Like many of you, any card series that dealt with sports sparked my interest as a kid. Fleer offered several collecting options beyond traditional picture cards. I collected the cloth logo and cap emblem stickers, “Famous Feats” in ’72 and “Wildest Days” in ‘73 as well as the ’70 and ’71 World Series.
The World Series sets featured cartoons or caricatures of baseball players and managers. The cartoons do a nice job of conveying the prime event or factor that led to outcome of that particular year. Robert Laughlin was the cartoonist who came up with this concept. He self-produced a set in the late ‘60s and then sold the concept to Fleer.
The two sets are not duplicates. 1970 consists of 66 standard sizes cards with a narrative of the series printed in blue on the back. In ’71, Fleer produced 68 cards (issuing a card for the 1904 series that was not played, and adding 1970), and uses a completely new cartoon and the MLB logo to the front. Also the backs are different with scores for each game and a different narrative printed in black.
Since I’ve completed the ’70 set recently, it will be the focus of the post.
The “Miracle Braves” rocketing to an incredible upset of the “Mackmen” is a good example of a generic cartoon players telling the series story. Also it demonstrates that one of Laughlin’s aims was “kid appeal.”
One of my favorites is the ’09 card which has great caricatures of a maniacal Ty Cobb and a dignified Honus Wagner. Notice the nick-names on the crossed bats.
The “Black Sox” card is an excellent example of Laughlin capturing the essence of a particular series.
Native-American themed logos should be consigned to the “dust bin” of history, but as an eight year old I loved this ’48 Series card.
This ’60 World Series depiction nicely sums up the underdog aspect of the Pirates’ win.
The “Cinderella” Mets ride in style at the expense of the Orioles on this ’69.
The lack of specific players’ names within the narrative on the back is the result of Fleer not securing the rights from the MLB Players’ Association. All mention of active players was omitted from the narratives.
To find out more details, check out this “Sports Collectors Digest” article.