1985 FLEER BASEBALL CARDS CHECKLIST

The 1985 Fleer baseball card set was the 18th edition of Fleer’s annual baseball card release. The design featured one of their more generic designs compared to some of their more creative ones from the previous decade. The borderless format featured a simple white background with team logos at the top and black text underneath. Fleer would continue with borderless designs throughout much of the 1980s. The 1985 set included 330 cards and showed the rising stars of the 1980s alongside established veterans of the 1970s. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key aspects and highlights from the 1985 Fleer baseball card checklist.

The rookie class of 1985 featured some future Hall of Famers and all-time greats. Perhaps the most notable rookie was Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets. Known as “Doc”, Gooden would go on to win the 1984 Rookie of the Year award and the 1985 Cy Young award. His rookie card showed him pitching for the Mets and captured the hype around one of the best young pitchers in baseball at the time. Another top rookie was Bret Saberhagen of the Kansas City Royals. Saberhagen would also win the Cy Young award just a few years later in 1985. His smooth delivery and dominance as a starter made him one of the game’s best pitchers in the late 80s. Skater Ken Griffey Jr. also had his rookie card in the 1985 Fleer set. Griffey Jr. was just getting started in his stellar career that would see him eclipse 600 home runs and make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

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The 1985 Fleer checklist also highlighted superstars entering their prime. Don Mattingly’s slick swing made him a fan favorite on the New York Yankees. His card in the ’85 set showed his smooth lefty stroke. Another Yankee, Dave Winfield, was in the midst of his power/average combination that made him a perennial All-Star. Mike Schmidt remained the top third baseman in baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies, coming off another 40 home run season. Nolan Ryan continued to mystify hitters with his blazing fastball for the Houston Astros well into his late 30s. Ryan Seaver of the Chicago White Sox and Fernando Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers were also among the game’s most prominent hurlers at the time.

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The Fleer designers also included fun Easter eggs and details on many of the cards. For example, Ozzie Smith’s card from 1985 highlighted his otherworldly defense at shortstop by showing a spider web graphic behind him, a nod to his “Wizard of Oz” nickname. Don Baylor’s card for the Angels called out his prodigious strength by featuring an illustration of him holding two baseball bats. Other creative touches included a pitch trajectory graphic on Dwight Gooden’s card to depict his blazing fastball. These small graphics helped bring more visual interest compared to many drab 1980s card designs.

In terms of rarer cards and chase cards for the 1985 Fleer set, one stands above the rest – the Willie Mays tribute card. Numbered to a tiny print run of only 100 copies, the gold-embossed Mays card showed him congratulating a rookie. It paid homage to Mays’ enormous impact and stature as a player and it’s one of the true keys to any complete ’85 Fleer set today. Other short-printed chase cards include Cliff Johnson (Card #244) and Dave Parker (Card #273), both limited to approx. 1000 copies each. For collectors looking to assemble a true master set, tracking down the ultra-rare Mays card is the holy grail piece.

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While not quite as iconic or creative as some previous Fleer designs, the 1985 checklist still provided a who’s who of the MLB landscape at the time. Featuring rookie gems of Hall of Famers like Griffey Jr. and Saberhagen alongside mature superstars like Ryan, Schmidt, and Mattingly, it captured a special transition year in the game. Between the fun additive graphics, rare variants like the Mays card, and showcase of all 30 MLB teams, the ’85 Fleer set endures as an important snapshot from the decade. It remains a popular and affordable set for collectors today seeking a full roster from a pivotal year in baseball history.

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