Thursday, August 22, 2019

Recently Acquired Sets: Five 1980s Fleer Boxed Sets

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.
Don Mattingly.
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.
Don Mattingly.
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.
Don Mattingly.
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.
Don Mattingly.
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.
Don Mattingly.
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.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Nice job doing the research and choosing the sets you liked the most. That's what collecting is all about, right?

    And you know what? I think the images on those two 1988 Fleer Mattingly cards were taken on the same day, and maybe even the same swing. On the first card, there's a person in the stands behind Mattingly wearing a pink shirt (just to the right of his head), and in the second card, that same person appears just to the left of his head.

    1. You did a better job examining the card backgrounds than me -- I looked a little to see if the people were the same in the two pictures but missed the guy in the pink shirt.