Thursday, January 3, 2013

Stickers and the Series

When I had finally come to grips with the fact that there were three baseball card sets to collect instead of one in 1981, I turned my attention to what each company had to offer in conjunction with their baseball cards.

Topps had gum, of course. Inedible yet comforting pink slabs. They were always good for a lick or two before you tossed them on someone's lawn. Donruss had puzzle pieces. Yeah, right. I'm going to assemble a puzzle. Puzzles were schoolwork without being in school. No thanks.

Fleer, clearly, had the best "perk" in their packs. They had stickers. This wasn't a fair fight at all.

I was aware of Fleer's stickers from the previous year. In 1980, you could get team logo stickers -- with a piece of bubble gum -- five to a pack. On the reverse side was a drawing for each World Series from 1940-79.

I was hooked. A historical illustration of each World Series game? Even as a youngster, that was right up my alley. I immediately forgot about the stickers and started looking for every World Series card.

I didn't get them all, but I came close. Here is a look at them:

I'm missing the card/sticker for the 1946 World Series. I need to do something about that.

One of the things I like about these is that the illustrations don't always go for the obvious. For example, the 1954 World Series doesn't mention Willie Mays' over-the-shoulder catch on Vic Wertz. Instead, it focuses on Johnny Antonelli.

But there are the cards that infuriate me, like the 1960 card. Come on. Ever hear of Bill Mazeroski? And the 1965 card. Who won that Series, Fleer?

I carried that '65 card slight with me for years before I knew that this sticker/series set was a tribute to the Robert Laughlin-drawn World Series Fleer sets from 1970 and 1971.

The stickers specifically duplicate the 1971 Fleer set, the tell-tale sign being the year box that includes the Major League Baseball logo. The 1971 set started at the 1903 World Series, instead of 1940. But the 1980 stickers also updated its set with Series cards 1971-79. Apparently, the 1971 Fleer set also continually updated itself through the 1977 World Series, although I'm not sure where or how these updates were issued, as I never saw them.

I finally landed a handful of the 1971 Fleer set a couple of years ago. I basically zeroed in on only the Series involving the Dodgers -- as that is the most cost-effective. But, truthfully, I'd like them all.

The backs, of course, don't have stickers because these are actual cards. The backs have a write-up of the World Series.

The '71 fronts are the same as the '80 stickers, although the colors seem more vibrant (perhaps it's a tinting-color thing, I'm not sure).

The sticker is on top.

But what particularly interested me was when I found out that the 1971 Fleer Series set wasn't the first one. It was actually an update to the 1970 Fleer World Series set.

The 1970 Fleer set included the year inside the drawing of a ball and the drawings are different.

Fascinating. I love variations like this. (Just as long as you don't short-print the crap out of them).

I recently received my first 1970 Fleer World Series set cards from mr haverkamp. He picked out some cards in which the Dodgers were in the World Series.

I thought it would be fun to compare the 1970 card version of the Series to the 1971 card/1980 sticker version of the Series (I am making the assumption that the 1980 stickers duplicate every 1971 card drawing between 1940-1977. I haven't seen all the 1971 cards, so I can't be sure).

I like the change in the 1949 Series, of course. Sure the bottom card is a little sad with the "only" notation. But you can't go wrong erasing the Yankee guy and showing only Preacher Roe.

The 1953 Series switch, of course, is nonsense. The 1970 '53 card is tremendous. I LOVE IT! Oisk turning the Bombers into Bumblers!

The 1959 Series switch is interesting. You don't hear a lot about Duke in the 1959 Series. You hear a lot more about Charlie Neal and Chuck Essegian's pinch-hit homers.

This one is painful either way.

I don't have the 1970 Fleer card of the 1956 Series, just this 1971 one. But the '70 version isn't any less depressing.

The cards I really need to get are the 1970 Fleer '55 World Series (Johnny Podres is shown) and the '63 World Series (Moose Skowron as a Dodger is shown) cards.

And then I guess I'll see about tracking down all the other cards.

Like I need another project.

This is the mess that stickers can create.

(The Fleer Sticker Project's post on these cards is here).


  1. I love these cards/stickers. I've considered collecting them several times but have never really started. Fleet made a lot of fun sticker backs in the 1980s too.

  2. Great inserts. I always used the stickers and puzzles to pad the ends of each card box.

  3. i've always liked these cards. i did a similar post a while back

  4. You can take both the '59s and cram 'em.

  5. At some point I need to get those Preacher Roe ones

  6. I've never seen these before. I kind of love them.

  7. Hee hee.

    Some of these cards are poitively cold-blooded.

    I wish Griffey was on one.