1986 FLEER BASEBALL CARDS CHECKLIST

The 1986 Fleer baseball card set was the third officially licensed release from Fleer following their acquisition of the MLBPA license in 1981. The 1986 checklist marked some notable firsts and last for the Fleer brand. It contained the final cards issued for legends like Nolan Ryan and Carl Yastrzemski who retired after the 1986 season. It was also the set that included the debut Fleer cards of future hall of famers like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Greg Maddux in their rookie seasons.

The 1986 Fleer set totaled 399 cards and had several parallels including an error subset focusing on players with misspelled names. The design featured a photo of the player on a white background in front of a colored banner containing their name and team. Statistics from the previous season were included on the reverse. Notable rookies in the set beyond the future stars mentioned included Will Clark, Sandy Alomar Jr., and David Cone.

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Checklist and Notes:

1-25 – Pitchers (John Candelaria #1, Nolan Ryan #25 in his final issued card)

26-50 – Catchers (Gary Carter #27, Alan Trammell #41 played some catcher in 1986)

51-75 – First Basemen (Keith Hernandez #52, Don Mattingly #56)

76-100 – Second Basemen (Ryne Sandberg #78, Lou Whitaker #94)

101-125 – Third Basemen (Mike Schmidt #103, Wade Boggs #105)

126-150 – Shortstops (Cal Ripken Jr. #129, Ozzie Smith #132)

151-175 – Left Fielders (Tim Raines #151, Steve Kemp #172)

176-200 – Center Fielders (Dale Murphy #178, Robin Yount #188)

201-225 – Right Fielders (Larry Parrish #201, Dwight Evans #208)

226-250 – Designated Hitters (Dave Parker #226, Don Baylor #234)

251-275 – Managers/Coaches

276-300 – American League (Rookies/Prospects) – Included Barry Bonds #277 RC, Wally Joyner #278

301-325 – National League (Rookies/Prospects) – Included Mark McGwire #301 RC, Andy Van Slyke #302

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326-350 – American League (Veteran Basebalers) – Included Rickey Henderson #327, George Brett #336

351-375 – National League (Veteran Basebalers) – Included Mike Schmidt #351, Jack Clark #367

376-399 – Error/Update/Special Subset – Included misspelled name variations like Strawberry→Strawbree, McGee→McGee

The 1986 Fleer design was both classic in its simplicity but also somewhat plain compared to the flashier Topps and Donruss sets that year. The photos showed the players in a more casual pose versus action shots. Still, the checklist featured many all-time greats and younger stars so demand has remained strong over the decades. Several of the rookie cards like Bonds and McGwire have become extremely valuable in high grades. Other key rookie gems include Sandy Alomar Jr., David Cone, and Will Clark.

For collectors of the era and players who retired after 1986, this was one of the final Fleer sets to feature legends like Nolan Ryan and Carl Yastrzemski. The backwards stats also provide an easy reference point to see numbers from 1984-1985. Condition is always key when collecting vintage Fleer which tended to have thinner/weaker cardboard stock versus rivals. In higher grades, 1986 Fleer remains a staple of collections and an important transitional set that marked both endings and exciting new beginnings for the players featured on the checklist.

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While somewhat forgettable design-wise compared to flashier ’80s offerings, the 1986 Fleer baseball card set holds relevance due to iconic rookie cards, legends in their last year, and historical context of being Fleer’s third MLB license. Demand has proven steady for the complete set and especially key rookie gems which in top grades can rival or exceed similarly graded rookie cards from flagship Topps and Donruss sets of the period.

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