The Fourteen “Player Exclusives” Of 1989 Fleer

During the years when there had been more than one company making baseball cards, one thing that interested me were the players who appeared in one set but not the others. Sometimes it was a ‘feature’ of the set, like the 1990s Pacific sets that were bi-lingual and tended to focus on Latin players, but in other cases it was just a matter of different thoughts on who to include in the checklist.

Lately, with my attempts to streamline my collection hitting the 1980s more and more, I’ve come back to this idea in terms of which cards to keep. For example, I’ve given thought to getting rid of many of my 1981 Donruss cards – I’ve already got complete sets of 1981 Topps and Fleer, so do I really need to work on a third set for the same year? I can, however, make an argument for keeping 81D cards like #79 – Dave Rosello since he does not appear in that year’s Topps and Fleer sets.

I recently was trying to work out a strategy for how to narrow down my thousands of cards from 1989 and in doing some research I discovered that there are fourteen players who were in 1989 Fleer and not in any of the five other Major League flagship sets of that year (Bowman, Donruss, Score, Topps and Upper Deck). I was looking specifically at 1989 Fleer because it’s a set I’ve declared to be over-represented in my collection given how little I like it.

I thought it would be fun to run through each of the fourteen cards and give a brief overview of what each player’s 1989 season was like, but this post comes with a warning – for the most part there’s a reason why these guys were not in the other sets.  Still, it’s probably good information for team collectors and people like me who gravitate towards fringe-y players.

I’ve included scans for those cards which I currently own.

106 Eric Bullock – Minnesota Twins
This is Bullock’s rookie card, but he had been traded to the Phillies after the 1988 season where he would appear in just 6 games.

108 John Christensen – Minnesota Twins\

This is Christensen’s last MLB card, he’d spend all of 1989 in Triple-A as the last stop of his career

216 Vincente Palacios – Pittsburgh Pirates

Palacios pitched just 2 games in 1989, but at the Triple-A level. He *did* appear in another Major League set in 1989, the Score Hottest 100 Rising Stars set which came in a plastic clamshell with a book

261 Scott Nielsen – New York Yankees

1989 would be Nielsen’s last major league season and this is his last major league card. He’d appear in 2 games with the Yankees, was traded to the Mets that July and spent the rest of that season and the next in Triple-A.

279 Nick Capra – Kansas City Royals
Capra played 17 years of pro baseball with a few cups of coffee in the Majors, but this is his only Major League card. He’d spend all of 1989 in Triple-A

318 Todd Simmons – San Diego Padres
Simmons appeared on this card and a two-player 1988 Fleer “Prospects” card, but he never pitched in the Majors.

338 Tony Perezchica – San Francisco Giants

This is Perezchica’s rookie card – he’d gotten a September callup in 1988 – but he wouldn’t play in the Majors in 1989. He’d play in a total of 69 games spread over four seasons. He’d also appear in the 1989 Score Hottest 100 Rising Stars set.

397 Rod Allen – Cleveland Indians

Rod Allen would play in Japan for the 1989 season and appeared in the 1989 Calbee set.

410 Jeff Kaiser – Cleveland Indians
Over 7 seasons and 50 games (all in relief) Kaiser accumulated a 9.17 career ERA. This is his rookie card.

472 Mike Cook – California Angels

Cook has an interesting set of three Major League cards. This is his rookie card. He’d have two oddball cards in 1994 with the Orioles… One in a Team Stadium Club card with the Orioles, and the other is a Topps Gold card which didn’t exist in the non-Gold base set (it replaced one of the checklists)

513 Mike Woodard – Chicago White Sox

Woodard had a few cards before this one, but his last Major League game came in 1988.

524 Mike Jeffcoat – Texas Rangers

This card is the one that Fleer might have crowed about back in 1989. Jeffcoat started 22 games for the Rangers, went 9-6 with a 3.58 ERA and pitched 2 shutouts.

553 Bill McGuire – Seattle Mariners

McGuire was a 1st round pick in 1985, but he appeared in just 23 career Major League games and this one Major League baseball card.

612 Carl Nichols – Baltimore Orioles

Nichols was a Donruss ‘exclusive’ in 1988, a Fleer exclusive in 1989, appeared in several sets in 1991 while with the Astros, and then played in independent ball after that.

FYI, I’m planning a similar post about 1982 Fleer and I could be talked in to making this something of a series, if there’s enough (any) interest.


7 thoughts on “The Fourteen “Player Exclusives” Of 1989 Fleer

  1. I love cards like this as they’re also potentials for my “One-Card Wonders” series. … Sounds like a series to me, although I’d never get rid of cards from the ’80s unless they were dupes!

    • I used to feel this way, but the size of my collection is weighing down on me and it’s hard for me to justify keeping a 1989 Fleer card of (let’s say) Brook Jacoby when I don’t much like 1989 Fleer and I have 6 other 1989 cards of Jacoby (counting the Indians Team Leaders card from 89T)

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