1987 FLEER BASEBALL CARDS ERRORS

The 1987 Fleer baseball card set is one of the most iconic and popular issues in the modern era of the sport. It is also known for containing some significant production errors that have puzzled and intrigued collectors for decades. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the most noteworthy mistakes and anomalies from the 1987 Fleer checklist.

One of the highest profile errors from the set involves Chicago Cubs superstar Andre Dawson’s photo. Dawson appears on his card wearing a Montreal Expos cap even though he was traded from Montreal to Chicago prior to the 1987 season. How the wrong photo made it onto Dawson’s Fleer card is unclear, but it stands out as one of the more glaring production gaffes in baseball card history. Dawson’s error card is considered one of the key rookie cards from the 1980s and remains a highly sought after piece for any serious collector.

Another odd photo error features San Francisco Giants pitcher Atlee Hammaker. On his 1987 Fleer card, Hammaker is pictured wearing a Brownsburg, Indiana minor league jersey even though he had been in the majors since 1981. Like the Dawson mistake, it’s puzzling how Hammaker ended up with a photo from several years prior when more updated major league pictures surely existed. Both the Dawson and Hammaker photo boo-boos resulted from Fleer having the wrong image on file when designing the cards.

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A statistical error can be found on the back of Texas Rangers pitcher Bobby Witt’s rookie card. His listing shows that he had 3 wins during the 1986 season when in reality Witt did not debut in the majors until 1987. This mistake could possibly be attributed to Fleer mixing up Witt’s stats with another player from a prior year.

Perhaps the strangest error from the 1987 Fleer set involves Seattle Mariners hurler Mike Jackson. On Jackson’s card, his last name is misspelled as “Jakcson.” An even odder twist is that later print runs of the card fixed the typo to correctly spell his surname. So there exist parallel versions of Jackson’s card – some with the error and others without. Collectors actively seek out both variations to have a complete representation in their collections.

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One of the most visually intriguing mistakes is found on Boston Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman’s card. The logo appearing on his hat below the team name is not the classic Red Sox “B” but rather an unfamiliar rounded “B” design never before seen. To this day, there is no confirmed explanation for the mystery logo that ended up on Gedman’s 1987 Fleer issue.

Moving beyond photo and statistical mix-ups, the 1987 Fleer set experienced issues with card cutting and centering as well. Dozens of cards came out of the factory significantly off-center, with images pushed over to one side rather than properly straight. Players like Ozzie Guillen, Walt Terrell and Terry Pendleton suffered from noticeable centering problems on their cardboard. The uneven trims sometimes altered team logos or cropped out portions of photos.

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On the more rare side, some errors saw select cards printed on thicker stock than the standard thinner paper stock of the base issues. Notable examples include Bo Jackson, Eric Davis and Oddibe McDowell whose cards feel heftier in the hand. Whether these variations were intentional or not is open for debate among experts. But they stand out as production anomalies among a massive printing run.

After over 30 years, the errors and oddities of the 1987 Fleer baseball card set continue to mystify collectors. Their scarcity and the mythology around how they slipped through quality control has made error varieties greatly desired by enthusiasts. While imperfect, they imbue the popular 1980s issue with an extra layer of intrigue and collectability. Even if the backstories behind some mistakes may never come to light, they bolster the legacy of one of the cornerstone releases from the golden age of the sport’s hobby.

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