Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fleer Retail Box Sets from 1988

In the mid to late 1980s, Topps, Fleer and Donruss sold smaller boxed sets through a variety of chain department, toy and drug stores. These Fleer sets from 1988 were typical. These all were 44-card sets, featuring many of the same players. Each set had a different theme. The backs of all the cards were very much the same, patterned on the main 1988 Fleer release which was similar for most Fleer cards of the period.

I'm pretty sure I never saw any of these sets for sale anywhere or I'd have bought them. Many of them were available in stores which did not have outlets in the Philadelphia area, where I lived at the time. I've managed to acquire a few cards from each of these through the years. This is probably not all the boxed sets Fleer produced in 1988 but it's all I've got.

1988 Fleer Baseball All Stars #39 Ozzie SmithThis set was available in Ben Franklin Stores. According to Wikipedia, this chain is still around although I've never seen one. I bought 13 cards from the set on eBay in 2003. It this design looks familiar it may be because Fleer recycled the design for the 2003 Fleer Platinum set.

1988 Fleer League Leaders #16 Tony GwynnThis set was available at Walgreen Drug Stores, a chain not located in the Philadelphia area in the 1980s. Although not a Phillie or Astros card, I got this in the big 2010 Summer Clearance Trade last summer. The same person also sent me the Benito Santiago card from the set.

1988 Fleer Record Setters #2 George BellThis set was available at Eckerd's Drug stores, another chain not in the Philadelphia area in the late 1980s. I got this one in a batch of assorted George Bell cards on eBay. The only other one is the Mike Schmidt, which I bought at a card show last year.

1988 Fleer Sluggers/ Pitchers #36 Mike Schmidt
My big Beckett catalog says these were sold in department stores like McCrory and McLellan. I don't remember seeing these stores in the Philadelphia area. Half of the cards were "Sluggers", the other half were "Pitchers". I have two of these. This one I got in trade during my 2010 Summer Clearance trade last summer. The other, George Bell, I got in a batch of assorted George Bell cards on eBay.

1988 Fleer Superstars #9 Roger Clemens
Also available in McCrory and McLellan. I got this card in a lot of assorted Clemens cards in an eBay auction. I have 4 of these in total. The others I think I found in repacks.

1988 Fleer Exciting Stars #18 Von HayesThis was acquired in a trade with a fellow blogger. It's the only card from the set I have. This set was available from Cumberland Farms, a convenience store in the mid-Atlantic area. These stores I remember.

1988 Kay-Bee Team Leaders #33 Juan SamuelTopps was producing little boxed sets for Toys 'R Us. I also have the Mike Schmidt card from this set. This card came from friend of the blog, Max. I had little kids in 1988 but Kay Bee didn't have a big presence in Philadelphia then. I did most of our shopping in Toys 'R Us.

1988 Fleer Hottest Stars #32 Shane Rawley
Shane Rawley was 8-16 with the Phillies in 1988, not really what you'd call hot. This set was available from Revco Stores. Revco was a drug store operating in the Eastern half of the US although I don't remember there being any in the Philadelphia area. I got this card, the only one from this set I own, from Dave, the Cardboard Junkie.


night owl said...

I grew up in the Northeast, too, and the vast majority of these stores did not exist around my area (many still don't). So I never saw these.

I was barely collecting in '88 so I probably wouldn't have noticed them anyway.

Nice breakdown.

Fuji said...

Awesome post... I was wondering the history behind some of these set. I remember collecting these box sets back in the day.

I'm not sure how the acquired them... but dealers would sell these at card shows and I'd pick them up (especially the ones containing Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, and Will Clark).