Friday, January 1, 2016

1985 Philadelphia Eagles Team Issue Set

Oddball football collectors love this type of issue, which was released at a time when Topps still had a monopoly on releasing a nationally-distributed yearly NFL football set (Fleer did release yearly sets during this time, but were only licensed to show action photos without mentioning player names).

One problem with the yearly Topps sets is that they were not large enough to include much depth within the rosters they chose for any given team; frankly, most casual collectors probably liked it that way. In Topps' 1985 football set, for example, only twelve cards were used to represent the Eagles, including their team card that featured an action shot of running back Wilbert Montgomery... And speaking of action shots, that team card is the only card out of twelve that features one. All of the eleven Eagles player cards feature tightly-cropped sideline shots. As a fourteen year old lad at the time, it was frustrating to see these boring cards endlessly come out of the wax packs I opened.

The Philadelphia Eagles themselves released a welcome alternative to Topps early in the 1985 season. Of course, as a young teen who lived in Deer Park, Texas, I didn't know the cards existed until several years later. These days, I'm thrilled to have a set in my collection. Consisting of a whopping 53 cards to make a complete set, there's room for just about anyone who did or didn't make the team that season. The cards are sized a generous 3 -7/8 inches tall by 2-17/18 inches wide, give or take 1/16th of an inch or so (the cards in my set vary quite a bit within that range). Medium-weight, semi-glossy cardstock was used. The vast majority of the fronts are occupied by large, color action shots with the player's name, position and uniform number printed across the bottom. Backs feature a fairly lengthy bio of the the player, and most cards include one or more obscure personal facts (did you know that Mark Dennard worked during the off-seasons as a loan officer at the First National Bank in Bryan, Texas?) The cards are not numbered except for player uniform numbers.

Of the 53 cards, 48 of them feature Eagles players. Quarterback Ron "Jaws" Jaworski, wide receiver Mike Quick, safety Wes Hopkins and running back Wilbert Montgomery are featured as expected. For the hardcore Eagles collectors, they may be just as excited to find cards of quarterbacks Dean May and Jeff Christensen, who were both cut before the 1985 season even began (May tossed exactly one pass in 1984 during his Eagles stint, while Christensen did absolutely nothing). Cornerback Andre Waters and linebacker Mike Reichenbach are featured two years before their Topps rookie cards were printed. 

The five non-player cards in the set include a helmet/header card, 1985 schedule card, Eagles logo card, and cards featuring team president Norman Braman and head coach Marion Campbell. 

The downside to this set is that no cards were made for two promising rookies -- quarterback Randall Cunningham and defensive end Reggie White. As the set was probably produced before the season even started, I'm guessing that no photos were available for these new players. Of the fourteen rookies who made the Eagles roster in 1985, not a single one is featured in this set.

I can tell you firsthand that this set ain't easy to find. I'm not sure how the Eagles originally distributed the cards, but there don't seem to be many of them floating around. My estimate for a current, fair market value would be in the $50 to $75 range.

Eagles Helmet/Header Card
(2) Mike Horan, P
(5) Dean May, QB
(7) Ron Jaworski, QB
(8) Paul McFadden, K
(11) Jeff Christensen, QB
(20) Andre Waters, CB
(21) Evan Cooper, DB/KR
(22) Brenard Wilson, S/CB
(24) Ray Ellis, SS
(25) Joe Hayes, RB/KR
(26) Michael Haddix, FB
(29) Elbert Foules, CB
(31) Wilbert Montgomery, RB
(32) Michael Williams, RB
(34) Hubie Oliver, FB
(39) Major Everett, FB
(43) Roynell Young, CB
(46) Herman Edwards, CB
(47) Andre Hardy, RB
(48) Wes Hopkins, FS
(51) Reggie Wilkes, LB
(52) Rich Kraynak, LB
(55) Mike Reichenbach, LB
(56) Jerry Robinson, LB
(58) Anthony Griggs, LB
(59) Joel Williams, LB
(63) Ron Baker, G
(64) Dean Miraldi, T
(65) Mark Dennard, C
(67) Gerry Feehery, C/G
(68) Dennis Harrison, DE
(71) Ken Clarke, NT
(73) Steve Kenney, G
(74) Leonard Mitchell, T
(79) Rusty Russell, T
(81) Kenny Jackson, WR
(82) Mike Quick, WR
(83) Tony Woodruff, WR
(84) Vyto Kab, TE
(85) Melvin Hoover, WR
(86) Gregg Garrity, WR
(87) Lawrence Sampleton, TE
(88) John Spagnola, TE
(93) Tom Strauthers, DE
(94) Byron Darby, DE
(95) Jody Schultz, LB
(96) Harvey Armstrong, NT
(98) Greg Brown, DE
Marion Campbell, Head Coach
Norman Braman, President
1985 Eagles Schedule Card
Eagles Logo Card

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