A Deep Dive Into The 1982 Fleer Pete Falcone: A “1980’s Desert Island Binder” Special Edition

There’s so much going on in this 1982 Fleer card of Pete Falcone…

…That I decided to build an entire post around it.  Fair warning, I also wander off on some tangents along the way.

Let’s start with the main focus of the card: Mets pitcher Pete Falcone is sitting in front of a locker – presumably his – and showing us that he opened a couple of packs of 1981 Fleer and pulled his own card.

Here’s the 1981 Fleer card that Falcone is showing us:

Having been in the hobby for over 40 years, my brain is awash with countless jumbled facts and I sometimes get things confused…. But I’m almost positive that this was the first baseball card to feature a photograph of someone holding a baseball card… fairly mundane in 2019 but eyebrow-raising in 1981.

There’s a lot more going on in this photograph, however. Next to Falcone is a stool with a small stack of 1981 Fleer and a couple of torn wax wrappers.

When I first got this card in 1982 I was a lot more familiar with the 1981 Fleer set, and even then I don’t think I was able to tell which card is on the top of the other stack.

For the record, here’s an image of a 1981 Fleer pack. Jaded current-day me says “Wow, 17 cards in a wax pack?”

Behind the stool with the opened packs is another stool with a glove and a couple of nameplates from a jersey.

I clearly remember these nameplates, because the cheap-ass Mets of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s wouldn’t sew the player’s names directly on the jersey, but instead would sew the names on a nameplate and put that on the jersey. The white nameplates on a pinstriped jersey looked like poop.  You can catch a small glimpse of the poopiness on this 1981 Topps “Home Team” Super of Frank Taveras:

Anyway, getting back to the nameplate…

What we can see of the name is what looks like a “W” followed by “EET”… this must be for catcher Rick Sweet, who had played for the Padres before joining the Mets organization in 1981 and part of 1982. There isn’t a baseball card which shows Sweet with the Mets, but I do have one from the 1981 TCMA Tidewater Tides team set; the Tides were the Mets’ top affiliate from 1969 to 2006 (and have been the Orioles’ AAA team since then).

Sweet spent the entire 1981 season with the Tides, and if he had a Mets jersey to put a nameplate on, it would likely have been in Spring Training… Although it’s not out of the question that he was called up to the Mets and then sent back down to Tidewater before appearing in a game.

Solely because many of you have never seen a 1981 TCMA card, here’s what the back looks like.

Sweet was sold to the Mariners early in the 1982 season and would appear on Major League Baseball cards again in 1983; here’s his 1983 Donruss card which I’d scanned before remembering I had the TCMA card (but since I went to the trouble of scanning this card I’m going to show it here even though it’s not really needed).

Before we leave Rick Sweet, I’ll mention that he’s currently the manager of the Brewers’ top farm club in San Antonio.

OK, let’s get back to that Falcone card…

On the other side of Pete, there’s a shirtless teammate, which nicely serves to underline the idea that THIS IS A LOCKER ROOM. The shirtlessness of the teammate is interesting… I have a feeling that if this photo had been used by Topps, they would’ve airbrushed a jersey on him, and then we’d be sitting here wondering “Why is there a guy in the Mets clubhouse who’s been airbrushed into a Mets jersey?”

One last detail which caught my attention: Lurking in the shadows behind Pete Falcone is this guy.

With the dark shades, he looks like he could be from the movie “Men In Black”, which brings to mind that part of the movie takes place at the site of the 1964 World’s Fair… and Shea Stadium was just a hop, skip and jump away. Coincidence?

Tying this back to the 1980’s Desert Island binder… I wouldn’t be adding all of these cards to the binder, but the 1982 Falcone and TCMA Sweet would definitely go in, so I’ll add those into the totals:

Nine-pocket (standard sized): 8 sheets (65 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)

For these Desert Island Binder posts, I normally quote a 1980’s song in the title, and share the video of that song at the end.  Well, I didn’t quote lyrics in the title of this post, so it seemed appropriate to share a favorite 1980’s song which doesn’t have any lyrics.

I first got into electronic music when I was in high school… Later on, when I was in college, I was talking to a classmate about Kraftwerk and he suggested I give a listen to Jean-Michel Jarre and Yellow Magic Orchestra. YMO never clicked with me, but I ended up with six Jarre albums, including the album known in English-speaking countries as Magnetic Fields. What I love about this album – and didn’t realize until many years later – is that the original French title, Les Chants Magnétiques, is not a literal translation of “Magnetic Fields, but rather a play on words. “Chants”, French for “songs”, sounds the same as “Champs”, French for “Fields” (like in Champs Elysees)… So in France the album is called “Magnetic Songs”, but spoken aloud it sounds like “Magnetic Fields”.

So here’s a video for my favorite track off the album.  I’d never seen this video before I wrote this post, but it’s exactly what you’d expect a video from 1981 to look like.

6 thoughts on “A Deep Dive Into The 1982 Fleer Pete Falcone: A “1980’s Desert Island Binder” Special Edition

  1. Awesome post! I love it when bloggers choose one card and break it down piece by piece. I tried doing it with my 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson, but my post wasn’t nearly as detailed as this. These days… I’m way too lazy to even attempt it again.

  2. Fantastic post! This is one of my favorite cards of the ’80s, but I never noticed much of the minutiae you pointed out here. I didn’t even realize Pete Falcone is holding a card of…Pete Falcone (but it makes sense).

  3. I’m SO tempted to painstakingly scroll through every image in the ’81 Fleer set in an attempt to figure out what card that is on top of the stack!

  4. In this era when the major league team finished using the jersey it was handed down to the minor league teams. Sometimes you’d see an imprint of the stitching of the major league players name which was removed. Sure this uniform was handed down to Tidewater or Jackson without the nameplate. Was really different how game used memorabilia was looked at back then. A couple teams sold used bats and uniforms through SCD for as low as $5 (for a player like Falcone).

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