The last drops of the Highlighter Yellow was used, the Canary Blue was obviously too expensive. So Fleer went with BROWN. Actually, 2 shades of brown! Don't get me wrong, my favorite color is brown. I love brown shoes and pants, brown cars, and I miss the light brown M&M's every time I eat them. But brown is not the ideal choice for the front or back of a baseball card.
How do you include more years of Stats on the Back? Easy! Make the card back vertical. I still remember seeing cards of Major League Veterans like Carl Yastrzemski with stats from the top of the card to the bottom starting with 1983 Fleer. Awesome.
If there aren't enough Stats for the Back, then how about an interesting tidbit? Don't mind if I do.
Did I know?...
Sandberg was a record-setting QB in West Virginia? Nope.
Ryno was traded with Bowa for DeJesus? Yep.
Did you know?...
Sandberg won 9 consecutive gold gloves?
Gold gloves are probably the most meaningless award ever given?
71 TOPPS TRIBUTE?
1971 Topps was the first set to include player photos on the backs of the cards. Topps wouldn't try such a stunt again until 1993. Fleer steps in and fills the giant card-back-photo-sized hole for all us kids of the 1980's. Thanks Fleer!
1. Pct. - Again?
2. 12 Stats - Are there any others?
3. Why trade Sandberg to the Cubs? - Mike Schmidt at 3B, Manny Trillo at 2B. No room in Philly, future HOFamer!
What's the Same From 1981:
1. MAJOR & MINOR LEAGUE RECORD. McRae has been in the Bigs too long for any Minor League data to show. I do wonder if it says "complete" if in fact all years fit on the back. (I did a quick check on the interwebs and the answer is no)
2. HIGLIGHTER YELLOW. And more of it. I can only assume they got a good deal at Costco for yellow ink and were determined to use it all.
3. GENERAL FORMAT. Name, Position at top. Same 12 stats in the middle. Generic profile data for those stalker inclined fans.
4. PCT. ????? Still ugh!
Same but Different:
1. 2 CIRCLES. One has the card # (Badly Off Center), the other has TEAM LOGO. I consider the team logo an almost MUST for baseball cards. Sure wish it was on the front.
2. ML AVG. Moved from right circle to the middle. Still LAME.
CANARY BLUE. Reminds me of some sweet throwback Expos, Royals, Phillies, Braves, etc uniforms. The blue improves the look of the back quite a bit.
Still no Wikipedia-esque factoids from Fleer. See you in 1983.
This is a series of posts I thought of soon after I started the blog back in 2008, bu never got around to. With a name like Stats on the Back, it seems only right that I post about all those numbers on the back of baseball cards. I am choosing Fleer because they were my favorite card backs for reasons I'll share throughout these posts. I'll start with Fleer's return to cards in 1981 and end with the beginnings of mt first breakup with collecting in 1991 (No, it wasn't the yellow cards' fault).
1981 Fleer #34 UL Washington
1. COMPLETE MAJOR AND MINOR LEAGUE BATTING RECORD. I like seeing all the minor league stats. UL was pretty much the same player in the minors as he was in the majors. I'm sure he used a toothpick on the field in San Jose just like he did in K.C.
2. EASY TO READ. Black on white makes every number clear.
1. ML AVG CIRCLE. I get that this cannot be card number .265 but it does take a place traditionally for the card number. This is card #34. Why use the career average? I realize that Bill James was still writing in his basement at his parent's house in 1981 but come on, Fleer.
2. BLANK SPACE. Luckily, UL had enjoyed 10 years in professional baseball or that blank space at the bottom could have taken over back there. I don't want my cards pointlessly filled but I do enjoy the occasional tidbit or statistical nugget.
3. HIGHLIGHTER YELLOW. Is this 1981 or 1991?
PCT. ?????????? Fleer, you got it correct in your ridiculous AVG Circle and then you go and do this! What dos this stand for? Batting Percentage? As self-proclaimed stathead, this hurts my feelings.
Something New I Learned About UL Washington:
Not a whole lot of extra info in 1981. He was a switch hitter from Oklahoma!
"How the BLEEP am I supposed to catch a BLEEPING ball with this BLEEPING glove? There is a BLEEPING hole in the BLEEPING glove! Can you believe this BLEEP? BLEEPING BLEEP! The BLEEPING ball will fit through the BLEEPING hole! What the BLEEP happened to it? BLEEP! Do you see the BLEEPING hole? It's the size of the BLEEPING ball! Holy BLEEP! I can play any BLEEPING position you want me to. I played every BLEEPING one in a BLEEPING game in 19-BLEEPING-68. But don't be BLEEPING complaining when I don't catch the BLEEPING ball. BLEEP, the BLEEPING glove is BLEEPING got a BLEEPING hole in it. Anybody can BLEEPING see that. I'm must be going BEEPING crazy! BLEEP!"
I hope Cesar Tovar sounded like a Venezuelan Samuel L. Jackson!
When I was 10, I bought a T-206 Christy Mathewson card for $35, easily the most I ever spent on a card growing up. It was one of the few times I chose quality over quantity. My 37 year old self is pleased that my 10 year old self ponied up the cash to add a first class Hall of Famer to his collection of 1980's baseball cards.
Last year, I excitedly went to the Jackie Robinson biopic, 42, at the theater soon after its release. Jackie is a legend through and through. His legend is so great that I had always listed him among Ruth, Wagner, Cobb, etc as a player whose "real" baseball card I could never own. ("real" card = a card produced while the player was an active player.) Robinson has shown up in many recent releases by Topps but those just aren't the same.
How can I consider giving my kids my collection, filled with vintage Pete Rose, Willie Mays, Stan Musial cards and not so vintage Jeter, Pujols, and Kershaw cards without Jackie Robinson? It suddenly seemed like the largest hole in my collection.
I did my ebay research and put in my max bid of $60. I won the card. There will never be a card that cost me more than this one. I am proud that my most expensive card will always be Jackie. Thanks Jackie for making the game I love better.
Now, how exactly do you split ONE Jackie Robinson card between TWO kids??????
When I think of the Red Sox, two things immediately come to mind, The Green Monster and Jack Clark.
In 1992, Topps got it right by photographing the Red Sox legend in front of the iconic left field wall:
Clark was known for his slick fielding, his ability to stay injury free, and for getting along with teammates.
Wait a minute. Jack Clark hacked my blog and wrote this ridiculous post. Everything not about the Green Monster is FALSE.
Here are some Stats on the Back!
Jack Clark feuded with most every star he played with. He and Tony Gwynn did NOT appreciate each other's approach to the game. Clark fussed that Gwynn hit to protect his average, not win games. Gwynn argued that the team's #4 hitter should not walk so much (Clark led the league in walks in both seasons with the Padres.).
Warning: Blasphemy Ahead!!!!!!
According to Baseball Reference's WAR statistic, Clark was more valuable than Gwynn in 1989 and 1990.
The Fleer Sticker Project believes this to be Don Baylor barreling into second base. It's definitely an Oriole who was out by at least a Duffy hop and a skip. Frank appears to be halfway into some kind of atomic knee drop. The extra wrestling move looks to be unnecessary as Baylor appears to be down for the count. If I didn't know that Baylor went on to enjoy a long career of being hit by pitches, I would be worried that he did not make it through this slide alive.
There are lots of other things to like about this display of sliding horror:
1. Is that an umpire in the foreground? If Fleer Sticker is right about the game, then that is home plate umpire Bill Kunkel. Kunkel was a former pitcher for the KC Athletics and the NY Yankees. His son, Jeff Kunkel, played in the 80's.
2. Duffy, clearly ahead of his time, wore a batting glove on his glove hand. Ken Harrelson is believed to be the first to wear a glove while batting in a game just 8 years before.
3. Pastel colors: pink, blue, and green. Pretty tame compared to the psychedelic '72 set, but far from the Hyper-Foil of today.
4. James Bond-esque Baseball circle! Roger Moore took his first turn as Bond in Live and Let Die the same year this set was produced.
5. Speaking of worst slides ever, its been over 2 years since my last real post. It's no coincidence that my daughter (child #2) is turning 2 soon. I work and I take care of the kids. There is little time for cardboard tom-foolery! My son has a box of cards that he sorts, dumps out, etc. He asks me questions like, "Why do you have SO MANY cards?" Touche, my boy, touche.
My favorite player of all-time is Eric Davis. I have never gone after his cards with any fervor but I have about 200. The google doc lists everything (except 1/1) that I do NOT have. There are over 850 cards that I need. Let me know if you have any. (I ALSO DO NOT HAVE THAT SWEET POSTER!)
Help! My sidebar with wantlists, posts, etc has jumped down to the bottom of the blog. According to the layout, it should be on the right. I tried changing templates but it is still stuck on the bottom. Any ideas?