1980’s Desert Island Binder, Part 9: Of All The Stupid Things I Could Have Thought

I was a Fleer guy in the 1980’s.

I guess part of it was that I was ready for something different after collecting only Topps for seven years, and part of it is that I’ve always had a tendency to march to the beat of a different drummer, but when Fleer first came out in 1981, during my teen years, I fell in with the Fleer crowd.  Sure, I collected Topps, but I stuck with Fleer through most of the 1980’s until they got outdone by Score at the end of the decade.

It was the “State Penitentiary” design of 1989 Fleer that broke the chain, but I’ve long thought of 1988 as the year where Fleer became “meh” for me. Before that – excluding the mess that is 1982 Fleer – I would defend the 1980’s Fleer output, and I got a little offended when anyone derided 1987 as being sub-standard.  Hey, it’s Fleer, ya gotta love Fleer!


When I was flipping through one of my Fleer binders looking for cards for this series, I got to the 1987 Fleer and found myself flipping through pages… and flipping… and flipping… and not pulling anything out.

At that point I realized that my fondness for 1987 Fleer might be misplaced. I have a complete regular and Update set, and I still like the design, but even I have to admit that the photography is fairly well uninteresting through most of the set.

My immediate reaction was whether if the set should even be in a binder…

And then I had a “Marie Kondo moment”:  If I’m removing the cards from a binder, should I just go the extra step and remove them from my collection?

I’m putting the final decision off until after I finish some other collection decluttering projects, but I have to say that it’s not looking good for 1987 Fleer as anything but material for my team and player collections.

I *did* find a couple of cards worth scanning….

I’ve always liked this Cory Snyder card…

I love the attitude being flashed by Rey Quinones in this card.  He seems almost resentful at having his photo taken.

That about does it for 1987 Fleer, unless I come up with some cards which are interesting for other reasons…

I can’t very well leave the post at “Here are my fave two from an admittedly uninteresting set”, so here are a few other cards for the 1980’s Desert Island Binder…

When the clubhouse guy was washing Mike Laga’s airbrushed jersey, he mistakenly mixed whites and colors.

Laga is airbrushed because he’d been acquired from the Tigers in September, 1986.  I guess he didn’t get his picture taken during the 16 games he played for the Cards in 1986.

I love a good autograph shot, but this card might have added appeal to Twins and Tigers fans who are more familiar with Ron Gardenhire as a white-haired manager.

As a former New Yorker, I also love the big old Sports Channel logo on the back of the program or yearbook he’s signing.

I really enjoyed these “Super Veteran” cards from the 1983 Topps set, and part of me wishes they’d revisit it, but it got me thinking… Back in 1983 most of the long-term vets had careers that spanned back to before I followed baseball and the unfamiliar “Before” photos made these cards cool.

If Topps were to do a set like that today and feature guys like Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia, would I enjoy them or would it just be “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt”?

Just to give Donruss a little equal time – I did love me some Donruss, especially in 1982, 1983 and 1989 – here’s a fun 1982 Donruss action shot of the Astros Craig Reynolds with a ‘cameo appearance’ by Mets shortstop Frank Taveras.

Quick summary of where the fictional binder stands… I’m adding six standard-sized cards, which brings the totals to…
Nine-pocket (standard sized): 7 sheets (55 cards)
Eight-pocket (1950’s sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Four-pocket (postcard sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Two-pocket (5″ x 7″): 1 sheet (1 card)

Have you ever had a situation where some new music makes you suddenly appreciate the older songs by the same artist? That’s what happened to me in 1986 when I started hearing songs from Joe Jackson’s Big World album on the radio. I really liked what I heard, and as radio stations tend to do when an artist has new music out, his older songs got played and that’s when I started to put all the pieces together. “Wait a minute… ‘You Can’t Get What You Want’, ‘Stepping Out’ and ‘Is She Really Going Out With Him’ are all by *the same guy*????”

That was when I became a Joe Jackson fan and started buying up his catalog to make up for lost time. This song, “Home Town”, comes from Big World, which remains one of my favorite JJ albums.

13 thoughts on “1980’s Desert Island Binder, Part 9: Of All The Stupid Things I Could Have Thought

  1. My favorite group is the Beastie Boys and I really started appreciating them when I bought their Check Your Head album. From there… I backtracked and started listening to their punk stuff from Before Licensed to Ill.

    As for the 1987 Fleer set… when I think of it, I automatically think of stacked rookie card set. I actually traded a 1952 Topps Andy Pafko for one of those glossy tin sets. I’ve been shaking my head about this decision for the last three decades.

  2. From 1987 through 1990, Fleer didn’t seem all that interested in the photo as the design crowded the picture. As for my Fleer ’80s purchasing habits, I bought some from 1981-84 and did not return to see what Fleer was doing until ’89.

  3. As Fuji said, 87 Fleer had a strong RC class – especially compared to 86 and 88.
    Although I own one of those glossy tins, I don’t recall spending any time flipping through the contents. The one thing I noticed about your two picks is that both have photographic elements in front of the border. Had this “3D” effect been done before, or was 87 Fleer a pioneer?

  4. Love Joe Jackson. In fact, I also featured “Home Town” in a post just a week ago!.. https://baseballcardbreakdown.blogspot.com/2019/03/a-decade-gone.html

    I’ve got ’87 Fleer on my list of sets to go after someday, so if you end up with a near-complete set to jettison, I could probably work up a trade package for it. I think you’re probably the most prominent blogger I’ve yet to trade with, so I’ve been hoping to remedy that and swap cards with you one of these days.

    • I saw your post with “Home Town” in it and said “Aw, crap”; I’d already had this post in the works, so I made sure I used a different video. It was fun to watch because I saw JJ at Radio City Music Hall around that same time.

      I don’t trade as much as other bloggers because I’ve been having trouble keeping up with the trading partners I have – mainly because I’m disorganized and manage my time poorly 😀 – but if I decide to jettison the bulk of 87F, I will definitely let you know.

  5. Ya can’t dump a set like that if it’s in the middle of a run. Sometimes you take the bad with the good. That’s what they put out that year, so that’s what you have. If you’ve got ’em all surrounding that year, you’ll just be making a hole.

    • Indeed, this is the kind of internal dialog I’ll be having about this set; on the other hand, I’ve got to do *something* to cut back on the number of cards I have… it takes up too much space and I can’t find things.

  6. I saw the title of this post and I thought, wow, he can’t be quoting Joe Jackson, can he? I’ve loved JJ and his music since the first album came out, saw the Big World tour from the 4th row near Boston in ’86, one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. He’s slowed down on new material as of late but his fairly recent “Fast Forward” CD is wonderful. The title song speaks to these times as none other that I’ve heard. I kind of backtracked into a lot of good artists’ catalogs via hits that came off later albums, way back when decent new music was on the radio anyway. I miss those days. Hell, I even miss Fleer, though their sets never really did that much for me.

  7. Another great batch! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that Gardenhire before, but it’s fantastic. I’m with you on ’87 Fleer, but one card I’ve always liked is the Mookie Wilson. The shine on those shades!

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