Playing against Pete Rose was often a painful experience for opposing teams.

And, sometimes, just pulling one of the man’s baseball cards could jab deep into a collector’s heart.

That all came home to roost in the summer of 1979.

If you were a Reds fan during that last season of the decade, you might have done well to avoid the Philadelphia area.

Or, if you just had to swing by for some brotherly love, foregoing the local Whopper experience was probably a good idea.

See …

Our baseball cards were already fraught with dangerous, gut-wrenching memories, thanks to two Rose cards in the 1979 Topps set, both showing him with the Reds, as usual.

Problem was, Pete had left behind the Big Red Machine in the 1978-79 offseason to sign a free agent contract with the Phillies.

And so, every time a Cincy fan or collector tore open a wax pack that summer, there was a decent chance of pulling out a cardboard hunk of pain, a reminder that the Machine was gone.

There was some solace in the fact that new manager John McNamara had the Reds back in contention in the old National League West, and that at least there were no baseball cards floating around out there showing Rose with the Phillies.

That latter was a double-edged sword, of course, as we already discussed.

And then, the other shoe dropped.

That summer, as the Reds scrapped for a division title and as Rose settled into his new climes, Topps and Burger King teamed up for the second year in a row, issuing two 23-card sets in specific areas.

One of the sets featured members of the New York Yankees.

And the other?

Yeah, it was a Philadelphia Phillies set, featuring a certain newcomer on card #13:

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And, just like that, any illusion of Charlie Hustle still suiting up for the Reds was gone. Poof!

Despite the problems this card might have caused for the Cincinnati faithful over the years, and despite the confusion the BK cards have caused collectors in general (thanks to mix-ups with the Topps base cards, different numbers, etc.), this Rose card represents true hobby history … the first Topps card showing the legend with his new team.

And the hobby has started to recognize the significance of that marriage in cardboard, based on recent selling prices, like the nearly $1600 this PSA 10 copy brought on eBay in late December:

Of course, if you’re in the market for something a bit less bank-breaking, you can usually pick up raw copies of the 1979 Rose-Reds or Rose-Phillies cards for under $20, often even less than $10 (eBay affiliate link).

All of which means that, no matter what your team affiliation or price point, you pretty much CAN have it your way when it comes to 1979 Topps(ish) Pete Rose baseball cards.

Check out our latest video, where we lay out 25+ of the most popular and valuable 1982 Topps baseball cards. After all, who *doesn’t* love the “hockey stick set”??

1979 TOPPS # 640 EDDIE MURRAY , BALTIMORE ORIOLES , C

$1.69
End Date: Saturday 03/23/2024 09:55:12 EDT
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1979 Topps Ken Stabler Oakland Raiders #520

$2.00
End Date: Sunday 03/17/2024 18:06:44 EDT
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Jim Palmer 1979 Topps #340 Baltimore Orioles

$1.69
End Date: Thursday 03/14/2024 15:18:21 EDT
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1979 TOPPS # 640 EDDIE MURRAY , BALTIMORE ORIOLES , B

$1.69
End Date: Saturday 03/23/2024 09:54:36 EDT
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1979 Topps Tony Dorsett Dallas Cowboys #160

$2.00
End Date: Sunday 03/17/2024 18:06:44 EDT
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1979 Topps 500-726 - Pick A Card & Complete Your Set

$1.00
End Date: Friday 03/15/2024 14:57:45 EDT
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1979 Topps Baseball - Pick A Card - Cards 141-300

$0.99
End Date: Tuesday 03/19/2024 14:54:13 EDT
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1979 TOPPS # 665 LOU BROCK , CARDINALS

$1.69
End Date: Friday 03/22/2024 10:01:42 EDT
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1979 Topps Steve Largent Seattle Seahawks #198

$2.00
End Date: Sunday 03/17/2024 18:06:44 EDT
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