Monday, January 30, 2012

Fleer Finally Finished

When I returned to collecting in 2008, one of my first goals was to complete the run of all Cubs cards from Topps, Donruss, and Fleer. Those were the brands I knew and for the most part, I got that goal accomplished. For 1952 Topps, I settled on reprints. Later I got the real cards except for the high series. For Donruss and Fleer, I started at 1981 and went to the end of the line for each. I thought I was done.

I later learned that Fleer wasn't finished. In 1981 all the talk I heard was about Donruss and Fleer's first sets. I bought them back in 1981, errors and all. It wasn't until I got back to collecting that I realized Fleer had sets from the early '60s too.

The 1963 Cubs set was easy to put together. There were only two Cubs on the 67 card checklist. But Fleer also had sets from 1960 and 1961, and in order for me to say that Fleer was finished, I needed to get those cards, too.

I decided that I would tackle that project over the Christmas break. Today I'll show the '60s and tomorrow it'll be the '61s.

Both the 1960 and 1961 sets featured retired players. Topps had the exclusive on the active players (except for Ted Williams), leaving Fleer to pick up the retired left-overs. The 1960 Fleer Baseball Greats set had 78 past players and one card of Teddy Ballgame. Nine of the 78 were Cubs, which is a pretty decent showing of Cubs. The cards don't list a team on them, just the player's name, so for the most part it's the players uniform that determines the team.

I used the checklist from Teamsets4U as my Cubs checklist. It was good with a couple exceptions. The list had this card...

...of Johnny Evers on the Cubs list. But if you look at the bottom right of the card you'll see a "B" on his uniform. Evers is known mainly as a Cub, but he did spend time with the Boston Braves near the end of his career. To me he's a Cub, and despite the "B" I'm leaving him in my set.

Evers was one of seven Cubs in the set that are in the Hall of Fame. I'll start with those...

KiKi Cuyler was not in the Hall of Fame when the set was released. With each of the others, the card includes the year the player was inducted. Cuyler didn't make it until 1968, so there is no HOF mention on his card.

The two non-HOFers were known more for their time with other teams.

I'm have doubts about keeping Derringer in the Cubs set. The best part of his career was with the Reds. Both the Reds and the Cubs had a wishbone C on their hat, so it looks like this card could pass for both teams. Now look at his chest. Just above his right arm are some letters. Is it spelling CINCINNATI or CHICAGO. I'm thinking I see a IN more than a CH. What do you think?

Finally, here is the other problem with Teamsets4u's checklist. This card of Earl Averill

was included as a Cub. And it sure looks like a Cub, but actually, the C is for Cleveland. Averill was and Indian for the majority of his career and never played for the Cubs, though

his son did. Maybe it was the same name among father and son, plus the C on the uni and hat, that caused the confusion. It just means that I have an extra 1960 Fleer card in my collection.

Tomorrow I'll have the 1961 Fleer Cubs.


  1. I am thinking the Derringer is a Reds card. I can't tell what is written on the chest, but the cap appears to be darker which would imply to me that it is a black cap opposed to a dark blue cap. What does the back of the card say? Any clues?

  2. The back is no help; it lists all of the teams he played for

  3. There are more than a few errors in the TeamSets4U checklists. I believe that they are all easy-to-make ones, like the Averill one. Unfortunately, only truly obsessives about a particular team are going to find them.

    (From the person behind 14,000 Phillies -- blogspot is having issues with OpenID accounts)

  4. TeamSets4U lists Russell Martin as a Dodger in the 2011 Topps Heritage set. He's obviously featured as a Yankee. The site is a valuable, valuable resource, but this particular kind of error has messed up my want lists once or twice (a post coming up!)

  5. I've seen mistakes with other Cubs sets, too. And like Matt said, many are the easy-to-make ones. When you consider the massive number of sets he's cataloged, errors are inevitable. But as Night Owl said, it is a super valuable resource. I doubt I could have put my sets together without it. For me, when I found a Cub card not listed on his lists, it was like a bonus.

    And thanks for the special sneak preview, Night Owl!

  6. You can add another to the 7 Hall of Famers. Lazzeri was elected to the Hall in 1991.

  7. I know the guy who does the TeamSets4U Website. If you have issues about something on his site, send me an email and I'll let him know what is in error...

    And it's been said already, but Lazzeri is a HOFer too.