Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Some 1982 Fleer Specials

One thing I've always liked about Fleer is what came to be called their "Super Star Specials," in which they usually get a picture of two random players (typically star players) and come up with some justification for putting them on a card together.  In 1982, they were doing this, but they didn't call them Super Star Specials yet; that name seems to have begun in 1983.  I recently acquired 3 of these that I didn't have before, and in addition to these, I'm including an old favorite as well.
Steve Carlton and Carlton Fisk.
The way I acquired these first three is different for each one.  For this card, Steve & Carlton, Carlton & Fisk, I went out of my way to get it.  Specifically, I sought it out on COMC.  I remember seeing the card at a neighbor's house when I was a little kid (I was 6 when the 1982 Fleer set came out).  I knew who Steve Carlton was, but I had never heard of Carlton Fisk before.  I never had the card myself, and since it evokes the memory of those old friends, I thought I would pick it up now.  Also, I'm fond of the old Phillies light blue road uniform; Fisk of course is rocking the old White Sox collared uniform.
Fernando Valenzuela and Gary Carter.
This card, West Meets East, Valenzuela & Carter, was a throw-in on some other card I ordered early on in my return to collecting (last summer).  I'm not sure which card exactly it came with -- maybe my 1974 Dick Allen or 1971 Tony Taylor, both of which were solo purchases from eBay.  It's badly off-center from top to bottom, as you can see, but the photo is all there.  I've decided to get more cards of Fernando Valenzuela into my main binder, and this card is a step on the way. 

This card also highlights what I said about getting two random players on the card and coming up with some random justification.  They're not really random in a sense, since they were the starting battery for the 1981 All-Star Game, which is what the text on the back of the card describes.  The premise on the front, though, West Meets East, is remarkably shallow -- they play in different divisions!  And yet they met!  While the card was probably shot at the All-Star game, the Expos and Dodgers met up frequently -- they played 7 games in the regular (strike-shortened) season, and they played 5 games in the NLCS. 
Frank White and Bucky Dent.
This card, All-Star Infielders, White & Dent, I acquired yet a third way, by opening three packs of 1982 Fleer (as partially chronicled here and here).  Frank White I always liked as a member of the 1980 Royals who lost the World Series to the Phils (even though the Royals lost, I appreciated their talent) and the 1985 Royals who did win the Series.  I'd always known Bucky Dent for a single act, his home run in the 1978 one-game tie-breaker for the AL East title.  That was before my time (I would have been two at the time), but it was passed down in lore.
Len Barker and Bo Diaz.
Finally, we have this card, Perfect Game!  Barker & Diaz, May 15, 1981.  You can tell from the condition of the card that's it's been in my collection a long time, since I was six, I'm sure, when my cards lived on my bedroom floor and were not treated carefully.  I mentioned this card recently when I showed Barker's 1979 Topps card.  As the card indicates, Len Barker of the Indians pitched a perfect game on May 15, 1981, defeating the Blue Jays 3-0.  What's interesting is that Diaz had nothing to do with it.
Len Barker and Bo Diaz card back.
Perhaps the card back is at least somewhat aware of the problem -- rather than saying that Diaz caught the game, it says that he and Barker "both participated."  Since Ron Hassey was the catcher, not Diaz, and Diaz didn't play in the game at all (you can find the box score here), Diaz must have participated from the bench.  Fleer made amends with another Super Star Special in 1983, featuring Barker and Hassey this time, with the theme that Barker and Hassey were the battery for the most recent perfect game at that time. 

That's it for this post, of these Fleer specials I like so much.  Thanks for reading!

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