I have a certain fascination with cards of teams that no longer are. The teams on my list (in what I might call the modern era) would be the Boston Braves, St. Louis Browns, Philadelphia Athletics, New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers, Washington Senators, Milwaukee Braves, Kansas City Athletics, Seattle Pilots, Washington Senators again, and Montreal Expos. The Houston Colt .45s aren't really on that list since the team still exists; they've just been renamed. But still getting a couple of Colt .45s card feels to me like it fits in with the project of making sure all these teams are represented in my collection. So I wanted to get a couple of Colt .45s cards, and here they are.
1963 Pepsi Rusty Staub.
I've mentioned a few times that I love Pepsi about as much as I love baseball cards, so baseball cards with a Pepsi logo always draw me in. Unfortunately the few 1990s Pepsi cards (see here for a Rickey Henderson and here for a Bobby Bonilla) were terrible cards. Then I have a bunch of the 1970s MSA discs, which I haven't shown yet. But this is a card with a nice (slightly old-fashioned at this point, which is a plus) Pepsi logo on the front, and it features a well-known player of the Colt .45s. This is a great card but the only downside is that it's not really on usual card stock. It's slightly thicker than just paper, but not what we're used to for card thickness. Still, very happy to have this in my binder.
1963 Topps Manny Mota.
Then I thought I would get another Colt .45s card, from a regular Topps issue. There are a few years to choose from, and I picked this 1963 Manny Mota. A great thing about this card is that Manny Mota, through his long and illustrious career, never played for the Colt .45s. The back shows only minor leage experience and then a debut with the Giants in 1962. He was traded from San Francisco to Houston in November, 1962, then Topps made this card I guess, and then in April, 1963 he was traded to Pittsburgh. So he played 1963-1968 for the Buccos, and then 1969 in Montreal, and the rest of his playing career through 1982 with the Dodgers. He coached for the Dodgers for many years as well. He had two World Series championships with them in 1981 and 1988.
Here we have Hack Wilson, who drove in 190 runs with the Cubs in 1930 (although Baseball Reference says that it was actually 191 runs). This is still the all-time record, and Wilson is in the Hall of Fame. Ed Reulbach is a player I've never heard of before, and he pitched a double-header shutout for the Cubs in 1908. I bet he threw more than 100 pitches that day!
Then we have another pair of Hall-of-Famers, Walter Johnson and umpire Bill Klem. And even if people know about Walter Johnson, they might not know this particular thing about him, that he won 38 games with a score of 1-0.
When I bought the boxed sets, I didn't give any thought to the stickers. Two of the five boxed sets I got were from 1988 and two were from 1989; I have seen lots of those stickers over the years. But these Famous Feats were a pleasant surprise and are definitely an added benefit of getting the 1986 Fleer Limited Edition boxed set. It almost makes me want to order a 1986 Fleer wax box. Almost.
At some point I said I wasn't going to buy any more of these 1980s boxed sets. For one thing, I already have a lot of them that I picked up during my childhood, and getting more might seem to dilute that. For another, if you have one of these, the others are just about the same.
But after experimenting with buying some blasters of 2019 product (I got some Topps Series 1, some Topps Series 2, some Topps Opening Day, some Topps Big League Baseball, and some Panini Donruss), I determined two things. One is that even though I already have plenty of junk-era cards, I still enjoy buying junk-era cards more than buying modern cards. I don't anticipate buying any blasters again next year. The other is that the problem of all the sets being the same is still with us, but instead of manifesting in these boxed sets it manifests in the insert sets.
1986 Fleer Limited Edition.
So I used Trading Card Database to make a list of Fleer 44-card boxed sets that I didn't already own. I already had a bunch, but there are many more. And I looked at pictures of the cards and picked out a few to get. I chose five and bought them all on eBay for a few bucks each.
One iron-clad rule of these boxed sets is that they always included Don Mattingly. So I won't show all, or even many, of the cards from each set, and instead I'll just show the Mattingly. I started seriously collecting in 1987 but the Fleer 44-card boxed sets began in 1985 as far as I can tell, with a single one called "Limited Edition." I didn't choose the 1985 set because it looks a lot like the 1990 Fleer design, and I have plenty of 1990 Fleer. So I went with the green-and-gold 1986 Limited Edition instead. For this they used a snap of Mattingly in a t-shirt seemingly during a practice.
1988 Fleer Baseball's League Leaders.
Then I skipped ahead and got a couple from 1988. This is the "League Leaders" set, but the cards don't mention anything about what any of the players may have led the league in. Instead because they're stars, more or less, presumably they were all among the league leaders in some category. We have a nice action shot of Mattingly batting, with the bat straight up in the air. I chose this set because the vertical stripes remind me of the design of the 1987 Fleer Baseball's All-Stars 44-card boxed set, which is the subject of some of my earliest memories of getting serious about collecting.
1988 Fleer Baseball Superstars.
Then for the 1988 "Baseball Superstars" set, we have a similar photo, but with the bat pointed down. The 1986 box says "Baseball Super Stars" and "Limited Edition," and there were 1985 and 1987 versions of that set. It's not clear to me whether this is supposed to be a continuation of that, since these cards don't say "Limited Edition" on the card fronts.
1989 Fleer Baseball's Exciting Stars.
Then I moved ahead to 1989. I don't think I have any of these boxed sets from 1989. I had had my fill with these by the end of 1988 I guess. But I can get a couple of the 1989's now. And I think this set, which is supposed to be EXCITING, if you believe the box, shows what an opportunity Upper Deck took advantage of. If this is what Fleer was churning out in 1989, then of course there was an opportunity for a better product out there. We have Mattingly adjusting his batting glove, for a variation on his batting pics.
1989 Fleer Baseball All Stars.
For the last of my recently acquired Fleer 44-card boxed sets, we return to the vertical stripe theme with the 1989 Baseball All Stars. And for this we have another batting shot, but with the bat in yet another position after a swing.
Eric Davis was a huge star at the time, and I was always very happy to have one of his rookie cards in my collection. It was off-center, but that was ok -- it may have been out of my price range otherwise. There was a story once that Davis was having drug problems and he always denied it. His potential was limited, though, by injuries/illnesses, most dramatically the kidney laceration he got in the 1990 World Series and the colon cancer that interrupted his 1997 season.
Eric Davis card back.
In 1989, Davis tied for third in home runs with 34 and tied for 4th in RBI with 101. He also placed 4th in the NL in slugging with .541. He was an All-Star and won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger.
Thanks for reading! Next up is John Franco of the Reds, and then a couple of Astros.
I found these Padres schedule cards on COMC; I'm not sure how I came across them exactly, but I was looking generally for lots of 70s goodness. And these sure qualify.
Dave Winfield schedule card.
Dave Winfield back.
I don't try to get complete sets of odd things I stumble across but instead am mainly happy to have the set represented in my collection. So I chose three Padres to get schedule cards of, starting with Dave Winfield. There are a number of variations, with three different kinds of backs, and several different photos of Dave Winfield available. I chose this photo of Winfield, and all the backs (of the three I have) are the same.
Gene Richards schedule card.
George Hendrick schedule card.
For the other two I chose Gene Richards and George Hendrick. I've said before that Hendrick only came to my attention recently when Night Owl published a long post on him. For some reason I remember Gene Richards' 1981 Fleer card clearly, and he also shares a 4-player rookie card in 1977 Topps with Andre Dawson.
I said at the top that I was looking for a bunch of 70s stuff when I got these, and I have a box full that I haven't posted yet. I'll work on that. Thanks for reading!
Williams was a premier reliever for a while, starting with the Rangers from 1986-1988, then with the Cubs from 1989-1990. He then was with the Phillies 1991-1993. In Philadelphia he became a scapegoat for the Phillies' 1993 World Series loss to the Blue Jays, famously giving up Joe Carter's series-ending home run. He then played a bit more, with the Astros, Angels, and Royals.
Mitch Williams card back.
Williams made his way into the League Leaders set by placing second in saves in 1989 with 36. He would finish his career with 192 saves.
In the pile of stuff I got out of my mom's house, there was this, an offer for a Sportsflics disc of Dwight Gooden. This would have been just after his amazing 1985 season in which he went 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA, with 16 complete games and 268 strikeouts.
Offer for a Dwight Gooden disc.
It's like a Slurpee disc without the Slurpee. I wouldn't have called this offer sheet a baseball card, since it's on a sheet of paper, not cardstock. Buy COMC has copies of this disc offer for sale, and on eBay, they have a PSA-graded version for sale. COMC doesn't have any of the actual discs, but eBay does. I think I'll pass, though. COMC also has a Mattingly disc offer.
Back of the offer.
I'm sure I would have passed back then, too; actually, I guess I did, since I have the offer form but not the disc. It's $4.99 (in 1986) for a single disc. I thought 1986 was before the market had overheated, but I guess it was on its way if people were paying $4.99 for one Sportflics disc.