Last year, I purchased the 1981 and 1982 Fleer sets for essentially the shipping cost. Both sets were in binders, but the pocket pages were the old PVC type with the cards inserted two to a pocket. I “freed” the 1981 set last year and finally did the same for 1982 recently. This re-paging task allowed me to closely examine the 1982 cards-which left me astonished at the poor quality of photos, bad lighting and odd poses. There are a few positive aspects, but one must dig deeply.
Since 1982 was Fleer’s second go-round, one would assume that they would strive to produce a quality product to make up for the mistake-laden inaugural 1981 set. Instead, consistently murky images make season two a step back in quality.
1982 National League MVP Dale Murphy is an example of badly blurred image. You would think that an in focus shot of a player posing with a bat could be executed properly. Of course, the fuzzy images may have been the result printing issues. But if this were the case, why didn’t Fleer fix the issue once they saw the proofs?
Both Cal Ripken and teammate Lynn Sakata are typical examples of the “Fleer fuzz,” and Jack Clark shows blurred action.
“Big Daddy” Rick Reuschel is viewed through a camera darkly. Most of his card is black. The low light for Gary Allenson is a typical shot of a stationary figure in the daytime that still comes out dark and out of focus.
If poor photo quality wasn’t enough, many of poses are head scratchers. Brian Kingman is a good example of the fixation on photographing left-handed pitchers from behind. There are way too many shots of players’ backs.
Another overused pose is to have players seated alone in the dugout. It was as if Fleer was anticipating social distancing requirements 38 years ago.
Photos taken around the batting cage were common for decades. But Fleer takes it to a new level by photographing players in the cage. A few players taking batting practice might work as a fresh angle, but they took this idea and ran it into the ground.
And, what is with the pose used for Jack Morris? He is barely in the frame. Also, there may be a UFO in the background.
Now that I have ranted and raved, let’s look at some of the good aspects of the set. I like the Fernando Valenzuela shot showing him looking to the sky. Also, you must appreciate Manny Trillo’s World Champions jacket. Steve Stone in front of the helmet rack is another excellent shot.
Two players with same name are found in this set: former Seattle Pilot Mike Marshall and the Dodger outfielder with the identical moniker. I didn’t include this in a previous post on players with the same name, since I only looked at Topps.
Speaking of ex-Seattle Pilots, you will find Fred “Chicken” Stanley on the A’s. He is the last Pilot to be in a base set as a player (1983).
There are several great “hair” cards. John Lowenstein sheds his cap to show off an impressive perm. Danny Darwin offers up an excellent example of “helmet” hair.
Finally, Fleer provides Carlton Fisk fans with three different cards. He is shown with the Red Sox on Rich Dauer’s card, with the White Sox on his regular card and with his namesake, Steve Carlton, on a multi-player card.
Fleer saw through a glass, darkly. The result was a most ungodly, photographic apocalypse.