In the 1980s and continuing into the early 1990s, Star Co. produced a bunch of small sets dedicated to one particular player.

They would usually have about 10 cards. One would be a checklist. Others would include the players major and minor league stats, All-Star and playoff performances, and career highlights.

They were sold as complete sets, and depending on the player they went from $5-$15 at the local card shows. (Some of the later sets were limited to 1,000 copies or less and were more expensive.)

Now, the common 1980s ones are nearly worthless — I bought Darryl Strawberry’s 1988 set for $1 at this month’s card show. The later, limited ones are priceless because there’s not enough demand to bring them into the marketplace in any number. If you see one and you want it for your player collection, pay the asking price — who knows when you’ll see it offered again.

The player selection is a bit strange. For the Mets, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez all had sets. So did Gregg Jefferies, which seems a bit odd now but back in the late 1980s he was a can’t-miss future star. Then there’s Kevin McReynolds — even in his MVP-caliber 1988 season, I just don’t remember him being all that popular.

Speaking of MVP seasons, take a look at the card on the left. Notice anything that seems a little bit off? Dodger fans should. Nobody tell Kirk Gibson. :)

If you were a player collector, you needed to get the Star Co. sets for your favorite player’s collection. They were an interesting novelty in an era when players had three regular cards, plus whatever All-Star, League Leader or Diamond Kings type cards they might appear on each year. (And the requisite oddballs, but I’ve always had a hard time with sets that weren’t standard card size.)

It was always a stretch to fit them in my budget as a teen — it was so much more tempting to buy packs of regular cards and have a huge stack to look through. I did end up getting the Carter set (and the Jefferies ones), but I passed on Doc & Darryl. I was happy to finally make up for one of those lost opportunities a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s what one of the card backs looks like. Nothing too special, but not bad back in 1988. Note that these were licensed cards, unlike some other cards available of late 1980s baseball stars.

So do you have any Star Co. player sets in your collection? Do you remember them and regret not buying them like I do? Or am I just crazy? ;)

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About Paul

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper in New Jersey. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

One response

  1. B W Daye says:

    6/25/10 –
    Dear Sir,
    I accidentally dropped an address book of mine and out popped a 1990 Darryl Strawberry NY Mets Baseball card – still in good condition. Not a Topps card, but it has all his stats from 1983 to 1989 on the back of it. What would you be willing to pay for this item OR do you have any contacts in the Charlotte, NC area who would pay for this card? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks much.
    B. W. Daye

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