1988-89 Topps Hockey Cards Set Checklist, Details & Review

Neon and pushpins make this set stick around

The 1988-89 Topps Hockey Card set has a fun-looking design, some notable rookie cards, and a historically significant card, too. This was the third year in a row that Topps released a hockey set with 198 cards. In addition to the 198 cards, there are 33 insert stickers and 16 “box bottom” cards that were found in four-card panels on the bottom of display boxes. 

This set features bright colors and a quirky design elements. Notable rookie cards include Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Bob Probert. The Wayne Gretzky card is significant because it is the first hockey card to use a press conference photo, as Gretzky was traded from the Oilers to the Kings that summer, and a photo of Gretzky suited up with the Kings was not yet available. 

Basic Information 

Number of Cards in Set: 198 (24 RCs, 2 checklists)
Number of Insert Stickers: 33
Number of Box Bottom Cards: 16
Card Size: 2.5″ x 3.5″
Original SRP: 50 cents per pack
Pack Configuration: 12 cards, 1 sticker & 1 stick of gum
Box Configuration: 36 packs per box 
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1988-89 Topps Hockey Wrapper

1988-89 Topps Hockey Review

1988-89 Topps #51 - Darren PangPlayer Selection – 4 out of 5
Like the two Topps sets before this one, the 1988-89 release features 196 player cards and 2 checklists. Since it was sold in the United States, the focus is heavy on the 14 U.S. teams. American teams get around 8 or 9 cards each, while teams from Canada get around 4 or 5 cards each. 

The most notable rookie card in the set is Brett Hull. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – Hull’s card was double-printed, meaning that his card (and thus the set) doesn’t sell for nearly as much as its O-Pee-Chee cousin.

Other star or superstar NHLers who have rookie cards in the 1988-89 Topps Hockey set are Joe Nieuwendyk, Pierre Turgeon, Brendan Shanahan, Sean Burke, Steve Duchesne and Bob Probert.

1988-89 Topps #120 - Wayne GretzkyAnother interesting aspect of the 1988-89 Topps Hockey set is how it dealt with the August 1988 trade of superstar Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky’s trade from Edmonton to Los Angeles was so close to production time that Topps could have just put a bit of text reading “Now with LA” on the front of Gretzky’s card and been done with it. Or they could have airbrushed a Kings jersey over his Oilers sweater. Or they could have done both, like O-Pee-Chee did to poor Mike Krushelnyski.

Instead, Topps did something unheard of at the time – it used a press conference photo, showing The Great One holding up the newly-redesigned L.A. Kings sweater. Considering that Topps Hockey cards were usually released in October each year, this was a good solution that would set a trend for years to come. The 1989-90 Hoops Basketball set used a press conference photo of highly-touted prospect David Robinson, since he hadn’t played an NBA game yet. Over the next two decades, press conference and publicity photos would be used quite frequently for players changing teams in the offseason.

1988-89 Topps #52 - Ron Francis

Card Design – 5 out of 5
Bright colors punch-up the design of the 1988-89 Topps set. At the top of the card is a push-pin – quite an unusual design element for a trading card – that “pins” a day-glow colored rectangle bearing the player’s name. A dotted drop shadow emanates from the rectangle and onto the player’s photograph. Also at the top are the player’s position and the team logo. Surrounding the design is a vibrant border – much like bright neon piping around the window at a hair salon, circa 1988.

The prominent use of the pushpin, drop shadow and bright colors make the set feel unserious. You’d expect a design like this to be used on trading cards for something like The Simpsons or Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. But all of this silliness actually makes the set feel, well, fun, also giving it a decidedly “Eighties” look. And we all loved the Eighties, right?

1988-89 Topps #1 - Mario Lemieux

Back Design / Stats & Info – 5 out of 5
In typical Topps fashion, everything you’d ever want to know about the player is squeezed onto the back of the card, including complete year-by-year statistics, last year’s playoff stats, height, weight, how acquired and so forth.

1988-89 Topps #1 - Mario Lemieux (back)

Of note are two particular bits of biographical information: “Last Amateur Club” and “Home.” Topps used to mention what the player’s last team was before they turned pro, as well as what city they live in during the offseason.

If Topps could fit all of this information on the back of a hockey card 20 years ago, why can’t newer companies like Upper Deck at least include a player’s complete statistics?

Rating 4 out of 5Sure, the Topps set has 66 less cards than its O-Pee-Chee counterpart. It is still a good set to own-if for any reason because of the Gretzky card, which uses a different photo than the OPC set. The design is colorful and fun, and yet not too cluttered. Rookie cards of Hull and Shanahan also make this a worthy add to any hockey collection.

Bonus
Here are 10 cards that are interesting for one reason or another.

1988-89 Topps #8 - Gilles Meloche8 – Gilles Meloche – Meloche looks poised for action. This was his last card released during his 17-year career. (back)

1988-89 Topps #13 - Marcel Dionne13 – Marcel Dionne – The last card released of the Hall of Fame center during his illustrious, 18-year career. (back)

1988-89 Topps #26 - Denis Savard26 – Denis Savard – One of the very few “game action” shots in the set, this shows Savard right after the face-off against Mark Johnson. (back)

1988-89 Topps #54 - Michel Goulet54 – Michel Goulet – Goulet appears to be laughing in this great candid picture. (back)

1988-89 Topps #66 - Brett Hull66 – Brett Hull – His rookie card. Notice that the Blues jersey has been painted on, as Topps probably only had a photo of him from the Flames. (back)

1988-89 Topps #107 - Tom Barrasso107 – Tom Barrasso – The Sabres goalie is wearing a batting glove on his right hand. He probably wore the glove under his trapper mitt during games for extra padding. (back)

1988-89 Topps #116 - Patrick Roy116 – Patrick Roy – Roy is wearing a towel around his neck. Perhaps he was the backup goalie the game that photo was taken. (back)

1988-89 Topps #120 - Wayne Gretzky120 – Wayne Gretzky – The Great One shows off the new Kings uniform at a press conference. (back)

1988-89 Topps #125 - Ed Olczyk125 – Ed Olczyk – A pre-game photo taken during the national anthems. Maybe Olczyk is looking up at the American flag? (back)

1988-89 Topps #160 - Roland Melanson160 – Roland Melanson – “Rollie the Goalie” takes a swig from his water bottle during a stoppage of play. (back)

1988-89 Topps Hockey Checklist

Base Set Checklist

Topps printed its cards on 132-card sheets, resulting in 132 of the 198 cards being single-printed and 66 cards being double printed and are found more frequently. Double-printed cards are noted as DP in the checklist below. 

Key
RC = Rookie Card
DP = Double Print

1 Mario Lemieux DP
2 Bob Joyce RC DP
3 Joel Quenneville DP
4 Tony McKegney
5 Stephane Richer DP
6 Mark Howe
7 Brent Sutter DP
8 Gilles Meloche DP
9 Jimmy Carson DP
10 John MacLean
11 Gary Leeman
12 Gerard Gallant DP
13 Marcel Dionne 
14 Dave Christian DP
15 Gary Nylund
16 Joe Nieuwendyk RC 
17 Billy Smith DP
18 Christian Ruuttu
19 Randy Cunneyworth
20 Brian Lawton
21 Scott Mellanby RC DP
22 Peter Stastny DP
23 Gord Kluzak
24 Sylvain Turgeon
25 Clint Malarchuk
26 Denis Savard 
27 Craig Simpson
28 Petr Klima
29 Pat Verbeek
30 Moe Mantha
31 Chris Nilan
32 Barry Pederson
33 Randy Burridge
34 Ron Hextall
35 Gaston Gingras
36 Kevin Dineen DP
37 Tom Laidlaw
38 Paul MacLean DP
39 John Chabot DP
40 Lindy Ruff
41 Dan Quinn DP
42 Don Beaupre
43 Gary Suter
44 Mikko Makela RC DP
45 Mark Johnson DP
46 Dave Taylor
47 Ulf Dahlen RC DP
48 Jeff Sharples RC
49 Chris Chelios 
50 Mike Gartner DP
51 Darren Pang RC DP
52 Ron Francis 
53 Ken Morrow
54 Michel Goulet 
55 Ray Sheppard
56 Doug Gilmour 
57 David Shaw DP
58 Cam Neely DP
59 Grant Fuhr DP
60 Scott Stevens 
61 Bob Brooke
62 Dave Hunter
63 Alan Kerr RC
64 Brad Marsh
65 Dale Hawerchuk DP
66 Brett Hull RC DP
67 Patrik Sundstrom DP
68 Greg Stefan
69 James Patrick
70 Dale Hunter DP
71 Al Iafrate
72 Bobby Carpenter
73 Ray Bourque DP
74 John Tucker DP
75 Carey Wilson
76 Joe Mullen 
77 Rick Vaive
78 Shawn Burr DP
79 Murray Craven DP
80 Clark Gillies 
81 Bernie Federko 
82 Tony Tanti
83 Greg Gilbert
84 Kirk Muller1988-89 Topps #93 - Mark Messier
85 Dave Tippett
86 Kevin Hatcher DP
87 Rick Middleton DP
88 Bobby Smith
89 Doug Wilson DP
90 Scott Arniel
91 Brian Mullen
92 Mike O’Connell DP
93 Mark Messier DP
94 Sean Burke RC
95 Brian Bellows DP
96 Doug Bodger
97 Bryan Trottier
98 Anton Stastny
99 Checklist
100 Dave Poulin DP
101 Bob Bourne DP

102 John Vanbiesbrouck
103 Allen Pedersen
104 Mike Ridley
105 Andrew McBain
106 Troy Murray DP
107 Tom Barrasso
108 Tomas Jonsson
109 Rob Brown RC
110 Hakan Loob DP
111 Ilkka Sinisalo DP
112 Dave Archibald RC
113 Doug Halward
114 Ray Ferraro
115 Doug Brown RC
116 Patrick Roy DP
117 Greg Millen
118 Ken Linseman
119 Phil Housley DP
120 Wayne Gretzky
121 Tomas Sandstrom
122 Brendan Shanahan RC
123 Pat LaFontaine
124 Luc Robitaille DP
125 Ed Olczyk DP
126 Ron Sutter
127 Mike Liut
128 Brent Ashton DP
129 Tony Hrkac RC
130 Kelly Miller
131 Alan Haworth
132 Dave McLlwain RC
133 Mike Ramsey
134 Bob Sweeney RC
135 Dirk Graham DP
136 Ulf Samuelsson
137 Petri Skriko
138 Aaron Broten DP
139 Jim Fox
140 Randy Wood RC DP
141 Larry Murphy
142 Daniel Berthiaume DP
143 Kelly Kisio
144 Neal Broten
145 Reed Larson
146 Peter Zezel DP
147 Jari Kurri
148 Jim Johnson
149 Gino Cavallini DP
150 Glen Hanlon DP
151 Bengt Gustafsson
152 Mike Bullard DP
153 John Ogrodnick
154 Steve Larmer
155 Kelly Hrudey
156 Mats Naslund
157 Bruce Driver
158 Randy Hillier
159 Craig Hartsburg
160 Rollie Melanson
161 Adam Oates DP
162 Greg Adams DP
163 Dave Andreychuk DP
164 Dave Babych
165 Brian Noonan RC
166 Glen Wesley RC
167 Dave Ellett
168 Brian Propp
169 Bernie Nicholls
170 Walt Poddubny
171 Steve Konroyd
172 Doug Sulliman DP
173 Mario Gosselin
174 Brian Benning
175 Dino Ciccarelli
176 Steve Kasper
177 Rick Tocchet
178 Brad McCrimmon
179 Paul Coffey
180 Pete Peeters
181 Bob Probert RC DP
182 Steve Duchesne RC DP
183 Russ Courtnall
184 Mike Foligno DP
185 Wayne Presley DP
186 Reggie Lemelin
187 Mark Hunter
188 Joe Cirella
189 Glenn Anderson DP
190 John Anderson
191 Patrick Flatley
192 Rod Langway
193 Brian MacLellan
194 Pierre Turgeon RC
195 Brian Hayward
196 Steve Yzerman DP
197 Doug Crossman
198 Checklist

Sticker Inserts Checklist

Inserted one per pack. Stickers 1-12 are of All-Star Team players. Stickers 27-33 are team logo stickers. The team logo stickers are identical to the team logo stickers issued in packs of 1987-88 Topps Hockey and have a 1987 copyright date on the back even though they were issued in 1988. Stickers 27-33 have two variations: either the logo is at the top and the numbers are at the bottom or the number is at the top and the logo is at the bottom. 

1 Luc Robitaille
2 Mario Lemieux
3 Hakan Loob
4 Scott Stevens
5 Ray Bourque
6 Grant Fuhr
7 Michel Goulet
8 Wayne Gretzky
9 Cam Neely
10 Brad McCrimmon
11 Gary Suter
12 Patrick Roy
13 Toronto Maple Leafs
14 Buffalo Sabres
15 Detroit Red Wings
16 Pittsburgh Penguins
17 New York Rangers
18 Calgary Flames
19 Winnipeg Jets
20 Quebec Nordiques
21 Chicago Blackhawks
22 Los Angeles Kings
23 Montreal Canadiens
24 Vancouver Canucks
25 Hartford Whalers
26 Philadelphia Flyers
27 New Jersey Devils (VAR: Logo at top)
27 New Jersey Devils (VAR: Logo at bottom)
28 St. Louis Blues (VAR: Logo at top)
28 St. Louis Blues (VAR: Logo at bottom)
29 Minnesota North Stars (VAR: Logo at top)
29 Minnesota North Stars (VAR: Logo at bottom)
30 Washington Capitals (VAR: Logo at top)
30 Washington Capitals (VAR: Logo at bottom)
31 Boston Bruins (VAR: Logo at top)
31 Boston Bruins (VAR: Logo at bottom)
32 New York Islanders (VAR: Logo at top)
32 New York Islanders (VAR: Logo at bottom)
33 Edmonton Oilers (VAR: Logo at top)
32 New York Islanders (VAR: Logo at bottom)

Box Bottom Cards Checklist

Box bottom cards were issued in four panels found on the bottom of 1988-89 Topps Hockey cards. The first panel has cards A, B, C and D. The second panel has cards E, F, G and H. The third panel has cards I, J, K, L. The fourth panel has cards M, N, O and P. Note that these cards are very condition-sensitive, as many have shelf wear or were poorly cut apart by young collectors. 

A Ron Francis
B Wayne Gretzky
C Pat LaFontaine
D Bobby Smith
E Bernie Federko
F Kirk Muller
G Ed Olczyk
H Denis Savard
I Ray Bourque
J Murray Craven & Brian Propp
K Dale Hawerchuk
L Steve Yzerman
M Dave Andreychuk
N Mike Gartner
O Hakan Loob
P Luc Robitaille

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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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