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Tag Archives: Fleer

21 packs per box:
17 regular packs/7 cards per pack
4 jumbo packs/20 cards per pack

Base set completion: 138 of 178 (78%)
Short print set completion:10 of 22 (45%)
Base doubles: 45

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Impressions

This seemed like a reasonable enough deal — Charm City does these hobby boxes for $55. With that many cards coming in a hobby box, it seemed pretty feasible that a single box would yield the entire set. Well, it came close. A shame, since better collation would’ve easily taken care of the base set. Maybe not the SPs, but there were clearly enough doubles (45 altogether) to come a lot closer to finishing the remaining 40 I need now.

As far as all the shiny baubles, it comes with the requisite game-used cards. The Schilling card is nice enough, although I have a lot of trouble referring to a square-inch or so-sized swatch of jersey as a patch. I don’t know, but when I say “patch,” I’m thinking something a little bigger than what you normally get. It would’ve been nice had I owned these two game-used cards in, say, I don’t know, 2004. But hey, I’m sure there’re still plenty of Giambi and Schilling fans out there.

I wasn’t around in 2004 to know whether this was intended as a retro set to compete with Heritage, but it clearly pays homage to 1984 Fleer. I also can’t recall if 1984 was a particularly important one for Fleer, or why, if they did, want to commemorate the occasion 20 years later.

mattinglyWhile I’m clearly a sucker for the obvious retro-themed sets (i.e. Heritage, Masterpieces, etc.), it does seem a little odd to look to the overproduction era for inspiration. Then again, I dove in and went after both 08 Timeline and 07 SP Rookie Edition, so perhaps even the 80s/90s era has untapped potential.

I can’t imagine, however, that time will ever produce a yearning for 2039 Topps Heritage, which would bring back the ever-popular 1990 design out from the dustbin.

Overproduction era or not, mid-80s Fleer does have that nice, clean look that translates well to a modern card, as evidenced by 2004 Platinum. And just like the old days, card numbers are randomly assigned — that is, the set isn’t ordered alphabetically by teams, like any modern Upper Deck set. Different teams are scattered about the checklist as they have been in the past — at least for Upper Deck/Fleer, anyway.

plat4Speaking of hearkening back to the past, I found the “Unsung Heroes” subset particularly interesting in that it reminded me so much, visually, of all of those late-80s drugstore issues. I remember those cards well — every time we’d drop by a Sav-On Drug or Woolworths, I’d beg forever and ever for a pack. Mom and dad rarely relented, but I did manage to save at least two sets — 1988 Topps Woolworth and 1988 Topps Kmart.

I remember loving those cards so much — so glossy! They had to be “worth more” sabothan those cheap cardboard 50-cents-a-pack regular issues. Two decades later, I came to the sad realization that they weren’t worth much in dollars, but they were certainly worth the childhood nostalgia. Their lack of value, however, hasn’t stopped some folks from locking them up in PSA holders,  however.

Anyway, enough nostalgia. Although there were some obvious collation issues, this was not a bad box to break overall. It’s not a massively oversized set, and the short prints aren’t a hideous task to compile either. A single box could conceivably knock out an entire base set, and that’s always added value. As far as completing the set, I don’t know that there’re too many doubles of these cards floating around on the Bench, but we’ll see.

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On my way home Sunday, I decided to drop into a market that frequently has deeply discounted wax. This time, I found 2005 Fleer Patchworks packs going for a $1. If I recall correctly, they also had full hobby boxes available as wellpatchworks

When I made it home, I browsed through Beckett and saw that 05 Patchworks is only a 100-card set, which should make this one a pretty easy build.

Not so fast! Turns out the base set consists of 70 cards, and the final 30 of 100 are short prints. Short prints seeded one-in-eight per hobby box. In other words, if I paid the $80-100 going price for a hobby box of 05 Patchworks (18 packs/5 cards per pack), I’d end up with almost all of the base set, and only two out of the 30 short-printed cards. TWO.

I understand card companies want and obviously need to turn a profit. This, however, is beyond asinine. If I bought a 12-box case of Patchworks (or just about any other short-printed set, for that matter), and allowing for near-perfect collation, I’d still be short six cards out the short-printed set. Even with the better seeding ratios in products such as Allen & Ginter (1:2) and Heritage (1:3), it still takes a minumum of two hobby boxes to complete a set. And after all is said and done, I’ll end up with a ton of mostly-useless doubles.

Of course, it’d be tremendously simpler to buy a complete base set to begin with. But doing so kills the fun of putting together a hand-collated set.

Rather than continuing to pour money into essentially worthless extras such as game-used jersey cards, why not focus on making sets that are cost-efficient to build? And I’m not talking about de-fanged derivatives such as Opening Day and First Edition, either. I’m talking about 100-card sets, without massive amounts of ridiculously-seeded short prints, at a reasonable price? This year’s UD Icons Baseball seemed like it was a step back in that direction — until you see its pricepoint. $11-12 MSRP per pack (10 packs per box/5 cards per pack)? Who can afford that?

Short prints (ridiculously seeded ones at that) kill the fun of completing a set by hand. You’d have to buy so much product and count and miraculously perfect collation to get where you want to be. Short prints are added value for the manafacturers, not the collector.

Eight cards per pack/14 packs per box

Base set (1-100) completion: 54 of 100 (54%)
2007 SP RC set (101-142) completion: 21 of 42 (50%)
Short print set (143-234) 14 of 92 (15%)
1996 SP RC set (243-284) 21 of 50 (42%)
Total set completion (this box) 108 of 284 (38%)
Total duplicates: 2 (2007 SP RC design)

Overall set completion (2 hobby boxes) 154 of 284 (54%)

“Hits”

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Impressions

Well, out of 108 possible cards, only 46 contributed to the set’s completion, leaving me at just a hair more than halfway through. And I’m nowhere near picking up all the short prints. Wow. That’s some bad collation. Oh well, no surprise here. Although this is going to give me some serious pause about even bothering with another box of Timeline. I think I’m better off trying to work trades to finish off the rest of these two sets.

Seriously, this is pathetic that two hobby boxes doesn’t even come close to finishing the base set. If this is Upper Deck’s model — and it certainly appears like it’s going to be in 2009, with a 1000-card flagship base set — they’re going to have an even harder time selling those hobby boxes.

It’s hard to really understand what in the world UD is thinking — producing bloated, massive base sets, inundating them with SPs, and canning their few worthwile sets. I have to think that if UD keeps this up, Topps is going to have fewer and fewer challenges, what with Fleer out of the picture, and Donruss relegated to non-licensed sets.

Five cards per pack, 15 packs per box

Base set completion: 50 of 100 (50%)
Base duplicates: 1
Inserts: 18

“Hits”

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Impressions

As you can see from the scans, it looks like I ended up with a Yankee-heavy box. Too bad for me!

This was the first of three boxes I ordered from Dave & Adam’s, taking advantage of their Christmas sale prices and free shipping. That this box even arrived here today when it did is a feat in itself. I had originally ordered these on Monday the 15th, assuming that between the time it took UPS to deliver, and the final work week of the year, I’d have something to occupy myself the first couple of days of vacation. I should’ve figured on late ship dates though — DACW didn’t ship until 12/16, which meant the maximum time UPS would take extended my delivery time until 12/24, meaning I’d have no time to break the box until after Christmas!

Fast forward to today, when UPS finally showed them out for delivery. I waited for the usual time the driver comes by, and nothing. Checked my tracking numbers — wait a minute, delivered? Our usually reliable driver for some reason sent my boxes next door.

Long story short, it took a while, but they’re finally here.

I feel this set is what 08 Donruss Threads should’ve been. The 100-card checklist is nothing but HOFers and retired stars. It seems to me that the last set to do really well with a checklist of non-active players was 07 Legendary Cuts. Everything else since then has really faltered in terms of checklist variety.

But as for these cards, as I mentioned in a pack break earlier, they feature a simple, bordered design with enough old-timey looking artistic accents to give them the proper feel for a retired players set.

As for the box, I’m disappointed (though not surprised) that I only managed half of a base set with one hobby box. Even if the 18 inserts had been base cards, I’d still be only a little more than two-thirds of the way to a full set. Still, with a five-card/15 pack configuration, that’s not a surprise. What I am happy about is the price point on the box compared to its actual retail price. I bought a single pack for $6. I saved $20 off the price of 15 hobby packs.

I do wish we could go back to 04-06 in the baseball card production era. Lots of 100-150 card base sets; hobby boxes with 20 or more packs per box, and a greater variety of interesting sets to collect — as opposed to the Upper Deck Timeline/Documentary/X debacle of 2008. Those three years were great, and it’s no surprise that I continue to bust boxes from that time period.

As an added bonus from DACW, with a $50 purchase, I received two free hobby packs of 07 UD Masterpieces. In one of the packs was this card:

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Once again, as a Dodger fan, it sure is odd ending up with all these Giants and Yankees!

Coming tomorrow: 2007 Bowman Heritage hobby box, and a package from Cards on Cards

36 packs, 10 cards per pack

Base set completion:
1st box: 293 out of 400 (80%)
2nd box: 53 out of 400 (13%), or 53 out of the remaining 77 (69%)

Talk about terrible collation! With 648 or so (subtracting the approximately 72 inserts), base cards, I’m still at only 376 out of 400 (94%) of the base set. Ultra from the same year yielded much better collation, and with fewer total cards. Fortunately, with just 24 cards to go, the trades can be much smaller and I should be able to finish this set without any further issue. Worse comes to worst, I can always find the stragglers on Sportlots.

“Hits”
Fleer Fabrics (advertised insertion rate: 1:36)
Dontrelle Willis (white swatch with pinstripe)

The included hit in this box was the exclamation point on all of this. Of all the worthless GU cards to pull, none other than the derailed D-Train. I was hoping for a Jeter perhaps, to salvage the cost of spending $17 to acquire 53 base cards.

36 packs, 10 cards per pack
Base set completion: 293 out of 400 (80%)

I’m a little disappointed that I’m still this far from finishing the set, considering how there were 360 cards in this box. Along with the packs of this I’d bought previously, I’m now 77 cards away from completing the 400-card base set. What’s particularly aggravating about this set is that Fleer/UD added a 30-card rookie set (Kemp, Ethier, Papelbon, etc.) in its factory sets, but not in retail or hobby boxes.

Much like the other boxes of 2006 Fleer product I’ve bought, insert cards are seeded at least one per pack, with two in some packs. I suppose I may yet round up the rest of this product that’s left at the store, since it’s on blowout clearance right now.

“Hits”
Fleer Fabrics (advertised insertion rate: 1:36)
Pedro Martinez (Mets card, pictured in Boston jersey)

This is a set-builders product, not a hits-driven one, so no real surprise here with just one jersey card. Overall, not a horrible deal for the price I paid. I would’ve kicked myself had I paid the full orignal MSRP though!