Wednesday, April 28, 2010

All Glory to the 1985 Fleer

I don't even know where to begin with this one. Let's just say that if you handed me an unopened wax pack of 1985 Fleer, you could guarantee that opening it up and looking at the cards would bring me out of just about every funk imaginable. The first packs I ever opened were 1986 Topps, but I soon learned that this mysterious brand named Fleer was the same price. It was just more elusive, but instead of containing the worst tasting gum I'd ever chewed, you would get a sticker (or stickers) in every pack. Stickers!

The grey-bordered cards from 1985 Fleer were color-coordinated with the teams they represented, which helped me at a young age commit all of the teams and their associated colors to memory. But why did I lust after 1985 Fleer instead of the more attainable 1986 brand? 1986 Fleer was blue, and to this day I'm still attracted to all things blue. The fact is, I really can't say for certain, but I guess there was something amazing about a set that was not readily available to me for the milk money I squirreled away. And unlike 1986 Topps, or even 1986 Fleer which seemed rather dark to me overall, this set was really my first introduction to close-up player shots. It let you actually see the players up close.

Nothing else I can really remember coherently can explain why I've been fascinated with this set. Now that it's not such a financial burden, I'm finally going after this set. I originally owned a small stack of cards including most of the Cardinals. I also had a few stars and just two cards that one might consider "of value" in Nolan Ryan and Cal Ripken. I don't have any of the key rookies. No Roger Clemens, no Kirby Puckett... not even Dwight Gooden. I probably would have given up eating lunches for a month to get my grubby little mitts on a Gooden rookie back in grade school, even though I didn't even like Gooden or the Mets.

I got a ton of help recently in getting (re)started on this endeavor, thanks to a giant box sent from reader Rob as previously mentioned. Night Owl has also contributed to this project and I'm very grateful. My goal is to have a wantlist up in full by the end of the week.

Here's another example of one of the up close and personal photos. The odd thing is that I really dislike photos like these in almost every set ever release since 1985 Fleer. I prefer the action shots. Yet, I would have not really had a good idea what Tony Gwynn looked like when I was 11 years old if it wasn't for this card.

I think... rather... I hope that I have all of the Cardinals cards from this set in duplicate. This is probably the best one of the bunch, if only for the extremely unenthusiastic Willie photo and the intriguing stuff written under the bill of his cap.

The Cardinals navy blue warmups are a pretty rare find. Ozzie really could have been captured doing a lot more exciting things than posing like a diva here.

I have a ton of commons at this point, but I do have a handful of stars/HOFers like Eddie Murray here.

The prospect cards are amazing. Just look at that logo. The only thing I like better than the Major League Prospect cards from '80s Fleer sets are...

SuperStarSpecials! I've been tempted ever since I started this blog to start a regular feature on these cards, but I know that this would be a rather finite series. By the way, as odd as it is to think about Pete Rose reaching a milestone with the Expos, whom he barely played for, it's even more ridiculous to see this photo of him in batting practice when it's talking about his 4000th hit.

Is there anything more '80s than this?


Jonathan @ RGB Cards said...

It's almost like the only photos they could find of Gooden also had Juan Samuel standing next to him, so Fleer said "aw screw it, let's just make it a Super Star Special."

night owl said...

This is absolutely the only set with gray borders that I do not mind. I'm not sure why it escaped the wrath that I reserve for 1970 Topps and 1983 Fleer. Must be the color-coded borders.

Bo said...

For some reason this has been one of the hardest sets for me to get cards from. I have far fewer of these than any other major set of the 80s.