1981 Topps Reds Team Set
The 1981 baseball season is, unfortunately, best remembered for the ten-week players' strike that canceled 713 games and put America through a disorientating summer. The players' union walked out because the league's owners, worried about rising salaries, were trying to cut back on free agency.
Major league baseball eventually resumed, but under an unpopular "split-season" format. According to the format, those teams in first place before the strike began were declared first-half winners. The teams that finished atop their divisions after the strike would be declared second-half winners. The first-half winners would then play the second-half winners in divisional playoffs.
The format garnered more playoff revenue for the league, but it turned out to be an unfair and embarrassing creation. Cincinnati and St. Louis, the National League teams with the best overall records, didn't even make the playoffs.
This is the set that kick started it all. Made me the totally RAD guy I am today.
It all started with No. 600. The Johnny Bench. Greatest. Catcher. EVUH.
The team set starts out with Tom Hume standing alongside 2 of the best closers of the decade. And wearing less facial hair. What up Hume?
Next is Ron Oester showing off the shiny new batting helmet bought to make players happy enough not to strike.
Hector Cruz laughs. Why? Someone just said the Atlanta team was good.
Doug Bair doing what Doug Bair did best. Waiting to come in and make a save.
Harry Spillman ready for the weak grounder from some scrub named Horner on that Atlanta team.
Charlie Liebrandt in the windup that won ONE game in 1981. But he shares the same birthday as me. October 4.
Joe Nolan. Backup catcher No. 459 during the Late Johnny Bench years slaps a double off of Rick Reuschel of that Chicago National League team.
Dave Collins doing his best not to laugh at Reuschel.
George Foster. BAD. ASS.
Johnny Bench. Best. Catcher. EVUH. Record setting home run swing for most HR by a catcher in a lifetime. 58 year veteran Carlton Fisk later broke it. But it took 58 years.
Tom Seaver delivering another K to Rock rains. Notice the fluid motion of the delivery. How every part of his body is well balanced and centered.
Joe Price in motion to slide some stanky chedduh by the Cryin' Cubs "batter."
Ken Griffey. Senior. Can you get much cooler than this photo? Well, one man can.
Ray Knight laughing after being told the Chicago National League Guaranteed to Choke baseball team will make the playoffs.
Mario Soto smiling cause he knows J.T. is gonna try for a sweet fro like his. And fail.
Dave Concepcion ready to sow why he was known for his defense. Why this man is not in the Hall of Fame ranks up there with the injustice done to Dale Murphy. I can only shake my head.
Cesar Geronimo. Stealer. Of bases. Quick. And soon off to another team.
Tom Hume finishing his strikeout. Notice he is not like Marlins pitchers and looking at the outfield.
Junior Kennedy warming up.
Mike LaCoss. Not as bad as his 1989 Topps. That has got to be one of the greatest/worst photos ever.
Frank Pastore laughing because the photographer is a New York National League baseball fan. And admits it in public.
Paul Moskau after a night out with Mickey, Whitey and Billy.
ALL-STAR. Johnny Bench. Nuf Said.
Reds Future Stars. None stared. Bruce Berenyi looks lost or high. Geoff Combe was just asked if he was annoyed. Paul Hoseholder just saw something shiny. Might be a refractor prototype.
Vic Correll. Backup catcher No. 873 in the late Johnny Bench years.
Dan driessen ready to take the throw from Davey to get out that traitor Joe Morgan of the Giants.
THE GREATEST PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL TEAM.
Hope you enjoyed these cards. I know I did.