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The Hunt For Red Oct… I mean Darryl Strawberry’s 1983 Topps XRC

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Ever since I returned to the hobby during the global pandemic, my collecting experience has felt like an endless treasure hunt. On this continuous journey for cardboard treasure hunts, I have searched for holy grail sets, classic 90s inserts, dope sub-sets, popular 2nd-year cards, and iconic rookie cards. During these treasure hunts, I have experienced pure nostalgia, utter disappointment, missed moments, and collective encouragement. Also, I have been very fortunate to experience more highs than lows. However, I would not change the experiences of disappointment or missed moments because they were only temporary… and sometimes, the silver lining in these unyielded treasure hunts has always led to me making an unexpected connection or finding a card or cards not on my radar.

Hence my treasure hunt for Red Oct… I mean Darryl Strawberry’s 1983 Topps XRC

Initially, my treasure hunt for Darryl Strawberry’s 1983 Topps XRC quickly turned into a pattern of dead ends. I started my treasure hunt like most collectors would by typing “Graded 1983 XRC Darryl Strawberry” in the eBay search box, and after multiple days of dead-end searches on eBay, I had no choice but to light the network beacon. However, my strategy of asking friends to be on the lookout for Darryl’s XRC at card shows did not pan out either. So, with two strikes in the 9th inning and no runners on base, I decided to search for Darryl Strawberry’s XRC the old-fashioned way—by hitting the pavement and going to one of my favorite places in the world, the local hobby store.

So, on a random Saturday morning, I started my search for Darryl’s 1983 Topps XRC at Knuckleball Sports Cards in Horsham, PA. I didn't know what this search would yield, but I had a tremendous amount of confidence in Steve’s cardboard inventory because, at the time of this treasure hunt, I had a perfect treasure hunt percentage at Knuckleball. Before I started my treasure hunt, I did a visual scan of the room because no matter how flashy modern cards become, certain cards from the '70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s will never get lost in this era of parallels and variations. After my visual scan, it didn't take long for me to notice Darryl’s esthetically pleasing and easy-on-the-eyes 1983 Topps XRC sitting in the main showcase near the cash register. As I walked toward the main showcase, marveling at Darryl’s card, I noticed from afar that the quickest treasure hunt I had ever experienced would be disrupted by a label I saw from the corner of my right eye.

My treasure hunt for Darryl Strawberry’s 1983 Topps XRC plot twist…

There I was, standing in the middle of Knuckleball Sports Cards with a single of Darryl Strawberry’s 1983 Topps XRC in my left hand and the complete set of the 1983 Topps Traded set in my right hand—I had a decision to make. This decision was nowhere near Indiana Jones's choice in the Temple of Doom bridge fight scene, where Jones had to decide whether to fight all the bad guys or take his chances with the crocodiles a hundred feet below. My decision centered around price and, more importantly, one of my hobby principles—leaving a card or cards behind for the next collector.

So, what hand did I choose to complete this treasure hunt?

Ultimately, I went with my heart and chose the 1983 Topps Traded Set, not because of quantity, but because the silver lining in this treasure hunt for the 1983 Topps Darryl Strawberry XRC gave me both a diamond in the rough and a whole cluster of gems. More importantly, I also had the opportunity to fulfill my love for collecting cardboard sets. Since I don’t remember ever hearing Indiana Jones saying a famous treasure hunter catchphrase in one of his movies, I’ll say what most people would say in similar moments like this…

Welcome home, card number 108T. I hope your stay in my PC is as memorable and nostalgic for you as it will be for me!

Keep Collecting,

Click the link to view the 1983 Topps Darryl Strawberry XRC picture!


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