I became a completionist that year as well.
It started in the fall of that year. A trip to a convenience store with my sisters Linda and Pee Wee had me spending the 50 cents I had in my pocket (Linda covered the sales tax) on a pair of Topps baseball wax packs.
Yes, they were that cheap, and you got 15 of those rosary beads in one shot, along with that pink, brittle, and powdered stick of what apparently was gum. It was awesome.
Still have two of the yield from that day, worse for wear, and you can see them below:
1982's Topps series was probably among the least attractive of their baseball sets, but I wasn't aware of the aesthetics in the moment. Sadly, it was late in the year, the shelf-space wouldn't be occupied by baseball cards much longer, as Halloween and Christmas items would begin to replace them, but the appetite was whetted for my new hobby. That same fall, a trip to Ben Franklin (the noted five and dime store my Mom liked to frequent) brought to my attention the Topps baseball sticker album. The whole book was only 25 cents. Where they got you was the packs of stickers required to fill it. They charged .25 a pack, and you got about 7 per pack, if memory serves. Mind you, this was 1982. A quarter was not breaking the bank, even that far back. So trying to fill these things was a blast and something fun my dad and I did together. I wasn't able to put very many in the album, for as was the case with the cards, the time for the stickers to be on the shelf was short. So I would bide my time for next season.
This was just on the fringes of the era where adults would come in and ruin a kids' activity (as they did with comic books and record collecting) with appraisal, marketing, price guides, inserts, and chase cards. All that miserable shit was just around the corner. The piece de resistance of card collecting at that time was simply finding or trading for a player's "rookie" card. Nowadays that term doesn't really matter all that much. People just want that 1 in 300 pack insert opportunity that has turned the hobby from hero worship into slot machine-lottery ticket buying. I'm getting off topic here, as a bitter old man is wont to do.
Back to Dad and I. He really was a backer of my interest. So much so, that he'd often stop on the way home from work and pick up several packs of cards or stickers. He'd then hide them in various spots around the house for me to find. It was a ton of fun looking for the packs between couch cushions, between books on shelves, tucked amongst the breakfast cereal. As good as he was with hiding small items, Dad was practical with the overflow too. Like with the Reggie Jackson-emblazoned 1983 sticker album. When doubles started to build up, we picked up a second album and put them in that book. Eventually, we did fill the first one, but ended up having to buy so many packs to get the last couple to fill it, we filled 3/4 of a second one. Along the way, Dad was just as interested and having as much fun with it as I was. Realistically, this would be difficult to do today, as 25 cents just doesn't go as far as it once did.
One year for Christmas, my parents shocked me with complete sets of 1982 and 1983 Topps baseball cards. When Donald Trump collapsed the USFL with his raging litigiousness, he rushed across town and bought me the only sets the Waco, Texas sports card shop carried. He contributed the 1963 Pete Rose to my collection, as well as the coveted 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly, among many others. In hindsight, that may seem frivolous to many, but over the years those cards eventually became financial backing for a young man yet to be blessed with health insurance, and saved his ass from either of the unwanted fates of not getting needed health care, or going into massive debt getting it.
I seem to remember him making the prediction that this was a possibility over 35 years ago, and 8 years before it became true. Thanks, Dad. Imagine doing something so that was so much fun at the time, and down the road it ended up with a result somewhat like playing the stock market with cleverness.
I do miss those cards now that most of them are now gone, but damn if it wasn't a hoot of an investment.