Playing against Pete Rose was often a painful experience for opposing teams.

And, sometimes, just pulling one of the man’s baseball cards could jab deep into a collector’s heart.

That all came home to roost in the summer of 1979.

If you were a Reds fan during that last season of the decade, you might have done well to avoid the Philadelphia area.

Or, if you just had to swing by for some brotherly love, foregoing the local Whopper experience was probably a good idea.

See …

Our baseball cards were already fraught with dangerous, gut-wrenching memories, thanks to two Rose cards in the 1979 Topps set, both showing him with the Reds, as usual.

Problem was, Pete had left behind the Big Red Machine in the 1978-79 offseason to sign a free agent contract with the Phillies.

And so, every time a Cincy fan or collector tore open a wax pack that summer, there was a decent chance of pulling out a cardboard hunk of pain, a reminder that the Machine was gone.

There was some solace in the fact that new manager John McNamara had the Reds back in contention in the old National League West, and that at least there were no baseball cards floating around out there showing Rose with the Phillies.

That latter was a double-edged sword, of course, as we already discussed.

And then, the other shoe dropped.

That summer, as the Reds scrapped for a division title and as Rose settled into his new climes, Topps and Burger King teamed up for the second year in a row, issuing two 23-card sets in specific areas.

One of the sets featured members of the New York Yankees.

And the other?

Yeah, it was a Philadelphia Phillies set, featuring a certain newcomer on card #13:

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

And, just like that, any illusion of Charlie Hustle still suiting up for the Reds was gone. Poof!

Despite the problems this card might have caused for the Cincinnati faithful over the years, and despite the confusion the BK cards have caused collectors in general (thanks to mix-ups with the Topps base cards, different numbers, etc.), this Rose card represents true hobby history … the first Topps card showing the legend with his new team.

And the hobby has started to recognize the significance of that marriage in cardboard, based on recent selling prices, like the nearly $1600 this PSA 10 copy brought on eBay in late December:

Of course, if you’re in the market for something a bit less bank-breaking, you can usually pick up raw copies of the 1979 Rose-Reds or Rose-Phillies cards for under $20, often even less than $10 (eBay affiliate link).

All of which means that, no matter what your team affiliation or price point, you pretty much CAN have it your way when it comes to 1979 Topps(ish) Pete Rose baseball cards.

Check out our latest video, where we lay out 25+ of the most popular and valuable 1982 Topps baseball cards. After all, who *doesn’t* love the “hockey stick set”??

1979 Topps Fran Tarkenton Vikings HOF QB

$1.25
End Date: Sunday 10/02/2022 19:49:01 EDT
Bid now | Add to watch list

1979 Topps Ozzie Smith Rookie Card RC #116 Padres

$0.99 ( 1 Bid)
End Date: Sunday 10/02/2022 16:16:14 EDT
Bid now | Add to watch list

1979 Topps O.J. Simpson #170 SGC 9

$0.99 ( 1 Bid)
End Date: Friday 09/30/2022 16:31:39 EDT
Bid now | Add to watch list

ROGER STAUBACH 1979 TOPPS #400 - SGC 8 - DALLAS COWBOYS

$0.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday 09/30/2022 16:26:24 EDT
Bid now | Add to watch list

1979 Topps Rod Carew #330 Twins PSA 8

$1.99 ( 1 Bid)
End Date: Friday 09/30/2022 10:05:18 EDT
Bid now | Add to watch list

1979 TOPPS FOOTBALL 1 TO 200 SELECT FROM OUR LIST

$0.99
End Date: Monday 10/24/2022 16:56:13 EDT
Buy it now | Add to watch list

1979 Topps Football #65 Joe Greene Pittsburgh Steelers HOF SGC 8

$0.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday 09/30/2022 16:23:51 EDT
Bid now | Add to watch list

SGC 8 1979 TOPPS STEVE LARGENT CARD #198 SEAHAWKS HOF 'ER

$0.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday 09/30/2022 16:20:35 EDT
Bid now | Add to watch list