Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pack Ten

Pack 10 +15
75 Lou Whitaker
97 Harry Spilman
173 Bill Schroeder
198 Tim Wallach
250 Frank Williams
260 Bo Jackson
295 Dave Stewart
384 Ken Phelps
405 Steve Lyons
435 Rick Sutcliffe
451 Bob Knepper
519 Brad Havens
535 Marty Clary
565 Lee Lacy
595 Luis Salazar

First I need to point out that this isn't the order the cards came out of the pack. Power went out before I saved my Word document and for some reason auto-save didn't catch it. So I have no idea what the original order was.

Swing and a miss. This card falls into the realms nice old Expos uniform and couldn't they have come up with a better photo.

Bo knows how to make a good card.

Here's Dave Stewart after his breakout year in 1987 when he won 20 games.

Steward reminds me of Mike Tyson (the boxer) because he's a very intimidating looking man with a squeaky little voice.

I'm posting this more for my own curiosity than anything else. What's that little baseball field next to the stadium?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pack Nine

Pack 9 +14
656 Checklist
123 Dave Stieb
261 Danny Jackson
35 Tom Herr
356 Bruce Hurst
200 Herm Winningham
AS5 George Bell
620 Eddie Williams
419 Shawon Dunston
397 Carlton Fisk
519 Shawn Hillegas
633 Big Bats at First (Mark McGwire, Pat Tabler)
550 Zane Smith
574 Mark Williamson
439 Alan Ashby

This is my third attempt at writing this post. I actually started it at 11:45am, but was interrupted by a power outage. Then around 1:30pm a violent thunderstorm scared me away from the computer. It's starting to storm again, so hopefully I can get this finished this time

Looks like my assumed rate of insertion for the All Star cards is holding true. Here's pack nine, and I've pulled three of them. I've read every word written on the box and on the pack and there's no given rate. The pack says:

So randomly could mean one in three packs, or it could just be coincidence that I'm pulling one in three packs. I assume that the 3-Pack they're talking about are the three section rack packs, but why mention it here? How many of us read what was printed on the packs when we were kids?

The only thing the display box says is to look at the bottom for the box bottom cards. But you'll have to stick around until pack number 36 to see those, nudge nudge wink wink.

Anyhoo, I've strayed off topic... back to the All Stars.

Like the Topps All Stars, not every member of the 1988 Fleer All Star Team was an All Star in 1987. Three of the twelve weren't. Here's one that was, though:

Like I said a few days ago, I do intend to complete this sebset, but I don't really like it. A lot of what I think is wrong with this subset is what I think is wrong with a lot of modern high end cards. FOr the most part I don't particularly like a card where the player is cut out and pasted onto some generic background. A lot of Upper Deck's inserts seem to follow this pattern. There are exceptions and I've run across a few background-less cards that I like, but those examples are pretty few and far between.

Since that Kent Tekulve left a bad taste in my mouth and my eyes burning from sheer badness, I give you a very nice looking shot of Carlton Fisk. It could be better. A play at the plate would have been nice, but this one will do. Something has just happened though because you can see some dust in the air in the bottom right corner.

I wonder what's going on. There's a Red Sox player right behind Fisk who is bent over like he's trying to motion for a runner to slide, but his arms are down by his side. Strange. Who is that in the on deck circle?

Fisk is also the Hall of Famer out of this pack.

Best uniform ever.

Pat Tabler looks like he's about 14 years old in that picture. And you can also see what Mark McGwire looked like before he ate a professional wrestler (where else would the steroids have come from? Free range wrestlers are so much more healthy and free of potentially harmful or performance enhancing chemicals).

So far it looks like all of these All Star cards were taken in pretty much the same place. Somewhere along the first base side of homeplate. Probably in the first row or two of seats or on top of the dugout.

I haven't posted stickers lately because you can see them all over at the Fleer Sticker Project, but I chose to show this one becuase 1988 was the final full season for the Blue Jays at the Mistake by the Lake Exhibition Stadium. Has a more unsuitable location for baseball ever been built? The Blue Jays moved into the Skydome early in the 1989 season.

And there you have it. Thanks to the weather, only nine hours after I started it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pack Eight

Pack 8 +15
176 Dale Sveum
544 Dale Murphy
375 Dave Hengel
96 Chris Speier
61 Chet Lemon
599 Ed Whitson
559 Ken Gerhart
510 Ralph Bryant
290 Tony Phillips
179 Hubie Brooks
270 Kevin Seitzer
228 Tom Browning
467 Jose Guzman
154 Mookie Wilson
493 Wally Joyner

This is a lot later than I intended. I got back from Atlanta around 11am (took a lot longer than I intended... Atlanta's only 150 miles away and it took five hours round trip) and managed to stay awake until 2pm or so, then I crashed.

I've been taking melatonin for help sleeping and it's been working. Of course, I've only taken it twice so far. But I decided against taking it last night since I needed to be alert for driving, and of course I didn't sleep.

Well, here I am after an uneventful trip with an uneventful pack. This is gonna be a short one tonight with no pictures just because I'm too tired to scan anything.

Nothing great here. No Hall of Famers. One old Expo, but he's wearing a red batting practice jersey. And I think Tom Brown was the answer to a trivia question I saw recently on one of the blogs or on TV, can't remember which.

That's all. Come back tomorrow after I've had a full night's sleep for more excitement.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pack Seven

Pack 7 +15
131 David Cone
499 Greg Minton
318 Kent Tekulve
628 Masters of the Double Play
44 Jose Oquendo
221 Jerry Royster
324 Sid Bream
19 Kirby Puckett
235 Guy Hoffman
125 Duane Ward
258 Jerry Gleaton
47 Ozzie Smith
364 Joe Sambito
192 Pascual Perez
608 John Farrell

We've got a lot to talk about today so let's get right into it.

Lots of Hall of Famers here, but first:

Jerry Don Gleaton is, right off the top of my head, the only Major Leaguer I can think of that uses both his first and middle name. Why then did Fleer decide to call him Jerry Gleaton? Every other card of his that I've ever seen has listed him as "Jerry Don."

When I saw this card I thought "ok, maybe there was a second Jerry Gleaton." There isn't. So I guess Topps isn't the only company to shorten names. Bob Clemente and Benny Santiago would be proud.

Can anyone come up with other ML players who use both their first and middle names? Or how about any other Jerry Don Gleaton cards that drop the Don?

Oh, and one more before we get to the Hall of Famers.

This has to be a front runner for the worst non-airbrused picture on a baseball card ever. Is this really the best picture they could get? "dur... lukit, there's a gluv on mah han'." Bad Fleer. Bad. No! The photographer deserves to get beaten with a rolled up newspaper for that.

Scroll down a few days and look at that great Carney Lansford shot, and then the good Greg Maddux. They could, and did, do a lot better than poor Kent.

Ok, now that that's over with, here's those Hall of Famers.

Ozzie looks very unhappy. Somewhat akin to his 1989 Bowman card, where he looks very uncomfortable, bordering on confused.

Again, is this the best they could come up with?

But wait, here's a better picture.

Here we get a two for one deal. Two Hall of Famers for the price of one card. And this time, Ozzie looks happy. However, neither Ozzie or Ryne appear to be looking at the correct camera. Which reminds me of the All Star Righties card we saw back in pack two. I guess there's so much going on at an All Star game it's hard to look in the right direction all the time.

ANd finally, the late Kirby Puckett.

Pretty good pack.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pack SIx

Pack 6 +15
462 Jerry Browne
137 Gregg Jefferies
506 Devon White
307 Chris James
117 Nelson Liriano
174 Steve Stanicek
210 Charles Hudson
333 Mike LaValliere
25 Frank Viola
AS8 Wade Boggs
657 Checklist
121 Jeff Musselman
252 Bud Black
42 Willie McGee
355 Sam Horn

This post is later than I wanted it to be. But I had to fight with my scanner to get the scans to come out straight, and by that time it was dinner time. Then I just plain forgot about this post and said I'd do it after the game. As good as things have been going, it didn't end up so well tonight. Walks hurt. Bad. Yes, there was a horrible call in the 9th, Beltran was out. But still, walks hurt... and the Braves are back under .500.

Whatever. Here's the post.

Without checking, I would imagine that the Gregg Jefferies card pictures above was, in the late 80s, one of the more valuable cards in the set. I wrote a bit about Jefferies over at 1988 Score about a year ago, so I won't repeat mtself.

A lot of people expected a lot of things out of Gregg Jefferies, and he had a few good years. A lot of people will say he never lived up to their expectations, but he was a two time All Star, and finished his career at .289/.344/.421 with 126 home runs and 663 RBIs. He didn't strike out a lot either. Pretty good numbers over all, and a good career.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I went to my trusty and never, ever incorrect Beckett, only to discover that the section containing 1988 Fleer is missing. I knew the section with 1988 Score fell out, but I didn't know Fleer was in that section to. It's gotta be around here somewhere... But my 1995 Confident Collector price guide lists the Jefferies card at $4. So I'm sure it booked higher than that in my Beckett from 1990.

If I can unearth that section, it may be a interesting addition to this site. As far as I'm concerned those price guides are only good for their checklists (especially when online checklists are rarely correct), but it would be fun to see who was considered a hot prospect back in the day.

The only other card I need to talk about tonight is this one:

The Hall of Famer in the pack. I haven't decided if I want to go out of my way to put together this insert set or not. I know it's only 12 cards, but to be perfectly honest, I'd rather those cards be tweleve base cards to add to the set instead. But since I'm more than likely going to pull a few of them, I might as well try to finish it.

I've pulled two of out six packs, so if they were inserted at a rate of one every three packs, I should get 12 of them in this box. Assuming there are no doubles and that there even was a set rate of insertion (that sounds... dirty).

And so now I'm going to end this before the sleeping pills take effect. Come back tomorrow for pack seven.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pack Five

Pack 5 +15
385 Jim Presley
645 Major League Prospects (Jim Eppard, Joey Meyer)
60 Eric King
501 Gus Polidor
476 Larry Parrish
87 Craig Lefferts
285 Carney Lansford
582 Tim Flannery
367 Bob Stanley
138 Howard Johnson
207 Ron Guidry
342 Bob Walk
8 Mark Davidson
299 Jeff Calhoun
603 Brett Butler

For some reason that I don't know or remember, I always liked Carney Lansford. Back in the late 80s, aside from being a Braves fan, I was both a Dodgers and A's fan. I always like Carney Lansford better than Jose Canseco or Mark McGwire. I can't explain it... I was a strange child.

Regardless of my childhood idiosyncrasies, you have to admit, this is a pretty nice looking card. I'm kinda surprised the card lists his position as first and third base. Yes, he played a few games at first, but only a very few. Of 1850 games played, 1720 of those were at third. He played 124 games at first, as well as a few at the DH position and a handful at second and short.

Moving on to a card that could really stand to have some flavor text on the back.

Thanks to the power of the internet, I learned that Tim Flannery does (or did at least in 1988) surf. Even without the internet, my powers of reasoning and deduction would probably have come to the same conclusion, but isn't it just a bit... strange to have a surfboard on a baseball card with absolutely no explination?

What if, in 100,000,000 years the human race is long dead and all traces of our existence are gone, except a single remaining factory set of 1988 Fleer? What if an alien race finds that factory set and builds a rudimentary understanding of this game? From flipping through the cards they could easily conclude that it was a game that involved hitting a spheroid object with a club. But then what happens to their fragile understanding of baseball when they come to card number 582 and here's a guy with what looks like an oval shaped shield?

The only possible conclusion they could draw from that card would be that that thing he's holding is a defensive tool. And now instead of hitting that spheroid object with a club, they think the object is to hit the other players with the ball AND the club.

Do we not owe it to future inhabitants of earth to explain that that's a surfboard and that Tim Flannery likes to surf? That that shield like object is not part of the game of baseball?

I think we do. Or at least if a time capsule is ever buried containing a factory set of '88 Fleer, we should at least include a note and explanation of surfing.

One good thing that I will say about this card is that they picked a good location on the field to take the picture. You can see the Padres logo on the wall behind Tim. It seems like a lot of times in the late 80s they'd take a picture wherever the guy was standing and you'd have a Cubs player with a Pirates logo in the background.

Now that we have a plan in place to keep from confusing the aliens, let's look at two guys that I've never heard of...

Jim Eppard played in 82 games over four seasons. He was used primarily off the bench and started only 20 games.

In two seasons, Joey Meyer played in 156 games, hit 18 homers and drove in 74 runs. Strike outs were his main problem at every level of play, though he hit for good power in the minor leagues (.289/.354/.527, 135 HR, 487 RBI in six seasons).

He does have a place in history though. On August 9, 1988 against the Red Sox, with the game tied at two, he hit the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth out of the park. It was the only walk off home run Roger Clemens ever gave up.

You learn something new everyday.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pack Four

Pack 4 +14
313 Bruce Ruffin
119 Lloyd Mosbey
167 Steve Kiefer
204 Pat Clements
328 Mike Dunne
20 Jeff Reardon
AS7 Eric Davis
660 Checklist
105 John Cerutti
266 Jamie Quirk
29 Bill Dawley
361 Jim Rice
194 Jeff Reed
95 Don Robinson
423 Greg Maddux

Packs of 1988 Fleer randombly included two insert sets that weren't numbered as part of the base set. They were the Fleer All Star Team (12 cards) and Fleer Headliners. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I read somewhere that the Headliners were exclusive to rack packs, so I shouldn't be running across any in this box.

The numbering convention used by Fleer for the inserts was the typical 1-XX, but just for the sake of keeping everything in order, I'm numbering this insert as ASx. So in this case we have AS7.

It's been said that these All Star cards aren't the most exciting cards in the world. Well, they're not. But they're no less exciting than Topps' All Stars. The Fleer cards do however look like mug shots.

Moving right along.

There's one soon to be inducted Hall of Famer in this pack, and one future first ballot Hall of Famer:

1988 would be Greg Maddux's second full year in the Major Leagues. After going 6-14 with a 5.61 ERA in '87, Greg turned it around and had an outstanding 1988 and made his first trip to the All Star game.

Twenty years later, his stat line reads: 355 victories (8th all time) against 227 losses, a 3.16 ERA, 3371 strikeouts (10th all time), 999 walks, 1.143 WHIP and an ERA+ of 132.

Don't forget his four straight Cy Young awards (1992-1995) and eighteen Gold Gloves.

He was the best. There are some great pitchers around right now, but it'll be a long time before we see another Greg Maddux.

The checklists for this set are interesting. Like the 1989 Bowman set we just saw, the checklist is divided into teams, this time based on their finish in 1987.

And finally, today's sticker is the Atlanta Braves.

I wonder when that picture was taken? You'd think that even in the off season there'd be a few cars here and there in the parking lots. I count seven cards and a few on the street next to the stadium.

I've made a few trips to Turner Field, but only went to Fulton County once. It looked nothing like that picture because when I was there it was 1996 to see a game at the Olympics. So by the time I was there, the Olympic Stadium (now Turner Field) was taking up most of the parking.

Turner Field is beautiful and a great place to watch a ball game. And while Fulton County lacked a lot of the nice comfort features that Turner has, it was still a good place to see a game and much nicer in person than any picture ever made it look.