Are 1982 Topps baseball cards your favorites of all-time?

If so, I’d wager you’re among only a handful of collectors who can make that claim.

Maybe that’s the consequence of weighty expectations.

After a so-so set in 1981, the first year of renewed competition on the heels25 years of monopoly, Topps needed a home run to make sure  Fleer and Donruss stayed at arm’s length, and none of the 1982 sets blew anyone away.

Still, as the years have passed, the nuances of the 1982 Topps set — crisp photos, lots of action shots, even the double-hockey-stick design — have set it apart from its long-ago competitors.

And, coming as it did right before the true hobby boom and led by a Hall of Fame rookie card, 1982 Topps is no Junk Wax pablum.

In fact, big-name cards from the set in nice grades can bring top dollar in today’s market.

Here is a quick rundown of those most valuable 1982 Topps baseball cards, based on recent sales for copies graded PSA 9 and presented in numerical order.

(Note: The following sections contains affiliate links to listings for the cards being discussed.)

17) 1982 Topps Rod Carew (#500)

1982 Topps Rod Carew

By 1982, the last of Carew’s seven American League batting titles was four years in the rearview mirror, but the threat of his copping an eighth was always on the table.

Indeed, he hit .319 that summer to help the Angels capture the AL West title, then followed up with .339 in 1983.

Two years later, Carew would collect 124 safeties, pushing past the 3000-hit barrier that had seemed like his birthright for nearly two decades.

Carew contemplated playing again in 1986 but ultimately retired that June, leaving behind a slew of memories, and stacks of sweet cardboard like this 1982 Topps gem.

Value: $30-35

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16) 1982 Topps Fernando Valenzuela (#510)

1982 Topps Fernando Valenzuela

No one was hotter in the baseball world than Fernando Valenzuela entering the 1982 season.

After all, his phenomenal rookie campaign in ’81 spawned its own Mania!

And while Fernando cooled down over the course of his career and remains outside of Cooperstown, he still enjoys a strong hobby following.

This may not be a rookie card, but it just may hold the record for tightest cropping in hobby history.

Value: $30-35

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15) 1982 Topps Carl Yastrzemski (#650)

1982 Topps Carl Yastrzemski

For awhile, it seemed as if Carl Yastrzemski might play forever.

That didn’t quite turn out to be the case, of course, and this 1982 card ended up being the second-to-last Topps issue of Yaz’s long and storied career.

The 1967 AL MVP and Triple Crown winner will forever be a fan and hobby favorite, and this late-career card captures the legend in a quiet moment.

Value: $30-40

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14) 1982 Topps Ozzie Smith (#95)

1982 Topps Ozzie Smith

The Wizard of Oz spent the first four seasons of his career patrolling shortstop for the San Diego Padres, where he developed a reputation as an acrobatic gloveman with a weak bat.

That all changed when the Pads dealt Smith with Steve Mura and Al Olmstead to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Luis DeLeon, Sixto Lezcano, and shortstop (!) Garry Templeton in December 1981.

It was a challenge traded (SS-for-SS) the Cardinals won hands-down as Ozzie reeled off a string of 12 (more) Gold Gloves, helped St. Louis become perennial contenders who won the 1982 World Series, beefed up his offensive prowess, and made it all the way to Cooperstown.

His last Padres card is a landmark in its own right.

Value: $35-40

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13) 1982 Topps Robin Yount (#435)

1982 Topps Robin Yount

Yount was already a superstar in Milwaukee as the 1982 season dawned, an All-Star shortstop with pretty decent MVP cases in both 1980 and 1981.

Then, at age 26, Yount emerged as the best player on a Brewers team that captured the imagination of the baseball world, pushing all the way to a thrilling seven-game World Series before their season finally came to an end against the champion Cardinals.

Yount took home AL MVP honors, then set about filling in his Hall of Fame resume – by 1993, he had logged 3142 hits, 251 home runs, a Gold Glove, three Silver Sluggers, and another MVP award (in 1989).

Along the way, Yount’s 1975 Topps rookie card became hobby royalty and lifted the rest of his cardboard, like this 1982 classic, right along with it.

Value: $35-40

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12) 1982 Topps George Brett (#200)

1982 Topps George Brett

Brett was a year removed from his amazing .390 run in 1980 when this card debuted, and he had fallen all the way to .314 in 1981.

Poor Royals fans had to suffer through that “awful” performance, but Brett was still right in his prime, and still a superstar bound for Cooperstown.

And, as his expression on this card might hint, Mullet and his bat were more than a little skeptical about any whispers to the contrary.

Value: $35-40

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11) 1982 Topps Reggie Jackson (#300)

1982 Topps Reggie Jackson

For years, Reggie was the straw that stirred the drink, first for the Oakland A’s and then for the New York Yankees.

He was Mr. October, for gosh sake, and the World Series seemed to follow him from town to town.

Heck, the man even had his own candy bar!

In January of 1982, though, Reggie was turning the corner into the stretch run of his career, and he signed as a free agent with the California Angels. Though Reggie and the Halos would taste some success over the next several seasons, it was never quite as resounding as his historic runs with the A’s and the Yanks.

And he never made another New York cardboard appearance — this last Yankees card is a final parting shot of the straw that stirred the Big Apple drink.

Value: $30-45

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10) 1982 Topps Johnny Bench (#400)

1982 Topps Johnny Bench

This list seems to have its share of “best-ever” position players, and Johnny Bench certainly fits that bill at catcher.

From the 1968 NL ROY to NL MVP awards in 1970 and 1972 to being the field general for the Big Red Machine, Bench is a bona fide baseball legend with unmatched pedigree behind the plate.

No surprise, then, that his cards remain popular even today, 35 years after his retirement.

This 1982 closeup, where Bench may be channeling a future version of Peyton Manning, shows JB near the end of his career.

Value: $35-45

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9) 1982 Topps Nolan Ryan 1981 Highlight (#5)

1982 Topps Nolan Ryan 1981 Highlight

In a career full of milestones and highlights, Nolan Ryan’s fifth no-hitter provided something extra special – a high note on which to (almost) end the strike-torn 1981 season.

Of course, it might have also seemed like something of a parting gift, or at least one the last few big moments The Express had left in his 34-year-old tank.

He would turn 35 in just a few months, after all, and was still considered by many to be a flamethrower and nothing else.

When Ryan finally hung up his spikes 12 full seasons later, though, he had built his legend as one of the greatest, most durable pitchers of all time, winning 300+ games, tacking on two more no-hitters, and shattering just about every strikeout record in the books.

The hobby noticed, too, and elevated Ryan to Karboard King status, forever installing him near the top of lists like this one. And, yeah, even “highlight” cards like this one regularly make the cut.

Value: $35-45

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8) 1982 Topps Mike Schmidt (#100)

1982 Topps Mike Schmidt

Mike Schmidt was just the greatest third baseman of all-time, and many folks had already come to that conclusion by the time his 1982 Topps card hit collectors’ hands.

Two NL MVP awards, a string of Gold Gloves, plenty of postseason glory, and scads of monstrous home runs tend to elevate your profile, after all.

Schmitty’s cards went right up the ladder with him, and today this portrait shot — while maybe a bit goofy — is a popular snapshot from his prime.

Value: $35-45

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7) 1982 Topps Pete Rose (#780)

1982 Topps Pete Rose

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Pete Rose was a vital part of the baseball landscape during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

By the time this 1982 Topps card found its way to collectors, Rose was well into his tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies after a storied run with his hometown Cincinnati Reds, and Charlie Hustle had built a huge fan base all across the country.

Many of his supporters remain convinced today that the all-time Hit King belongs in the Hall of Fame, and that support — along with the controversy that continues to follow Pete — keeps his cards near the top of hobby price lists.

This 1982 issue, featuring a crouching Rose at first base, shows the legend as he prepared for the stretch run of his career.

Value: $35-45

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6) 1982 Topps Nolan Ryan (#90)

1982 Topps Nolan Ryan

By 1982, most fans thought Nolan Ryan was heading ’round the bend of his baseball career at age 35 … little did we know all the thrills the big Texan had left in his holster.

More strikeouts … more no-hitters … more wins … more punches to Robin Ventura‘s head.

All of it was still to come, and Ryan’s exploits well into the 1990s would drag his cards to the top of the hobby mountain.

This 1982 Topps card features the Astros rainbow, only adding to its popularity.

Value: $50-55

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5) 1982 Topps Dale Murphy (#668)

1982 Topps Dale Murphy

This card is ground zero for the Dale Murphy phenomenon, released just at the outset of Murphy’s absolute peak, beginning with National League MVP awards in both 1982 and 1983, culminating with a 44-home-run showing in 1987.

Unfortunately, it was a pretty quick decline from there, as Murphy’s power and on-base numbers spiraled downward through his mid-30s.

By then, though, he was a hobby legend, and his cards – including this history-laden 1982 Topps issue – remain extremely strong in the modern market.

And, if Murph ever gets the call from Cooperstown, you can expect a resurgence in interest in his cards and collectibles.

Value: $50-60

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4) 1982 Topps Lee Smith Rookie Card (#507)

1982 Topps Lee Smith Rookie Card

Lee Smith does not have the most saves in baseball history … but he did when he retired in 1997.

And Smith didn’t strike out batters at the ungodly rates we see from today’s “high-leverage” relievers doing, but he did just fine with his 8.5 per nine innings over the course of an 18-year career.

Mostly, though, Smith stands as one of the more intimidating late-inning mound figures of the last 40 years, helping to redefine the role of closer during his years with the Chicago Cubs in the 1980s.

And, for all that dominance, Smith eventually reaped baseball’s highest individual honor – a Hall of Fame plaque – in 2019.

Not surprisingly, his elevation to Cooperstown status also carried his cards into the hobby stratosphere, led by his classic 1982 Topps rookie card.

Value: $60-65

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3) 1982 Topps Tom Seaver (#30)

1982 Topps Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver was once a phenom, and he more than lived up to the hype — among Seaver’s hardware were the 1967 NL Rookie of the Year award and Cy Youngs in 1969, 1973, and 1975.

That first CYA helped the awful New York Mets turn into the Amazin’ Mets who won the 1969 World Series, and Seaver’s second Cy Young season helped the Mets get to the 1973 Series.

A 300-game winner who also pitched with the Cincinnati Reds (and a handful of other teams at the end of his career), Tom Terrific is an all-time great whose cards remain popular all these decades later.

His 1982 Topps shows a pensive Seaver during an interview — maybe answering questions about his future Cooperstown hat choice?

Value: $60-70

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2) 1982 Topps Rickey Henderson (#610)

1982 Topps Rickey Henderson

In the spring of 1982, when this third-year Rickey Henderson card was issued, The Man of Steal was not quite yet The Man of Steal.

Sure, he had swiped 100 bases in 1980, before the 1981 strike sapped everyone’s numbers, but 1982 was the year he’d break Lou Brock‘s single-season record by stealing 130.

From there, it was a 20-year sprint to the Hall of Fame for the man many consider the best leadoff hitter of all-time — no one combined Henderson’s speed, patience, power, and hot-dogness with such aplomb.

This popular 1982 Topps card shows Rickey in his element — wreaking havoc on the basepaths.

Value: $60-85

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1) 1982 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card (#21)

1982 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card

Cal Ripken, Jr., came on the baseball scene with a lot of hype as the son of a Major League coach and a big second-round shortstop out of high school who only seemed to get better as he climbed the minor league ladder.

The Iron Man lived up to his billing right away and never really stopped: 1982 American League Rookie of the Year, 1983 AL Most Valuable Player award, 1991 AL MVP, The Streak, a plaque in Cooperstown.

Along the way, Ripken lifted his cardboard into hobby stardom, too, beginning with his 1982 Topps base rookie card that he shared with Bobby Bonner and Jeff Schneider.

Once the absolute hottest card in the hobby, this classic RC remains among the most valuable of the 1980s.

Value: $125-150

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Honorable Mention

A couple of players who did some nifty work during the 1981 season would go on to become absolute hobby monsters ten years or so down the road.

The 1982 Topps set gave collectors an extra dose (or two) of those guys PLUS a few other interesting twists and turns that bear mentioning.

So we will — behold, our honorable mentions …

6) 1982 Topps Nolan Ryan – ERA Leaders (#66)

1982 Topps Nolan Ryan - ERA Leaders

Yes, Nolan Ryan was the strikeout pitcher to end all strikeout pitchers (at least among guys who could muster more than a few innings at a clip like the 2020s models), but he also overcame an early wild streak to turn into a fine overall pitcher.

In fact, he was able to cop a couple of ERA crowns, including the National League title during the 1981 season … which led to this dream combo of Ryan and Steve McCatty.

Like all the clever lads who go on about the “Jerry Koosman rookie card,” this one gives all us wiseacres a chance to wax poetic about the McCatty leaders card.

Score.

Value: $20-30

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5) 1982 Topps Nolan Ryan – Astros Leaders (#167)

1982 Topps Nolan Ryan - Astros Leaders

For much of his career, Ryan carried a reputation as more of just a flamethrower than a bona fide ace, but he was still the front man for many/most of his teams.

And when his team-leading ERA coincided with Topps’ decision to issue team leader cards, the stage was set for more Ryan Express fodder for the hobby fire he would ignite in the early 1980s.

Value: $25-35

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4) 1982 Topps Rickey Henderson & Tim Raines – Stolen Base Leaders (#164)

1982 Topps Rickey Henderson & Tim Raines  - Stolen Base Leaders

Rickey Henderson is probably the greatest leadoff hitter of all-time, and he’s certainly the most prolific stolen base champion ever.

And, when you factor in the entirety of his career and all the records he owns, well, Rickey is right there in the upper echelon of Hall of Famers.

Meanwhile …

For most of his career, Tim Raines did pretty much all the same stuff that Rickey did, just not quite as well or loudly. In many ways, he toiled in Henderson’s shadow and gained a reputation as a sort of scaled-down version of the SB king.

That’s a pretty fair assessment, too, because Raines wasn’t quite Rickey’s equal – but he was *still* good enough to snag his own Cooperstown plaque.

Put them together on one card, and you have hobby gold … but don’t blink, or you’ll miss it speeding past.

Value: $30-35

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3) 1982 Topps Rickey Henderson – A’s Leaders (#156)

1982 Topps Rickey Henderson - A's Leaders

Not only did Henderson lead the AL in stolen bases in 1981, he also led the A’s in batting.

That feat landed him this dandy combo card with Steve McCatty, who looks upon his teammate approvingly.

Value: $25-45

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2) 1982 Topps George Foster All-Star (with autograph) (#342)

1982 Topps George Foster All-Star (with autograph)

This George Foster All-Star issue is sort of the opposite of the “blackless” 1982 cards – after all, it has *too much* black ink.

In particular, the Foster AS features a facsimile autograph, a feature generally reserved for each player’s base card in this set. But a relatively small number of Yahtzee’s #345 do indeed show up with a sig on front.

And, if there’s anything we’ve learned over the years, besides how great 1978 OPC gum still tastes, it’s that error cards featuring superstars are the bee’s knees.

Value: $35-45

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1) 1982 Topps Reggie Jackson All-Star Blackless (#551)

1982 Topps Reggie Jackson All-Star Blackless

This card is here as a stalwart representative of the 1982 Topps Blackless Bunch – cards that somehow missed the production stage when black ink was applied.

Some estimates have at least half of the 792-card checklist affected by this error, which you might rightly consider to be nothing more or less than a printing defect.

Seeing as how the rest of the card – aside from the black piping, facsimile signatures, and the like – is intact, though, and that plenty of stars are in play … and that the defective versions are pretty scarce … well, it’s not hard to see the appeal.

And, when you add in Reggie’s swagger, it’s no wonder this card makes our list.

Value: $500-500

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1982 Topps Traded

The hobby was skeptical of the 1981 Topps Traded set, but apparently enough of us eventually took the plunge to convince Topps that a second go-round in 1982 was warranted.

And, thanks to a strong crop of rookies making the jump from three-man “Rookie Stars” cards to solo RCs, plus some big names finding new homes, 1982 Topps Traded became the first late-year set to really take off in the secondary market.

Here are the top cards from this issue today …

5) 1982 Topps Traded Reggie Jackson (#47T)

1982 Topps Traded Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson was made for the big stage, and if it couldn’t be the Big Apple, well, Hollywood would be a fitting alternative.

So, when Reggie took his show to California before the 1982 season, you had to think there was some magic left in the old Mr. October bat, even if the glitz and glamor of the Yankees were behind him.

And Reggie reminded us right away – with another big power showing, and with this full-on movie star shot – that he was a fountain of limelight unto himself.

Value: $20-25

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4) 1982 Topps Traded Chili Davis Rookie Card (#23T)

1982 Topps Traded Chili Davis Rookie Card

Chili Davis is sort of a forgotten man among the many stars of the 1980s and 1990s, but the dude could mash.

And enough collectors remember Davis’ many contributions to the game for this classic card to hang around lists like this one.

Value: $20-25

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3) 1982 Topps Traded Kent Hrbek Rookie Card (#44T)

1982 Topps Traded Kent Hrbek Rookie Card

The Twins were a pretty bad team in the early 1980s, but they had a stable of promising young players coming up through the minor league ranks.

Hopes were rising, even if skepticism remained.

The mood turned sanguine in a hurry once big bats like Kent Hrbek made it to Minneapolis and started to deliver on all that promise.

Herbie may never make the Hall of Fame, but he’s a Twins legend, and his solo RC is still a collector favorite.

Value: $25-35

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2) 1982 Topps Traded Ozzie Smith (#109T)

1982 Topps Traded Ozzie Smith

There are few more iconic player-team combos than Ozzie Smith with the St.Louis Cardinals, and this was the first card to capture that marriage.

Long one of the most popular cards in this set, the 1982 Topps Traded Ozzie now stands as one of the decade’s most iconic cardboard relics … especially considering the Smith helped the Cards to a championship his first season (1982) in town.

Value: $45-55

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1) 1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card (#98T)

1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card

The first standalone Topps Traded set may belong to 1981, but the first card to really make the series a hobby burner belongs to 1982 … and to Cal Ripken, Jr.

By the time this first Topps single of Iron Cal made its way to collectors, his Rookie-of-the-Year-winning first season was in the books, and his three-man RC in the base 1982 set was a prized pull among collectors.

This card burned like a supernova when Cal won his second MVP award in 1983 and continued to streak across the hobby firmament as Ripken ran his consecutive-games streak into Lou Gehrig territory.

Today, the Topps Traded Ripken rookie card stand as one of the most valuable cards from the 1980s.

Value: $425-450

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