i recently introduced my mini collection focusing on my favorite cards from each year that i've been a collector. the basic gist is that i wanted to create a space for the cards that i most appreciated having in my collection in the year that they were released. these were cards that i acquired in the year that they were issued, and that i considered to be my favorites at the time. i have disallowed (most) cards that are already in other mini collections in order to avoid having a mini collection consisting of more steve garvey, double plays, and dodger stadium cards.
1981 was a big year for card collectors everywhere. the addition of donruss and fleer to the landscape added a variety of cards to chase and collect. but that wasn't all that i was excited about that year.
favorite non-dodger card: topps traded fred lynn
after all of the excitement of having three card sets to build, i was floored by the unexpected arrival of a second topps set in 1981. my dad gave me the traded set for christmas and it was the highlight of my gift pile. i quickly went through the set looking for a dodger card of ken landreaux and then landed on this card of fred lynn. growing up where i did, i was exposed to both angel and dodger broadcasts. as a result, i developed a level of fandom for the halos, with don baylor being my first favorite non-dodger player. i began to drift away from the angels a bit when billy martin landed in oakland, but i was still pretty excited when the angels acquired lynn from the red sox in a big trade prior to the 1981 season. and, even though 1981 was kind of a lost season for him, i was pretty sure that lynn, along with don baylor, bobby grich, and rod carew, would deliver a championship for gene autry. when the angels picked up reggie jackson for the 1982 season, i was even more certain. they came close that year, but never did get it done for the singing cowboy.
favorite dodger card: fleer fernand(o) valenzuela
the craig/graig nettles fleer error was a big chase card in 1981, but on my street, we were all looking for the fernando valenzuela rookie card that left off the "o" in fernando. sure, he was on a multi-player rookie card in topps, but fleer gave fernando his own card, and it was an error card at that. of course, there was never a corrected version, so it didn't create the same buzz as the nettles card (note - i did create a corrected card that should have been a long time ago). fernandomania began on opening day of the 1981 season as he took the mound in place of jerry reuss and shut out the astros. it continued for weeks as he went 8-0 in his first 8 starts, throwing five shutouts and seven complete games in that stretch. by then, i felt like the king of the neighborhood with this card in my collection.
up next, 1993. stay tuned.