Category Archives: 1982 Kmart

1982 Kmart Redux

The 1982 Kmart MVP Baseball card set that celebrate the 20th anniversary of Kmart’s 1962 opening includes what I think should’ve been the Fred Lynn rookie card (covered here). Also included is Kmart nostalgia (I still remember walking by those flashing blue light specials as a kid).

The set breaks down like this:

  • 41 cards of MVPs from 1962 to 1981. You’d expect the MVP cards to have an even number, but there are 3 in 1979. That’s the only year with a tie (Willie Stargell and Keith Hernandez – see here for more details on the voting).
  • 3 Highlight cards like this one:

1982 Kmart 044

  • 28 are of players featured in the 1975 set (including rookies and future MVPs: Jim Rice, George Brett, Keith Hernandez, and Fred Lynn)
  • Players with two cards in this set: Johnny Bench (1970 & 1972 MVP), Joe Morgan (1975 & 1976), Mike Schmidt (1980 & 1981), Pete Rose (1973 MVP and Highlight)
  • 26 are also in the 1975 Topps MVP subset, which have two photos per card (#200 to 212). But the Kmart cards have larger photos since there’s one photo per card:

1975 207

1982 Kmart 015 1982 Kmart 016

It’d be nice to own the original cards represented in these reprints

I don’t know how many were produced. I was able to find one clue here where a forum post noted 2,000 Kmart stores initially got from 576 to 1,152 sets per store. That amounts to between 1.1 to 2.3 million sets. Even a production run that was a fraction of that would explain why there’s still so many unopened packs

Kmart also made similar sets with different themes in four other years (all with 33 cards per set): 1987 Stars of the Decades, 1988 Memorable Moments, 1989 Dream Team, 1990 Superstars. The Wrigley Wax blog has a good overview of them all here.

Kmart also made a 726 card OPC set in 1980 but I don’t know much about it (other than they’re available on eBay in cello packs for cheap):

1980 Kmart

The Kmart cards may not have much value, but card collecting doesn’t have to be about value. If all cards cost 10 cents, I’d still collect them. And wouldn’t that make collecting a lot easier?

1982 Kmart Baseball Cards

One of the cool things about collecting cards is finding something shiny that leads you down a new path. I was scanning eBay listings and saw a glitch in my matrix, a Fred Lynn card that was unlike any other I’d seen:

1982 Kmart 027

It wasn’t the #622 Fred Lynn rookie card photo I was used to (which just looks wrong):

1975 622

It shouldn’t have shown up in my search, but it was mislabeled (lucky me). It was part of the 1982 Kmart 20th Anniversary AL & NL MVP’s Baseball Picture Cards Bubble Gum Collector’s Series.

1982 Kmart Box Front
Kmart box front

This set was co-branded with Topps – marked as a limited edition. Limited is ironic, I found hundreds plus a lot of unopened packs. Turns out the set was a precursor to the mass overproduction of the 90s. Awesome! Time for a vintage pack break that I could afford.

What I like about this set:

  • an actual complete rookie card photo of Fred Lynn that fixes a flaw in 1975 card history – and even future reprints don’t have this view
  • includes one of (if not) the first 1975 tribute cards
  • it’s cheap… you can get a set for less than 5 bucks including shipping – there’s your blue light special
  • the experience of opening a pack of 44 “vintage” cards (complete with a stale stick of gum)

1982 Kmart Checklist

Back of box checklist

The 1975 Topps set is my favorite, but I’m not a fan of the shared four player rookie cards. The three rookies per card format in 1973 was pretty good, and then for some reason Topps started cramming in four tiny faces on a card in 1974. So this Lynn card rights that wrong and on its own made it worth getting the set. The only other ’75 reprint in the set is Joe Morgan:

1982 Kmart 028

Update: After I wrote this I found another blog post about this card from a while back