Category Archives: 1985 Topps 1st Draft Pick Subset

My 1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick Subset Is Complete!!!


It took a little longer than I had expected, but I have completed my 1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick subset.  I posted each card individually for you with some insight as to how these guys and their professional careers panned out.  Some were impressive while others did not get the job done…

And even though the ranking of #1 pick connotes greatness, it is very obvious that it takes a very rare player to meet or exceed the expectations of this title.  Of this group of players, only 2 met the expectations – Darryl Strawberry and Harold Baines.  Each had very impressive careers, and were multiple time All-stars.  Of the remaining guys, Shawon Dunston, Bob Horner, and Mike Moore also fared pretty well in the majors yet fell short of what is expected of a player selected first in their draft class.  The rest of the guys may have shown flashes of greatness from time to time, but were definitely not able to achieve what was expected of them.

Here is the complete set:

Draft Set Complete 1

Draft Set Complete 2

And now that this subset is complete, I am ready to take on the next one!!  I have a few ideas…. Stay tuned!!!


1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Tim Belcher

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Tim Belcher

Drafted by the Minnesota Twins with the first pick in the 1983 baseball draft, Tim Belcher never suited up for the Twins major league ball club.  He was drafted  again with the first pick the following year by the New York Yankees but never played for them either.  He was taken back by the A’s as a compensation pick later in ’84 and still never played a game for them.  Finally, 4 years after being drafted Belcher was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers where he finally made it to the big show.

Belcher’s rookie season of 1988 was pretty impressive.  He started 27 games for the Dodgers and finished the year with a 12-6 record.  He finishe 3rd for the National League Rookie of the Year award behind Chris Sabo and Mark Grace.  But, it was Belcher who ended up having the more memorable year – his Dodgers team won the 1988 World Series, and Belcher was the hero of Game 2 as he picked up a win over the mighty Oakland A’s team.

Tim Belcher’s career record of 146-140 is Ok.  Ok by normal baseball standards, but not of someone selected as the first player in the draft!!!  He was never an All-star.  He never competed for a Cy Young award.  He never reached the 20-win milestone.  Tim Belcher was a good pitcher, just not worthy of the #1 pick!!!

85T Belcher

4 out of 10.  Points earned for being a member of a World Series championship team.  Additional points earned for eclisping the 100-victory mark and for finishing 3rd in the ROY voting.

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Shawn Abner

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Shawn Abner

Very few players can live up to the expectations of being a #1 draft pick in any sport.  Those that do, quickly become sport royalty.  Those that don’t, typically suffer constant criticism and hardly live up to any of the lofty goals their drafting team had for them.  Now add the part about being drafted by a New York franchise and BOOM!!!  More hype, more media, more craziness.  More, more, and more…

Shane Abner was in this class.  The #1 draft pick of the 1984 baseball draft, Abner remained in the Mets farm system for two years prior to being dealt to the San Diego Padres in an 8-player deal.  Abner never suited up for the Mets, and he finally made his major league debut in 1987, 3 years after being tabbed as the game’s top prospect.

Abner managed to play in 6 big league seasons.  He played for 3 different clubs in that time and never hit the 100 games mark in any of those years.  He is a lifetime .227 hitter and his resume boasts 11 home runs, 191 hits, 71 RBI, and 6 stolen bases.

85T Abner

1 out of 10.  1 points earned for being selected as the #1 pick. 

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Shawon Dunston

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Shawon Dunston

Dunston had a cannon for an arm, and when controlled was throwing out baserunners that very few infielders could catch.  And while his speed gave him great range at shortstop, his wild arm sometimes got him into a bit of trouble too.  Dunston committed 205 errors during his professional career, and committed 12 or more errors 12 times.

Offensively, Dunston was able to hold his own against other shortstops in the league.  While not being known as a great contact or power hitter, he did show flashes of both skills quite often.  Dunston finished his career with a lifetime .269 batting average and 1,597 total hits.  His power numbers were decent as he collected 292 doubles and smacked 150 home runs.

Dunston was a 2-time All-Star. 

85T Dunston

6 out of 10.  Points earned for being a 2-time All-star and for collecting 150 home runs, 1,500+ hits, and stealing 212 bases. 

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Mike Moore

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Mike Moore

 Wow, what could have been….

Mike Moore was a very highly touted rookie during the 1982 baseball season.  Unfortunately, his debut campaign did not go as planned as he finished with a 7-14 record while starting in 27 games.  Moore had the stuff, but he was young and the Mariners offense did not offer a ton of run support when he or any Mariners pitchers took the mound. 

Still, Moore was a very talented pitcher, and ended up having a pretty solid career.  Marred with some very lofty double-digit loss seasons early in his career, Moore eventually turned it around and rebounded during the second half of his 14-year career to end up with a decent record.  Compiling a 161-176 career record, Moore ended up having 8 double-digit win seasons along with 11 double-digit loss seasons.

In his best season, 1989, Moore finished in 3rd place for the American League Cy Young award.  With a potent offense supporting him, Moore finished the year with a 19-11 record and a very low 2.61 ERA.  He helped lead his team into the playoffs and to the eventual World Series title that year.  During those ’89 playoffs, Moore started 3 games and won them ALL!!  He threw 20 innings, struck out 13 batters, and compiled a very low 2.08 ERA.

85T Moore

Overall ranking – 6 out of 10.  Points earned for eclipsing the 100 wins total and winning the 1989 World Series.  Points lost for having a losing record. 

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick Subset – 8 Cards Into It!!!

It’s official!!!  I now own 8 cards of this set and I’m 66% of the way to the finish line!!!

I probably could have completed this set by now, but my strategy while going after this set was a little different from others I have collected in the past. You see, I am collecting these in sequential order(imagine doing that with a base set, no thanks!!).  I could use the card numbers on the back of the card to do this, but for me it has been more fun to focus on the set and what it’s importance is.  On the upper-left hand side of the card along with the #1 Draft Pick logo is the year that the player was drafted.  So my goal when starting this little 12-card subset was to not only get them all and learn about the guys featured but to also get them in the order in which they were drafted.  So that’s what I’m doing…

And now onto the first 8:

Draft Set 8 cards

Just 4 more to go…

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Darryl Strawberry

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Darryl Strawberry

What can I say, Straw was the man!!  Of all of the cards in this 12-card set, I believe that this is the highlight.

Darryl Strawberry made an immediate impact on the sport during his debut in 1983.  The league’s Rookie of the Year played like a seasoned veteran and quickly became the centerpiece of the New York Mets and their championship roster.

Equipped with the perfect blend of speed and power, Straw’s talents landed him on 8 consecutive All-star teams while he and the Mets took baseball by storm.  His career home run total of 335 and stolen base count of 221 along with his 1,000 career RBI show just how versatile and steady he was.

Strawberry had his share of setbacks during his career that didn’t allow him to become the MVP that he had the talent to be.  Yet he still found himself as a member of 3 World Series Championship teams!!!

85T Strawberry

Overall ranking – 9.5 out of 10.  Points earned for eclipsing the 300-HR mark and 200 steals plateau.  More points for 8 All-star nods and his amazing count of 3 World Series championship rings.   1/2 point deduction because there is still that lingering thought of ‘What Could Have Been’.

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Al Chambers

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Al Chambers

 Al Chambers had a very brief major league baseball career.  And although he played for the Seattle Mariners for three seasons, he only appeared in 57 games. 

While with the Mariners, he split time between the outfield and designated hitter.  And in those 57 games, Chambers collected 25 hits, 2 home runs, and 11 RBI.

Quite a bust for a #1 pick, huh????

85T Chambers

Overall ranking – 1 out of 10.  1 point earned for being the #1 draft pick.

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Bob Horner

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick – Bob Horner

Bob Horner did exactly what was expected of him during his rookie season. 

With the tag of  ‘#1 Pick’ following him everywhere he went, Horner stepped up to the challenge and won the league’s Rookie of the Year award.  In that 1978 season, Horner played in just 89 games but his numbers were solid enough to be tabbed as the top rookie.  He smashed 23 home runs, collected 63 RBI, scored 50 runs and hit .266 in his rookie campaign.

In his career, Horner would be known as a power hitter.  With 218 homers in 10 major league seasons, including (3)30+ efforts, Horner was a fan favorite for his ability to deliver the long ball.

Horner made the All-star team once in his career, during the 1982 season.

 85T Horner

Overall ranking – 7 out of 10.  5 points earned for being a Rookie of the Year winner and additional points for 200+ home runs and making 1 All-star team.

1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick Subset – 5 Cards Deep

 I am now 5 cards into this subset, and it has been fun to recap these guys and their careers.

A little less than 1/2 way complete, this set offers a great mix of some of the most talented kids to have ever played the game.  And while not all, or not many, of them reached what was to be their full potential in the major leagues, this set offers a glimpse of the full spectrum of what happens to the players given the tag as the ‘#1 Draft Pick’.

5 down, 7 to go!!!


Draft Set 5 cards