While on a visit to my LCS in the Buffalo area, I came across a wax box that I haven’t seen before. It was smaller in size and had a different shape then other wax boxes of that era. Upon closer look, I found out that it was a box of 1988 Topps American baseball cards, also known as Topps UK minis. I did some quick researching of the product and found out that it was a small set and thought that this would be a fun rip. I bought the box and a few loose packs.
The box of 1988 Topps American Baseball cards had 48 packs. Each pack consisted of 5 cards and a stick of gum. The gum threw me at first because it was white. Apparently, gum that was made overseas didn’t have food coloring added at that time. The cards are smaller in size, 2 1/8″ x 3″. The set consists of 88 cards, including a checklist card. This product was made in Ireland and sold in Great Britain in 1988 and 1989. The cards were printed on white card-stock and feature a nice design. The front has a player photo with a thin red border, surrounded under a thicker white border. The team names are at the top of the card, using each team’s script that is on the uniforms. The player’s name and position is listed at the bottom. The back of the cards are very unique. The player’s 1987 stats and career stat total are listed and also features a cartoon of the player with a bio stat. Also, there is a baseball with the player’s signature. What makes the card backs unique, Topps included a rule or explanation of a baseball term on each card.
*** Finished this post almost two years later ***
A few weeks ago, I purchased another box of the 1988 Topps American baseball cards or UK Minis. I remembered writing a post and when I went to look for it, found that it was still sitting in the draft folder. Life sometimes gets in the way and I became busy with other things. I started writing this post in June of 2018, but just finished it this week. My interest was peaked again when Matt of the Wax Ecstatic podcast started talking about these card. I highly recommend catching the show released on July 3rd that features this set. Like all of his shows, Matt goes into great detail on the set and a few of the players of cards pulled.
This was an easy set to put together. I opened 40 or so packs from the original box that I purchased and completed the set. The dupes are used for ttm requests or given to friends. This was a fun break and a great look back on a set that came out when I was just getting started in the hobby. This set was only produced for two years and for some reason, the 1989 version is harder to find. I have several packs from the 1988 box that I am keeping sealed in my wax collection. If anyone is working on the set, message me on here or twitter and I can help with some of the dupes that I still have.
Everyone needs a way to unwind after a busy day. A way to relax and unplug from our hectic lives. Everyone has their own way of doing this and to each, their own with whatever way they choose. For me, my method is something I like to call Cardboard Therapy.
I work 2nd shift-type hours and do not get home until late, so its usually quiet at home when I arrive. What better time to bust out my cardboard and work on my various collections as a way to unwind. Another perfect time for a cardboard session are Saturday mornings. Before we start our busy weekends, I like to have my coffee and play with my cardboard. And there’s always something that needs my attention. Whether its sorting cards, working on building a set or writing a few letters for TTM mailings, there’s always something that needs to be done.
Relaxation is important. We all need to unplug from our long days. For me, I find that thumbing through cards from my childhood is one of the best ways to do this. All these years later, Topps cards from the 80s still hold that intoxicating aroma of sugary gum and cardboard. When I hold a stack of these cards and take in a long breath, I’m instantly taken back to my childhood. They bring back a lot of memories. This is mostly the reason why I built the 1988 and 1989 Topps sets. They are very important to me and full of nostalgia. I love thumbing through the boxes, seeing the iconic photos and reading the backs of the cards.
For the last year, another part of Cardboard therapy has been TTM writing. I’ve been mailing cards to athletes in hopes that they send the cards back to me signed. I will research players that sign, make lists of the players that I want to send to and then search through the different boxes for their cards. I hand write both the letters and envelopes. This is something I like to do when I get home from work. The entire process takes some time. I often have several stack of cards that are in different steps of that process. I find all of this relaxing. The 87 Topps Jimmy Key card was my 1st TTM success.
Sometimes Cardboard Therapy can have a deeper meaning. This past summer, I experienced one of the worst situations to effect my family. This difficult time was hard for everyone and I chose to stay away from the hobby for awhile. There were more important things that needed my full attention. I was trying to deal with everything the best way that I could, but it was a difficult time. One day I was cleaning out my childhood bedroom, I found some old binders full of cards. Looking through the pages, I realized that these 3 x5 pieces of cardboard were helpful in another way. A lot of great memories came pouring back to me. I came across cards from my childhood that I forgot I had and found others that triggered many memories. Whether it was from a baseball game that my family went to in Toronto, or a stop at the card store with my Dad or the family trip to Cooperstown, those binders were loaded with a ton of great memories. A distinct one was from the very beginning of my card collecting. I remembered sitting behind my garage, opening a couple of packs that were given to me by my Mom. A lot of great memories came pouring back to me thanks to these 3 x 5″ pieces of cardboard.
Its funny how some of these photos on the cards stick out to you all of these years later. One that I will always remember is the 1989 Topps card #361 of Kelly Downs. This card is special to me and I will never forget it because of the green corrugated fencing in the background of this photo. We had the same plastic attached to our fencing in our backyard when I was little. I remember hitting whiffle balls off of it all of these years later. Its little things like that that always take us back to our childhood. I believe in Cardboard Therapy. Not only is it a wonderful way of decompressing at night, but it can have a deeper importance as well.