Monday, December 8, 2014

My Reference Cards #9 - Fleer Focus and Fleer Club 3000

In the second half of the 1990s and right up until they went bankrupt, Fleer issued so many different card sets it was near impossible to keep up. And sets would come and go. If you found a set one year that you liked, good luck finding it the next year. Fleer/Skybox will issue 12 different card sets in 2000. Of course the other companies were issuing lots of cards as well, but there was less stability from year to year with Fleer.

2000 was the inaugural year for Fleer Focus. It's first year of two. I bought a hobby box on May 2000 for about $0.24/card.

2000 Fleer Focus #185 Cal Ripken, Jr.
The base set has 250 cards. Fleer Focus (as did most of Fleer's sets) had a gimmick. Note that the background of the photo is out-of-focus, while the player is, not only in focus, but surrounded by a white aura. The player is also glossy, while the background is not. Not a bad gimmick really, and not a bad looking card. I like the logo-on-a-cap, although it's been done before. The back has career stats and a small photo.

Cards numbered 226-250 are serial numbered Prospect cards. These have a red foil shield on the front and are numbered to 3999. I just pulled one of these from the box.

2000 Fleer Focus Green #206 Jeromy Burnitz
It's hard to see, but the player and team names are in green foil. This was a full parallel set, serial numbered to 300.  I pulled two of these, the other being Michael Barrett of the Expos.

There was another full parallel set, serial-numbered to 1.

2000 Fleer Focus Focal Points #1 Mark McGwire
This 15-card set was inserted 1:6 packs. I pulled 5 of the set.  These are foil board on the front and glossy on the back. The foil and back color is color coded to the players team. There was an insert to this set as well, called "Focal Points Striking" which I didn't get.

2000 Fleer Focus Fresh Ink #13 J. D. Drew
This autographed insert set has 48 cards and was inserted 1 in 96 packs. This is the very first autographed or relic card I ever pulled directly from a pack. In the scan it looks a bit like a sticker auto, but the autograph is directly on a piece of foil printed on the card. This was a pretty good card in 2000. Drew had just come off his rookie season and even though he hadn't exactly set the world on fire, he was still considered a future great player.

2000 Fleer Focus Future Vision #3 Ruben Mateo
Another 15-card set, this one inserted 1 in every 9 packs. Multicolored foil on the front, glossy on the back. Although this card says "Ruben is the Rangers' All-Star outfielder of the future", I'm guessing that Mateo never got closer to the All-Star Game than watching it on television.

2000 Fleer Focus Pocus #3 Nomar Garciaparra
Lots of multicolored holographic foil gives this 10-card set some eye appeal. Inserted 1 in 14 packs, I pulled 3 of them from the box.

There was one other 10-card insert set "Feel The Game" which I didn't get.

Fleer Club 3000

There are 14 base cards and 71 memorabilia cards in this set. The cards celebrate players who have either 3000 hits or pitchers who have 3000 strikeouts in their career. They were inserted in five of the Fleer branded card packs,  Fleer Tradition, Fleer Focus, Fleer Mystique, Fleer Showcase and Ultra. The cards are not numbered.

Fleer Club 3000 George Brett
The cards are die cut across the top and bottom to cut out the numbers. The Brett card came in Fleer packs, but I paid $0.83 for this in 2003.  I have half the set and would like to own the whole thing.

Fleer Club 3000 Memorabilia Steve Carlton
I didn't actually know that these memorabilia cards existed until I saw this one in a baseball card store in the Philadelphia area when we were visiting there last spring. I gladly paid $10 for it.

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