Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1981 Fleer

Fleer sporadically produced baseball card sets until Topps was allowed to monopolize the baseball card industry by decisions in court and Fleer's initial refusal to sell cards without gum. Eventually, Topps gained power during it's monopoly period and when Fleer was ready to try baseball products again, they found Topps blackballing them.

After a court decision forced the players union to offer group contracts to other companies, Fleer was allowed to produce its first set of baseball cards, in almost two decades, in 1981.

These were exciting times for the hobby. This would be the first time in many years that more than one licensed baseball card set would be on the market. Fleer was voted the number one design of 1981 by Baseball Hobby News.

Despite the design, the set was riddled with errors and the photography was mostly sub par. There are a lot of "in action" shots used for the set, with a nice mix of posed and candid shots. Fleer had to start somewhere and this was it!

The White Sox have twenty cards in the set. Twenty one, if you include the team checklist.

339 - Ed Farmer
340 - Bob Molinaro
341 - Todd Cruz
342 - Britt Burns
343 - Kevin Bell
344 - Tony LaRussa
345 - Steve Trout
346 - Harold Baines
347 - Richard Wortham
348 - Wayne Nordhagen
349 - Mike Squires
350 - Lamar Johnson
352 - Francisco Barrios
353 - Thad Bosley
354 - Chet Lemon
355 - Bruce Kimm
356 - Richard Dotson
357 - Jim Morrison
358 - Mike Proly
359 - Greg Pryor
648 - CL: Mets/White Sox

Overall, this was a great reboot for Fleer. This would be the beginning of some great and some awful sets by the company. This one is important because it collapsed the stranglehold Topps had on the hobby. It was far from a perfect set, but it is one that is highly collectible.


Anonymous said...

I think 1984 is when Fleer had its first *really* cool design...and 1987 was the first *awesome* one.

Steve Gierman said...

1984 and 1987 are clear winners. I'm also partial to 1985.

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