Let’s Open a Pack of ’87 Topps at a Starbucks in Michigan City

Topps Pack Outside

Let’s not ask what circumstances have led the author to a Starbucks in Michigan City. Let’s, instead, open a pack of 1987 Topps — i.e. the rarest sort of baseball card there is in human society — at that same Starbucks.

Opening the pack, we find that the quality of the gum has suffered over 25 years, and that there’s some glare for which the author didn’t account while taking the photo in question — because he has no idea what’s going on, is why:

Topps Pack Open

A special insert encourages the author to collect five other inserts, for an opportunity both to (a) win a trip to spring training and, just before that, to (b) travel back in time to 1988:

Topps Spring Training

Of the 17 cards in the pack, no fewer than nine feature a player with a mustache:

Topps Mustachers

The year 1987 was left-hander Joe Sambito‘s final one in the majors — likely because he refused to remove his beloved batting glove while pitching:

Topps Sambito

If you can’t find Jim Slaton anywhere, maybe consider checking on his boat. I have it on good authority that he spends most of his time living there:

Topps Slaton




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


35 Responses to “Let’s Open a Pack of ’87 Topps at a Starbucks in Michigan City”

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  1. rotobanter says:

    no bawwy bonds eh?

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  2. Mr. Barfman says:

    Should have posted the players and ranked by career WAR.

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  3. Person says:

    I have reached the end of the post, still laughing at the gum.

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  4. Joe says:

    I remember opening multiple 1987 Topps packs and receiving about roughly 80 “doubles” of John Henry Johnson of the Brewers. There was nothing more humbling about collecting baseball cards than opening a 1987 Topps pack and rather than finding Jose Canseco or Wally Joyner only to find John Henry Johnson. I hate John Henry Johnson.

    +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • psychump says:

      I grew up in Sonoma and collected John’s cards (and Dan Briggs as well) Went to his first game and he won it 1-0! If it wasn’t for Jim Kern turning him on to drugs he would have been a very good pitcher.

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    • B N says:

      Yah, I have to think that the old Topps packs were not entirely random in their card placement with respect to the batches that got shipped off geographically back in those days. I never ran the stats (having not learned stats until at least a decade later), but I had more cards that I had 5 of than ones I had 3 or 4 of.

      For example, I had 5 Bruce Sutters from one year and 5 Lance Blankenships from another year. One of these things is not like the other. However, as a kid, who gets excited about pulling a reliever (even a good one)? Every time, it was like “Bruce Sutter? Again? At least it’s not Blankenship…”

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  5. sox2727 says:

    Never go to a Starbucks in Michigan City…or Michigan City…

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    • gnomez says:

      The single best reason to go to Michigan City is to find a way to get out of Michigan City. Actually, that pretty much can be applied to The Region as a whole, unless you’re just passing through on the highway.

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  6. Big Jgke says:

    Dayn Perry would have eaten that gum, coward.

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  7. Meth Mandman says:

    1987: When men lived on boats and baseball cards were made out of solid oak.

    +17 Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Byrne says:

    by Michigan City I assume you mean Michigan City, IN. There are only 3 reasons to go to Michigan City, IN. The lake, the casino, or the large state prison. So who were you visited in the steel bar hotel?

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  9. Matt says:

    Carson, if you’re in Michigan City still you have to go to Shoreline Brewery. Fantastic beer. Order a Stella Blue.

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  10. Joebrady says:

    Why would anyone want to open up 1987 Topps packs? It’s an awful looking card, with no discernable value.

    -28 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Phrozen says:

      False. For example, the value in knowing Jim Slaton’s potential wherabouts, while inherently small, is definitely discernable.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Ian G. says:

    Ah Ken Phelps, before he was internationally renowned as a “Seinfeld” punchline.

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  12. Jeff says:

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but the ’87 Topps were my favorite of all the baseball cards I collected when I was a kid. I went back and looked at my cards. I have 5 Joel Youngblood cards from the Giants for some reason. And yes, I also had the Sambito card. I instantly recognized it when I saw it.

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  13. Choo says:

    Much to the discomfort of his teammates, Jim Gantner spent the first three weeks of every spring training disguised as a socially awkward man named Butterscotch.

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  14. reillocity says:

    An excellent touch in photoing the wood-panel-bordered cards on a wood table – you even managed to roughly align the grain of the table with the grain of the card border.

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  15. My favorite thing about the Jim Gantner card is that it’s a reverse negative: something the companies usually caught and corrected, even in subsequent print runs. Poor Jim, for whatever reason, was allowed to be backward forever.

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  16. dp says:

    The most important question here, Cistulli, is this: do the cards still carry the faint scent of etherized bubble gum?

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  17. Erik Archer says:

    another street name for cocaine is ’89 Upper Deck

    +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Bob McClure says:

    Hi, I’m Bob McClure! You might remember me from such baseball teams as the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, and Montreal Expos.

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. MajorDanby says:

    you should make this into a series – open up packs from different years and provide us insight into what you find.

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  20. DavidJ says:

    So what were the other six cards?

    And I second the idea of making this into a series.

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  21. Sorry says:

    SEO doesnt work like that.

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  22. CFO of Nome says:

    All these years I played home run. Whoever had the one player with the highest career home run total won both packs. I should’ve been playing mustache.

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  23. Dan Gladden says:

    World series champions Keith Atherton and George Frazier

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  24. Bule Dement says:

    1987 Topps was the best.

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