1990 FLEER BASEBALL MVP CARDS

The 1990 Fleer Baseball MVP set was one of the most unique baseball card releases of the late 1980s/early 1990s. At a time when the baseball card industry was booming in popularity thanks to the rise of sports memorabilia collecting, Fleer took a different approach with their flagship baseball set by focusing exclusively on award winners instead of the entire league rosters. The set paid tribute to some of baseball’s all-time greats by highlighting players who had won major end-of-season awards.

Containing only 24 total cards, the 1990 Fleer Baseball MVP set was a significant departure from the standard models of the period which typically included 500+ cards of current players. By narrowing the selection to past MVPs, Rookies of the Year, Cy Young winners and more, Fleer crafted a collection that appealed to a niche audience looking to commemorate star players rather than complete team sets. Each card in the series featured minimal statistical information but overflowed with captivating photographs and vivid graphical designs specific to the award being honored on that particular card.

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At the forefront of the 1990 Fleer MVP release were the 8 cards dedicated to Baseball Writers’ Association of America MVP award recipients from both the American League and National League. One of the most iconic MVP cards was the Kirby Puckett issue which showed the Twins slugger celebrating with teammates after winning the 1987 AL MVP. Puckett’s dazzling smile and jubilant expression perfectly encapsulated the thrill of claiming one of baseball’s highest individual honors. Another standout was the Wade Boggs 1985 AL MVP card which featured an action shot of the versatile third baseman making a diving stop and throw.

In addition to AL/NL MVPs, the 1990 Fleer set paid tribute to past Rookie of the Year winners with 6 unique cards. Future Hall of Famers such as Kirk Gibson, Johnny Bench and Cal Ripken Jr. were all represented on classic ROY cards detailing their early career achievements. Fenway Park was the breathtaking background on the Tony Oliva 1964 AL ROY card which highlighted his breakout rookie campaign for the Minnesota Twins. Cards for NL Cy Young Award winners Leroy Stanton and Tom Seaver plus AL versions honoring Gaylord Perry and Bret Saberhagen made up 6 more coveted spots in the collection.

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Perhaps the most sought-after card in the entire 1990 Fleer MVP issue was the sole Hank Aaron 1975 NL MVPrecognition. Appearing a year before Aaron would break Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, the card captured the Hammer mid-swing and desperately chasing pitching greats like Ruth. Aaron’s MVP came at the very tail end of his decorated 23-year career and represented one of his final individual accolades. The rarity of an Aaron card from the mid-1970s alone makes it a prize possession over 30 years later.

While most 1990 Fleer Baseball MVP cards can still be obtained for affordable prices either in mint condition packs or as PSA-graded singles online, certain issues have grown exponentially more valuable with time. Outside of the Hank Aaron, the most valuable cards today include the Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio rookie cards, in large part due to the player’s icon status as well as the early stages of their careers highlighted. High-grade examples of the Cal Ripken Jr. ROY are also prized given his legacy as one of the greatest shortstops in MLB history.

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When it was first released, the 1990 Fleer Baseball MVP set took a unique approach that collectors loved by honoring storied award winners instead of providing the standard player checklist. Three decades later, the photographs, graphics and storyline each card tells about legendary players like Aaron, Bench, Boggs and more is what keeps the set as a cherished piece of cardboard collectibles history. While the set size was quite small, Fleer managed to effectively pay homage to some of the best athletes to ever play Major League Baseball through 24 memorable and significant baseball cards.

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