Sunday, August 12, 2018

Recently Acquired Sets: 1986 and 1987 Fleer Minis

Fleer mini sets are something that I used to see in ads in Baseball Cards magazine, but which I don't recall ever seeing in the shops or at shows back in the day.  Having decided to pick up a few of these old sets, the 1986 and 1987 Fleer Minis seemed like a good choice, especially since I could get them both for about $5 each, shipped, from eBay. 
1986 Fleer Mini set box.
Having bought this 1986 Fleer mini set scratches an itch for me, and I no longer feel interested in getting a complete 1986 Fleer set.  This set is 120 cards and there were 26 teams back then, so it's approximately the 5 best players from each team.  It's not uniform of course -- some teams may have fewer than 5 and some more than 5.  But it's about the 5 best from each team.  This is just about perfect from my point of view.  I've been sometimes showcasing the 1990 Donruss Best of the NL set, which has about a dozen players from each team.  And other small sets, like the Chef Boyardee or Fantastic Sams sets I showed recently, are so small they don't even get one player per team.  This is a good sweet spot, so that it can really cover the players I'm most likely to have remembered from back then.
Steve Carlton and Von Hayes.
The 1986 set wasn't wrapped in plastic or anything, so it was an easy decision to open the box and take a look at the cards.  The seller claimed that this is the way they came from the factory and that it had never been opened; that's plausible for 1986, I think.  The cards weren't in numerical order, and the first cards out of the box were my childhood in cardboard form: the Phillies that I grew up watching.  Here we have Steve Carlton, who by 1986 was a bit past his prime, and Von Hayes, who was a star of some not very good Phillies teams of the 80s.
Juan Samuel and Mike Schmidt.
Juan Samuel was also a star of those not very good Phillies teams of the 80s, being an All-Star second baseman.  Mike Schmidt was of course the local legend, and he had one more great season in him, winning another MVP award in 1986.
Harold Baines and Dave Parker.
I have some small player collections of Harold Baines and Dave Parker, so these are good to have, although they'll live with the set and not in the binder.  Love the old Sox logo.
Tom Seaver and Reggie Jackson.
Tom Seaver and Reggie Jackson were just about at the end of their great careers.  Tom Seaver spent the end of 1986 injured on the Red Sox bench; if he hadn't been injured, maybe the Red Sox would have ended the curse of the Bambino several years earlier.  Reggie Jackson broke through the 500 home run mark in the 1984 season, and spent 1985 through 1987 adding to his total a bit, and helping the Angels in their postseason run.
Fernando Valenzuela and Carlton Fisk.
I had always watched some baseball but mostly started watching seriously around 1987, so I missed much of Fernando's greatness.  I'm always glad to find cards of him, though.  Carlton Fisk was very popular in my prime collecting years, circa 1990, based on his longevity.
Lonnie Smith and Dwight Gooden.
Lonnie Smith was part of some of my very early baseball memories, since he was a rookie star on the 1980 championship Phillies.  He finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, behind winner Steve Howe and runner-up Bill Gullickson.  He went on to win the World Series in 1982 and 1985 as well, with the Cardinals and the Royals.  He was on the losing side of the 1991 and 1992 World Series as well, with the Braves.  He had a solid career but would have likely done better without his involvement with drugs, as one of the players in the Pittsburgh Drug Trials.  Of course, here's a young Dwight Gooden, too, who (like many of the 1986 Mets!) famously had his own drug issues.
Andre Dawson and Tim Raines.
Here I've scanned together a couple of the all-time great Montreal Expos.  I'm a fan of both of these guys, for the power and the speed, and I'm glad they both made the Hall.
Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield.
Here, again, I've scanned together a pair of teammates and two all-time favorites, Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield. Seeing these guys together likes this makes me wonder why those 80s Yankees teams weren't better.  The 1985 Yankees did go 97-64, it turns out, which is pretty good, but in those pre-Wild Card days, was just not enough to make the postseason since the Blue Jays went 99-62.
Bill Madlock and Cecil Cooper.
Finally, I'll close out the cards in this post with another two favorites in the sub-Hall of Fame category, Bill Madlock and Cecil Cooper.  I'm sure glad those 1979 Pirates bolstered their already impressive lineup with frequent batting champ Bill Madlock.  I posted a buch of Cecil Cooper cards a while ago.
1987 set.
And finally finally, here's the set box for the 1987 set.  You might be able to tell it's wrapped in plastic.  I've decided to leave it undisturbed.  I've said before I struggle with the question of whether to open things like this -- for the 1986 set it was easy because there was no plastic wrap.  Mainly I want to enjoy the cards, and I sure did enjoy going through these 1986 cards.  But also I feel like if something has made it for 30 years in the condition it left the factory, maybe it should go on a bit longer still.  Having bought both the 1986 and 1987 sets, I can have it both ways -- I enjoyed the '86 cards, and can leave the '87 set intact.

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment