Sunday, October 8, 2017

Recently Acquired Set: 1985 Circle K Home Run Kings

1985 Topps Circle K Home Run Kings box.
I have about two dozen or so of the old boxed sets from the 80s; I've been featuring them on posts here on Sundays.  As I have recently resumed collecting after 20+ years away, I've had to figure out what I am aiming to do by buying more cards.  Mostly, I view myself as completing my collection, adding things that either I couldn't find, didn't know about, or couldn't afford as a kid in the late 80s and early 90s.  I guess I never knew about this set, the 1985 Topps Circle K All-Time Home Run Kings boxed set.  Why I wanted it, though, is because it captures a pantheon of hitters that was important to me as a fan.  Mike Schmidt joining the 500-home run club was a huge moment in my baseball fandom.  My dad and I were at the game where they retired Schmidt's number a few years later, and I remember very well the commemorative program including a display of the club.  These were baseball's great power hitters, and that meant something.  Today's career home run list, in the post-steroid era, is completely meaningless, as far as I'm concerned.  But the people featured in this set were the real thing.
Hank Aaron.
To me, Hank Aaron is the greatest.  I only have a few "real" Topps cards of him (issued while he was still playing).  I mentioned elsewhere that I had three main ways of getting 1970s Hall-of-Famers while I was collecting: some, like Gaylord Perry and Don Sutton, were just cheaper, I guess because they were less popular; some cards I got were in poor condition; and, cards of players at the end of their careers were less expensive.  I have, for example, the 1973 Topps Hank Aaron, and two of the 1974 Topps Aaron tribute cards, but not much else of him.  I have a goal of getting at least one card of him from his prime, which I tentatively think will be his 1960 Topps All-Star card.
Willie McCovey.
Willie McCovey is another player I was able to get end-of-career cards for.  I have his 1977 and 1979 Topps cards.
Reggie Jackson.
Reggie Jackson finished just ahead of Schmidt; Jackson ended 6th all-time, and Schmidt ended 7th.  I have a variety of Jackson cards with the Yankees and the Angels, and some Score and Upper Deck tribute cards.  I have a goal of getting a few of him from his original run with the A's; I'm ordering his 1973 Topps card, and will plan to get a couple more.
Willie Stargell.
Willie Stargell ended his career with 475 home runs.  One legendary shot hit a ramp on the upper deck of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, and the Phillies marked the spot by hanging a star there.  Whenever my dad and I went to a game, we would check to see if we could see the Stargell star from our seats.  I have most Stargell base set cards from 1971 onward, but I'll be looking to add plenty more Stargell cards to my collection.
Mike Schmidt.
Here we have Mike Schmidt, the local hero.  When this set was created, based on the 1984 stats, he was in 19th place all-time, with 425.  He had a bunch left to hit, ending in 7th place with 548 in 1989.  I do have a number of Schmidt cards, including his 1973 rookie card and many cards from the 80s.  I'll be looking to add some more from the 70s (which were too expensive when I originally collected) and a bunch of 80s oddballs.
Lee May.
Like most Topps boxed sets, this was a 33-card set, and Lee May was 34th on the all-time home run list at the time.  He made the set because Topps apparently didn't have permission to include a card of Joe DiMaggio.  That's fine with me -- although I didn't know much about Lee May at the time, he's one of my favorite players today.  I have a few nice May cards, but I might want to add one more of him as an Oriole.
Back of the box, featuring the career home run leader list as of the end of 1984.
I'm glad to have added this set to my collection to commemorate the all-time home run leaders as of 1984.  In addition to being players who didn't use steroids to get their home runs,  I also appreciate that the cards themselves have a nice clean look, in the same style as the Topps mail-in All-Star cards.

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