After more than a decade of Topps Heritage sets, not to mention various other vintage-themed sets, baseball cards featuring current ballplayers on classic designs almost seems overdone.
In 1984, it was a novelty. Baseball Cards Magazine included a Dale Murphy card in the style of Topps’ classic 1953 set with its August issue that year, starting a trend that continued through 1993.
I say “baseball card,” but the “repli-cards” you got in the magazine weren’t exactly the same as the cards you’d find inside a wax pack made by Topps, Donruss or Fleer. Instead of the poly-bagged promo cards you might find bundled with some current magazines, Baseball Cards Magazine included an insert stapled (or glued) into the spine that was printed on thin cardboard. If you wanted your new collectibles to look like baseball cards, you had to be pretty good with the scissors when you cut them out from the panel.
Despite the New York Mets’ popularity in the mid-1980s, no Mets player appeared on a Baseball Cards Magazine card until 1989, when the set was expanded to 72 cards (six per issue). That year’s set was inspired by the 1959 Topps design. Six Mets were included:
- 1 Keith Hernandez
- 10 Gregg Jefferies
- 26 Darryl Strawberry
- 38 Kevin McReynolds
- 43 Dwight Gooden
- 71 Dinger Duo (Howard Johnson, Kevin Mitchell)
(I think I have the panel with the “Dinger Duo” card, but I wasn’t able to locate my partial set from 1989. I will have to scan it once I do find it or see if I can get a cut-out copy to put with the rest of my multi-year Mets team set.)