Category Archives: 1988 Fleer Superstar Specials

My 1988 Fleer ‘Superstar Specials’ Subset Is Complete!!!

My 1988 Fleer ‘Superstar Specials’ Subset Is Complete!!!

Finally, after showing this set off to you for the last few months, I am done!!

The set was fun to put together, and it also reminded me of how some players in a breakout season can be paired with the sport’s greatest stars on any particular night.

Anyways, enough small talk – Time to show off the completed set!!!

And there it is!!

And just in case you were worried, I have already selected my next subset to build – and I will drop a hint or two next Monday.

Stay tuned.  And thanks for reading ’30-Year Old Cardboard’!!!

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #640 – Billy & Cal Ripken

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #640 – Billy & Cal Ripken

‘The O’s Brothers’

It’s a family affair in Baltimore.  1987 was a long season for the Orioles’ manager, Cal Ripken, Sr., but he had to take pride in the play of two of his star infielders.  They happen to be his two sons.

Cal Ripken Jr. is one of baseball’s true superstars.  Last season, he hit 27 home runs and led the Orioles in runs scored (97), doubles (28), and RBI (98).  He was selected to the American League All-Star team for the fifth time.  Cal is also baseball’s Iron-Man.  He has now played in 927 consecutive games.  That is the 6th longest streak of all time.

Billy Ripken was called up from the minor leagues  in mid-season.  He played in 58 games – all as the starting second baseman.  Committing only three errors all season, he wound up with an impressive .990 fielding percentage to complement his .308 batting average.

If Billy can continue to progress as he did this past season, he and Cal Jr. should continue to make their father proud of his Keystone Kids for many years to come.

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #639 – Keith Hernandez & Dale Murphy

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #639 – Keith Hernandez & Dale Murphy

“NL All-Stars”

Two of the National League’s most consistent players of the 1980s have been Keith Hernandez and Dale Murphy.  Between these two superstars,  they have 12 All-Star game performances.

Keith Hernandez, officially named Mets’ team captain in 1987, was selected to his fifth mid-season classic.  His reputation as being a clutch hitter and defensive standout is well documented.  Since 1979, Keith has compiled a .310 batting average and has averaged almost 96 runs batted in per season.  There is no better fielding first baseman in baseball than Keith Hernandez.

Dale Murphy, the clean-cut superstar of the Atlanta Braves, has participated in seven of the last eight All-Star games.  Dale’s 44 home runs in 1987 ranked 2nd in the National League and his 105 RBI ranked 5th.  Murphy also ranked in the National League top ten in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored, and walks.  In the Braves’ record book Murphy ranks 3rd behind Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews in career home runs, total bases, and extra-base hits.

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #638 – Matt Nokes & Kirby Puckett

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #638 – Matt Nokes & Kirby Puckett

“AL All-Stars”

The Twins’ Kirby Puckett and Tigers’ Matt Nokes both played key roles in helping their respective teams win division championships.  Such performances was to be expected from a veteran star like Puckett, but was very surprising from a rookie like Nokes.

Puckett’s 1987 season added more fuel to the opinion that he is one of the best all-around players in baseball.  He is one of the few players who can hit for both average and power.  He tied for the American League lead in hits with 207 and placed fourth in the league with a batting average of .332.  He also hit 28 home runs and drove in 99 runs.

Nokes more than adequately filled Detroit’s catching void left by the departure of 5-time All-Star Lance Parrish.  He batted .289, smacked 32 home runs, and had 87 RBIs.  Matt began the season as the Tigers’ DH, but when given the chance, he proved to be a solid backstopper.  My June 1, Nokes was Detroit’s everyday catcher.  Matt was selected to play in the 1987 All-Star game – a high honor for any player, most especially for a rookie.

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #637 – Darryl Strawberry & Eric Davis

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #636 – Darryl Strawberry & Eric Davis

“Crunch Time”

Eric Davis and Darryl Strawberry both entered major league baseball hounded by great fanfare and even greater expectations.  It is a tribute to their ability as players and their strength as men that they both have been able to thrive under such pressure.  In 1987 both enjoyed seasons that propelled them from the status of young player with great potential to the status of superstar.  Both also joined the exclusive 30/30 club of players who have hit 30 or more home runs and stolen 30 or more bases in one season.

Davis batted .293, hit 37 home runs, drove in 100 runs, and stole 50 bases.  He played particularly great in April and May.  His 19 home runs in those two months set a National League record.

Strawberry silenced his critics by posting numbers that speak volumes about his all-around ability.  He hit 39 home runs, stole 36 bases, and drove in a career high 104 runs.  Darryl was at his best down the stretch of the pennant race – earning Player of the Month honors for September. 

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #636 – Mike Schmidt & Gary Carter

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #636 – Mike Schmidt & Gary Carter

“Tried And True Sluggers”

When you talk about National League All-Stars in the 1980s’, you associate third base with Mike Schmidt, and catcher with Gary Carter.

Mike Schmidt will go down in history as one the greatest third basemen of all-time.  In 1987 he had a season that was commensurate with his outstanding career.  Mike batted .293, drove in 113 runs and smacked 35 home runs.  On April 18 he hit the 500th home run of his major league career.  Mike’s career total of 530 home runs ranks ninth on the all-time list.  He has led the National League in home runs a record eight times.  Schmidt is also an outstanding fielder.  He has been honored with a gold glove award ten times.

Carter had a fine 1987 season.  He hit 20 home runs and produced 83 RBIs.  He also hit his 11th career Grand Slam – the most of any active National League player.  Gary is an outstanding defensive catcher and has three gold glove awards to show for it.  He has been selected to play in the All-Star game ten times and has been named MVP of that classic twice.

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #635 – Tony Fernandez, Cal Ripken, and Alan Trammell

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #635 – Tony Fernandez, Cal Ripken, and Alan Trammell

“AL Slugging Shortstops”

Tony Fernandez, Cal Ripken Jr, and Alan Trammell are three shortstops that can be considered superstars.  In 1987 all three enjoyed outstanding seasons which measured up to their precedent-setting seasons of the past.

Fernandez rapped 186 hits and batted .322.  Both figures were 7th best in the American League.  He also scored 90 runs, hit 29 doubles, eight triples, and stole a career high 27 bases.  Tony is a Gold Glove winner and this year he led all American League shortstops in putouts. 

Ripken, baseball’s Iron-Man, again played in all 162 games, and again produced the type of numbers that baseball fans have come to expect from him.  He hit 27 home runs, had 98 RBI’s, and scored 97 runs.  He was the starting shortstop in the All-Star game, his fifth consecutive selection to the AL squad.

Trammell had the greatest season of his career.  He achieved career highs in batting average (.343), runs scored (109), home runs (28), RBI (105), and game-winning RBI’s (16).  His 205 hits were the third best in the American League.

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #634 – Tony Gwynn & Vince Coleman

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #634 – Tony Gwynn & Vince Coleman

“Hitting King And The Thief”

Tony Gwynn and Vince Coleman are two players who can impact a game in different ways.  Gwynn can do it with a well placed single, and Coleman with a well timed stolen base.

In 1987, Tony Gwynn rapped 162 singles, the most in the majors.  No surprise there, Tony has now led the National League in singles three of the last four seasons.  As a matter of fact, 772 of his 988 career hits have been singles, an amazing 78 percent.  If Tony keeps chipping away he might someday reach the heights of Pete Rose (3,215), Ty Cobb (3,052), and Eddie Collins (2,639), the greatest singles hitters of all-time.

Vince Coleman is the most wanted man in baseball.  He turns walks and singles into doubles and triples.  His 109 stolen bases in 1987 made him the first player in baseball history to steal 100 or more bases in his first three major league seasons.  When Vince is on base, he is one of the most disruptive forces in the game today.

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #633 – Pat Taber & Mark McGwire

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #633 – Pat Taber & Mark McGwire

“Big Bats At First”

The American League is chock full of outstanding first basemen.  Two of the best are Oakland’s Mark McGwire and Cleveland’s Pat Tabler.

McGwire had the best rookie season baseball fans have seen in a long time.  He led the American League with 49 home runs, and produced 118 RBIs.  Originally projected as a platoon player, Mark got off to such an incredible start that he virtually assured himself of a regular spot at first base.  By the All-Star break Mark had amassed a phenomenal 33 home runs and 68 RBIs.  He was selected to play in the All-Star game – a game which was played in his home ballpark – the Oakland Coliseum.

Table enjoyed the best season of his career.  He set career highs with 34 doubles, 11 home runs, and 86 RBIs.  He also received the ultimate honor of his career when he was chosen to play in the 1987 All-Star Game.  Pat is a clutch hitter and his prowess with the bases loaded has been well documented.  He was the New York Yankees first round selection in the 1976 baseball draft.

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #632 – Mike Scott & Orel Hershiser

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #632 – Mike Scott & Orel Hershiser

“Pitching Magic”

The Astros’ Mike Scott, and the Dodgers’ Orel Hershiser have been two of baseball’s best pitchers over the last three seasons.  Bothcontinued their fine careers in 1987, ranking near the top of the National League in many important categories.

In addition to his 16 victories, Scott ranked in the top five in the National League in strikeouts(233), shutouts(3), complete games(8), and innings pitched(247.2).  His 3.23 ERA was the 7th best in the league.  Mike was the National League’s Cy Young award winner in 1986, Scott capped off his incredible ’86 season by pitching a no-hitter in the division clinching game against the San Francisco Giants.

Hershiser’s 16-16 won-loss record belies the high quality of his season.  He was the most enduring of all National League pitchers – leading the league with 246.2 innings pitched.  He ranked third in the league in both complete games(10), and ERA(3.06).  Additionally, his 190 strikeouts were a career high.  Orel enjoyed his finest season in 1985 when he was 19-3 with a 2.03 ERA.