hey, I'm Rick Manning, and I am COOL" look.. LOL. Mike Hargrove has always looked like a manager/coach to me. Even in his rookie days, there is something about him that says, "I play, but my real dream is to manage..."

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