Saturday, December 15, 2012

30 Year Top 50: 1983 Fleer

#21-This is the set that started it all for me as a baseball card collector.  I also dabbled into the 1983 Topps set, but this was as least my first pack of cards.  I still have all of the cards I pulled when I was six, but I had to find new copies of the cards that were in better shape.  The 1983 Fleer set is very simple in design.  The borders are a very light grey with no pattern or design.  The set's claim to fame is the rookie cards of three Hall of Fame players: Ryne Sandberg, Tony Gwynn, and Wade Boggs.

1983 Fleer Ryne Sandberg

My favorite rookie card in the set is actually the Ryne Sandberg card.  In fact, the Cubs card in this set are generally pretty awesome.  Why?  I don't remember the Cubs actually wearing the jerseys pictured in these cards, but I think they are pretty sweet.  They are like reverse pinstripes, or "third jersey" pinstripes.  Whatever you want to call them, I really like the card.  Sandberg played the majority of Cubs where I often cheered against him, but he has spent the past few years managing the Leigh High Valley Iron Pigs in the International League which is the AAA for the Phillies.  He's really done great work as a minor league manager and was named the Minor League Manager of the Year in 2011.  I believe the Phillies are using him as the bench coach next season.  

1983 Fleer Tony Gwynn

1983 Fleer Wade Boggs

The other two rookie cards, as mentioned before, belong to Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs.  Both players were great average hitters and ended their careers above the 3000 hit total.  I was never a huge Boggs fan.  Not sure why, but it went really far downhill after he tried to put himself into the Hall of Fame as a Devil Ray.  Luckily, wiser minds prevailed and Boggs is a Red Sox on his plaque.  Gwynn was always a great player and a class act.  I almost got to see his 3,000 hit at a Cardinals game, but he ended the evening at 2,998.  

There are plenty of other great cards in the set beyond the three rookie cards mentioned above and a great add to any collection.  The set "books" for $60, but can often be found for $20-$30 on Ebay or at local card shops.  The single versions of the rookie cards are all under $5, but can be pricey if you are looking for a clean graded copy.  

Like the 1983 Fleer set?  Not in my Top 50 countdown in the 1991 Fleer Ultra Set.  This was Fleer's first venture into the premium card market and they actually remind me a lot of the 1983 Fleer cards in appearance.  

1991 Fleer Ultra Ken Griffey Jr. 

The cards have the grey, drab border and I haven't quite figured out what the "premium" aspect of these cards are over the past twenty years.  I really enjoy some of the photography in the set with lots of great action shots of players.  Many of the 1991 releases featured rookie cards of Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez, but this set missed both players.  Fleer did release an Update set which squeezed both players in along with a Juan Gonzalez which is considered one of his better early cards.    The real bright spot in the set for some collectors is the Ultra Team inset set.  

1991 Fleer Ultra Ultra Team Rickey Henderson 

I know several people who love these cards, collect them, and have multiple copies.  I am not one of them, but I don't have many left in my collection because they have all been traded to two people.  Anyway, I am not sure if the inserts in 1991 had a ratio, but you generally get a handful of these when you open a box of 1991 Ultra.  I would guess they could be as low as 1:2, but they are probably closer to 1:5 or 1:6.  The Ultra Team cards have more of a "premium look" and feel for 1991, but I still like the Upper Deck cards from the early 90s better.  

1 comment:

  1. I never got on board with that '91 Ultra set either. They weren't bad or anything I just never though they were 'Ultra'.