Thursday, April 9, 2015

Baltimore Colts' Card History Pt. 10...1982 & 1983 The Final Chapter

1982 Topps

The 1982 Topps set marks the beginning of the end of the once-proud franchise that was part of my very soul up to that point. With Frank Kush at the helm and a moronic drunk as owner the team stumbled to an 0-8-1 in a strike year that could have wiped out the whole season as far as I was concerned. They were coming off a 2-14 campaign that, as I recall, caused even my very religious aunt to take the Lord's name in vain.

Topps was celebrating their new-found ability to use NFL Logos and put the teams' helmet right there on the front of the card. In a set that numbered 528 cards the Colts got ten players and a team leader card. They were not given an In Action card for any of the included players nor did they have any All Pros. Like I said, it was a lousy time in Colts history.

The purple and yellow pennant containing the player name and position is at least a different color combo than what the Colts had been getting. Sideline and pregame shots dominated. The Bert Jones card is one of my favorites if I don't think too hard about the era it represents.

The card backs were fairly easy to read with the blue and gold motif. The players got stats, a fact blurb, and vital info. Some cards also had a team stat or record depending on whether or not the player stats allowed for the space.

The team leader card didn't have a checklist in the back this time. They listed the team's 1981 game-by-game results. Not pleasant reading for Colts' fans. On a positive note the Colts beat the Pats to open and close the season! The checklists were now back to being the traditional kind with the entire set listed on four cards which were the finals numbers in the set.

There was only one more year of Baltimore Colts' cards coming. Colt fans were beginning to hear rumblings of a possible move. Me? I was hoping the drunk jerk in charge would drive off a bridge.

1982 Fleer

Another year, another set of Fleer. By now everyone knows the drill....two cards showcasing the team, one for each of the Super Bowls they played in.

Fleer Stickers

There were a couple of different sticker inserts in the Fleer packs. I have a huge stack of Colts stickers but other than these with schedule backs it's hard to figure out which year they were distributed in. 

Topps Stickers

Topps produced another sticker set in '82. this one had yellow borders. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Kelloggs' Poster

This is my favorite '82 Colts item. I wasn't aware of these until I began this project. The players are 'generic' but the artwork is pretty good. The poster unfolds to about 8x10 inches.

I've scanned and posted the back of the poster even though it's hard to read. There is a Super Bowl 'Sweepstakes' that takes up most of it. These posters were issued for all the NFL teams (I assume) and can be found for less than $10. Mine was very cheap because it has a stain. But from the front you really don't even notice it as it appears to be part of the artwork.

1983 Topps

The last set of Baltimore Colts as issued by Topps were simple and, at least to my eye, attractive. No more pennants or banners. Just the team name that didn't overwhelm the photo and a name/position box. Red and yellow returned as the Colts' accent color. There were just eleven Colts cards including the leaders card. Topps had cut the set back to less than 400 cards. No Colts were featured on league leaders or season highlights cards. The checklists were once again at the end of the set and were not team specific.

The backs were done in red/pink combo and all the text/stats were sumperimposed on a team helmet silhouette. The usual info was enhanced with a 'personal data' blurb that listed such things as hobbies, marital status, etc.

The team leader card took on a slightly different appearance in '83. One player was featured and the other category leaders were listed to the right. The backs again listed the previous season's scores.

1983 Fleer

Fleer issued the usual suspects, a pair of team cards and the Super Bowl cards. I think that as a kid I'd have gotten really tired of the same old thing year after year.

Fleer Stickers

Nothing new with their stickers either. Except the updated schedule. 

Topps Stickers

Standard stickers from Topps. No color borders or special stickers, at least as far as the Colts were concerned.

The End of the Line

The spring of 1983 had brought the John Elway draft fiasco to Colt fans and it cast a pall over the season. But Colt fans hadn't seen the worst of it. Not by a long shot. Fulfilling the rumors that had swirled through Baltimore for years, in the early morning of March 29, 1984 the Colts snuck off to Indianapolis in Mayflower vans packed by members of U of Maryland's Sigma Chi fraternity. The amazing story of that move is chronicled here. And thus ended the life of my revered Baltimore Colts. I was working nights at the now defunct Houston Post in those days. I'll always remember my wife waking me up to watch the story as it was being reported on the Today Show.

This Baltimore Colts' card history project was conceived as a two post 'epic'. I was going to show one card from each year's set and be done with it. But after picking up so many interesting cards, particularly from the 50s and 60s, I knew that I wanted to do more. And along the way I kept coming up with inserts and oddball issues that grabbed my attention. I included them even if no one else had much interest.

I'm not done quite yet. I have added quite a few additional items to my Baltimore Colts binder and I'll post them in the future.


  1. Loved the football posts. Especially the oddball and inserts

  2. 1982 Topps football is one of my favorite football card designs. The helmet and bright colored pennants are a ingenious combination.

    As for those Kelloggs posters... I had never seen them until today. I'll definitely need to track down the Seahawks and Packers for my collection.

  3. I pretty much ignored football cards in the early Eighties... I guess having three baseball sets plus hockey was enough to keep me occupied year 'round. Anyway, my point is that I didn't discover these two Topps sets for something like 20 years, but I really like both designs. I'm guessing that it took some restraint on Topps' part to not play the "WE'VE GOT TEAM LOGOS!" card two years in a row.