(This is the seventh in our series of posts about the best baseball cards from the 1980s. Check out the rest of those posts here.)

If there is one thing I’ve learned from doing this series on the best base card from each 1980s baseball card set, it’s that I’m a sucker for a good catcher pasteboard.

There’s just something so baseball-y about a guy in full Tools of Ignorance running down a pop foul or eating dirt (and spikes) on a play at the plate or glaring back at the pitcher.

It’s gritty.

It’s grimy.

It makes you feel like you’re right there on the diamond.

I didn’t realize how much the cardmakers must have agreed with me until I started clicking through their early 1980s sets.

1982 Topps In Action Carlton Fisk

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Criminy! They’re just teeming with incredible catcher cardboard, and it’s been hard to resist sliding in another receiver at every slot.

Heck, it’s been hard not picking Gary Carter at every slot. Dude has some sick peak cards with the Montreal Expos.

I’ve kept things pretty well under control, though. Restraint and delayed gratification are powerful intensifiers, after all.

But here, where we’re considering the best card from the 1982 Topps set, there can be no more delay.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

The 1982 Topps issue has some great cards. They tend to sneak up on you, too.

As a kid, I never cared much for this design or many of the individual cards, but I like them more every time I look through them.

And considering that I’ve looked through them approximately 792 times now, well, I have a sort of low-grade love affair on my hands.

When you get down into them and really study them, the 1982s have a lot to offer. Like …

  • Innovative photos throughout
  • Unusual blue-on-green card backs
  • 1981 Highlight cards featuring some of the game’s biggest stars
  • Team and league leader cards
  • All-Star cards with actual stars on the cards (and star players, too)
  • Big-time rookies like Cal Ripken, Jr. and Daryl Sconiers
  • “In action” cards with really good action shots on them

And this last is where my catcher propensities come home to roost.

Dave Parker, Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Steve Carlton, Reggie Jackson — they’re all fabulous on their action cards.

Ron Guidry is stretched out 20 feet long and Tony Perez has swung his gosh-darn helmet off his head.

But the moment Topps turned the Carlton Fisk “In action” card (#111) on its side, the rest of the guys headed for the showers.

And when they plastered Fisk’s outstretched form, diving for all he was worth for an unseen baseball (or maybe the Topps logo?), all over the front of said card, the stadium lights winked out.

Game over.

1982 Topps In Action Carlton Fisk (back)

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That shot was taken during the strike-shortened 1981 season, Fisk’s first with the Chicago White Sox after a bitter divorce from the Boston Red Sox.

He had something to prove, whether he really did or not.

And he proved it.

That he could be an All-Star at the advanced age of 33 and with a new team.

That he could dive for any damn ball he wanted to — and probably catch it, too.

That he could hit for power.

Eventually, that he could play for another 13 seasons after the Sawx let him walk.

But mostly, that he had the best baseball card in the 1982 Topps set.

(This is the seventh in our series of posts about the best baseball cards from the 1980s. Check out the rest of those posts here.)

 

 

 

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