Tag Archives: superstar special

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 #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 #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.

Dwight Gooden 1989 Fleer Superstar Special w/Mark Davis

Dwight Gooden 1989 Fleer Superstar Special w/Mark Davis

When pairing up the greatest pitchers from that year, I have to think that very few baseball fans or baseball card collectors would pair Dwight Gooden and Mark Davis together.

But truth be told they share more than what you may think.  You see, Mark Davis is a Cy Young award winner, just like ‘Doc’ Gooden.  And while he may not be as decorated or spectacular, he did have a phenomenal season in 1989.

But this card is going into my Dwight Gooden collection, so it’s time to focus on him.  In an injury-plagued year, Gooden made 17 starts, compiling a 9-4 record.  He amassed a 2.89 ERA and struck out 101 batters in 118 innings of work.

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 #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.

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #631 – Tony Gwynn & Tim Raines

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #631 – Tony Gwynn & Tim Raines

“National League Batting Champs”

Every year since 1984, the names Gwynn and Raines have appeared at or near the top in the National League batting leaders.  This consistency makes these two remarkable hitters among the favorites every season in the race for the National League batting title.

The 1987 National League batting title belonged to Tony Gwynn and his .371 batting average.  It was Tony’s second NL batting title in the last four years.  In 1984 he led the NL with a .351 average.  This left-handed spray hitter has also led the NL in hits in three of the last four seasons.

Tim Raines’ only batting title came in 1986 when he edged both Tony Gwynn and Steve Sax in a race that was not decided until the last game of the season.  The powerfully built, switch-hitting Raines copped MVP honors of the 1987 All-Star Game when his 2-run triple snapped a scoreless tie in the 13th inning.  Tim was no stranger to All-Star pressure, he had been on six previous NL All-Star squads.

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #630 – Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks, Todd Benzinger

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #630 – Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks, Todd Benzinger

“Changing The Guard In Boston”

While Boston Red Sox fans lamented the poor performance of their defending AL Champions, they were encouraged by the solid and spirited play of some of their new players.  In a year that produced a bumper crop of American League rookie sensations, the Red Sox were proud to call three of them their own.

Mike Greenwell played in 125 games, alternating between left field, right field, and designated hitter.  He batted an impressive .328.  Even more impressive were his production numbers.  He had 31 doubles, 19 home runs, and 89 RBI’s, eight of them being game-winners.

Ellis Burks played in 133 games and added spark both at the plate and in the field.  He provided an excellent balance of power and speed.  He smacked 20 home runs, ripped 30 doubles, scored 94 runs and stole 27 bases.  He appears to be the Red Sox’ center fielder of the future.

Todd Benzinger, a switch-hitter, appeared in 73 games and he added punch to the Boston lineup.  He had eight home runs, 43 RBI’s, and 11 doubles.