Sunday, March 8, 2015

Trade with Reader John Hazen: A Paean to 1980s Fleer

Last month, my one-year blogging anniversary came and went with little fanfare on my part. I should have had this fanfare in the post in which I recognized the anniversary:

But I didn't.  Instead of Copland, I said that anyone who wanted cards from me should let me know and I'd send them some.

Perhaps it was because I owed so many cards to so many people already at that point, and perhaps it was because I had fallen so far behind in sending cards out that no one believed me any more, but only reader John Hazen took me up on the offer.  He sent me a link to his wantlist on Zistle, and away went a bunch of cards that he needed.  

In return, John sent me a stack of cards which hit a number of my needs:

My collection of Big Prince still has some appropriately large holes.  These four cards helped plug a few of those.

Black borders are good.  Always.  Well, unless it's those ridiculous looking Wal-Mart all-black cards from about 5 or 6 years ago.  Those look terrible.

I haven't said much about the late 1990s Pacific sets here, mostly because it's taken me a while to have an opinion on them.  Pacific had sets that were as gimmicky as any bad Topps gimmicks of recent years, and it had sets like this Paramount set that feature a subdued-for-the-1990s design and excellent photography.  In other words, it is almost as if Pacific was presaging the way that current companies -- especially Topps -- have approached issuing cards. 

It does not bode well, however, that Pacific went bankrupt in 2000.

I miss Fleer cards. I might be alone in this regard, but once Fleer got its feet under it -- somewhere around 1983 in my book -- they put out some of the best cards that the 1980s had to offer.  I throw out 1981 because it was issued haphazardly in the wake of the court ruling regarding Topps's then-monopoly. 

Then, 1982 was an abomination.  It featured photos only a 10-year-old in the midst of a sugar bender could have taken and were printed on card stock that often felt unfinished -- rough.  And, it was still plagued with stupid errors like John Littlefield's card having a reversed negative so as to show him throwing left-handed:

That card pretty much sums up 1982 Fleer -- weak design, terrible photography, and muted colors.  

But that Richie Sexson card -- knocking off the 1987 Fleer design -- is everything good about where Fleer went in the mid-to-late 1980s.  Clean designs, crisp photography, and bright colors -- everything I like in a baseball card.  I know, some people prefer lots of colors and designs all over their borders.  And, don't get me wrong -- I love some of the loudest Topps sets out there like the 1972 and 1975 sets.  But the clean, simple designs -- say, 1974 or 1978 Topps -- are among my very favorites.  

Thank you very much, John, for the great cards.  I hope that we can trade again soon.

1 comment:

  1. The Fielder UD checklist picture makes him look thin.