Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sets in My Collection: 1988 Topps Rite-Aid Team M.V.P.'s

Box for the 1988 Topps Rite-Aid Team M.V.P.'s set.
I am starting to run out of boxed sets from the 1980s in my collection to feature here on Sundays.  But I haven't run out yet, and this week we have the 1988 Rite-Aid set, Team M.V.P.'s (although as you see on the cards below, the punctuation is different on the cards as compared to the box -- on the cards, they're Team MVP's).  Rite-Aid is a local drugstore, from Camp Hill, PA, right outside Harrisburg.  Having grown up in a neighboring state to PA, we always had Rite-Aid around, and unlike most drugstore chains, they still exist to this day (although I think Walgreens is buying them, so maybe they'll disappear before long).
Mike Schmidt and Mike Dunne.
The set chooses one Team MVP from each team.  Mike Schmidt is an obvious choice for the Phillies, even towards the end of his career.  The 1987 Pirates finished 80-82 for fourth in the NL East, with a young Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla, and recently acquired Andy Van Slyke.  Rookie pitcher Mike Dunne was as good a choice as anyone else for the Team MVP, as he went 13-6 with a 3.03 ERA.
Andre Dawson and Daryl Strawberry.
Andre Dawson was also an easy choice for the Team MVP of the Cubs, given that he was the NL MVP in 1987.  Daryl Strawberry also had another good year for the Mets, topping 100 RBI and leading the team in home runs.
Pedro Guerrero and Cal Ripken, Jr.
The Topps/Rite-Aid people (really the Topps people, I'm sure) chose Pedro Guerrero for the Dodgers, as he led the team in home runs and RBI.  The 1987 Dodgers went 73-89, finishing fourth in the NL West.  They would have a big improvement, of course, for 1988, going on to win the World Series.  Cal Ripken, Jr. represents the Orioles here, although he's far from an obvious choice -- Eddie Murray and Larry Sheets had an equally productive year from an offensive perspective.  You can see that the Ripken card has a big crease through the top left corner; it's a bit strange, as I would have thought these cards mostly lived in their box.  I was 12 at the beginning of 1988, though, and while I mainly took care of my cards by then, it's not too surprising if I was careless at least once.
Paul Molitor and Kirby Puckett.
While we didn't really follow the AL, I knew about Paul Molitor for his hitting streak of 39 games in 1987, and I knew about Kirby Puckett from watching him help win the 1987 World Series.  Puckett hit .357 in the World Series, and .332 during the regular season, leading the AL with 207 hits.
Jeffrey Leonard, NLCS MVP, and Frank Viola, World Series MVP.
There were 26 teams at the time, and being a typical Topps boxed set, there were 33 cards.  So, they needed seven more cards to complete the set.  They chose to include one more pitcher from each of the four division champions, and then the ALCS, NLCS, and World Series MVPs.  Here we see the NLCS MVP Jeffrey Leonard, who was in the unusual (but not unprecedented) position of winning the MVP award while playing for the losing team.  I remember him hitting a home run in each of the first four games of the playoffs, and having a distinctive home run trot ("one flap down").  This enraged the Cardinals, and Bob Forsch beaned him in Game 3.  The Cardinals won in 7 games, but Leonard's performance was awesome.

1 comment:

  1. When Rite Aid merged with Eckerd some ten years ago, the Eckerd in my town became a Rite Aid even though there was another Rite Aid just across the street! Someone dubbed them "Rite Aid and Left Aid"!