FLEER 87 BASEBALL CARDS

The 1987 Fleer baseball card set was a significant release that marked both change and nostalgia for collectors. It was the first year Fleer produced baseball cards since losing the Topps license in 1981. Fleer returned with a modern 385-card base set along with parallel inserts that captured the nostalgia of the vintage Fleer cards many collectors fondly remembered from the 1960s and 1970s.

The 1987 Fleer set featured many star players who were entering their prime or had recently established themselves as elite major leaguers. Players like Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, and Rickey Henderson graced the cardboard. Rookies included future Hall of Famers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. The visual design of the base cards featured a clean and simple look with mostly solid color backgrounds and a large central photo. Statistics and career highlights were prominently displayed on the back.

In addition to the base set, Fleer also produced several parallel insert sets that paid homage to their earlier card designs from over a decade prior. The “Fleer Stamps” subset featured 60 additional cards with designs resembling postage stamps from the 1960s Fleer issues. Another parallel set called “Traded” contained 30 player cards replicating the look of the 1969 Fleer traded set with a blue and white color scheme. Both parallel subsets added to the nostalgia and collecting options for set builders.

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While the base cards and inserts were the primary attractions, Fleer also included several oddball short print and error cards that became highly sought after by collectors. Perhaps the most famous was the “Blank Back” Wade Boggs card that lacked any statistics or information on the reverse. Only a small number were mistakenly printed this way, fueling intense demand among error card collectors. Another scarce short print was the “Traded” version of Ozzie Smith which featured an inverted photo.

The 1987 Fleer release was a landmark in several ways. It marked the company’s return to the baseball card market after a six year absence and reestablished them as a serious competitor alongside Topps. The blending of modern design principles with nostalgic nods to their earlier vintage issues was a savvy marketing move that appealed to collectors both new and old. While production quality control issues led to some notable errors, these anomalies only added to the set’s allure over the long run.

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The player selection in 1987 Fleer was excellent, showcasing many future Hall of Famers and superstars entering their primes. Rookie cards of emerging talents like Maddux and Glavine took on new value as their careers blossomed. The parallel inserts like “Stamps” and “Traded” expanded the set beyond the base issue, giving collectors more creative options for building their collections. In the decades since, the 1987 Fleer set has become one of the most recognizable and revered releases from the junk wax era of the 1980s and early 1990s.

While production numbers were high for its time, 1987 Fleer cards have retained strong collector demand due to the product’s historical significance, attractive visuals, and star-studded roster of players. The base cards remain fairly affordable for most collectors to obtain in high grade for a complete set. The short print errors and inserts have increased greatly in value as the rarest and most desirable components. The “Blank Back” Boggs and “Inverted Photo” Ozzie Smith are particularly acclaimed anomalies that can fetch thousands of dollars in top condition today.

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For vintage card collectors, 1987 Fleer marked a return to prominence for the brand and a new beginning that proved hugely influential. It set the stage for Fleer to compete directly with Topps as the ’80s progressed. The blending of modern and nostalgic elements was ahead of its time and remains an exemplary aspect of the set’s enduring appeal. While produced in vast numbers, the allure of stars, parallels, and anomalies has sustained strong collector interest for over three decades. The 1987 Fleer baseball card set remains a pinnacle achievement that defined a pivotal year and cemented its place as a classic among enthusiasts.

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