1996 Fleer Ultra Series 1 Baseball – Cheap Wax Wednesday Box Breaks

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Mid ’90s Fleer products were known mostly for the inserts. 1996 Fleer Ultra Baseball sticks with this theme, with Series 1 offering an insert card in every pack. Gold Medallion parallels, also one per pack, continue on from their 1995 debut.

The 1996 Fleer Ultra base set is split into two equal 300-card series. Both releases have their own mix of inserts, with just Golden Prospects (a hobby-exclusive insert) found in both Series 1 and 2. While only hobby boxes include Golden Prospects insert cards, retail boxes like this one have their own exclusive insert set, RBI Kings. In all, seven different insert sets are found in Series 1 packs. 

1996 Fleer Ultra Series 1 Baseball Box Break

Cards per pack: 15
Packs per box: 24
Price paid: $25

Shop for 1996 Fleer Ultra Series 1 Baseball boxes on eBay.

Pack 1 highlights:

Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez, Joe Carter, Ellis Burks Gold Medallion (one per pack) & Manny Ramirez RBI Kings (1 in every 5 packs)

Manny sure was an RBI King. He racked up 1,831 RBI over his career, which ranks him 19th all-time. 

Pack 2:

Sammy Sosa, Mo Vaughn, Edgar Martinez, David Justice, Dante Bichette, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser Gold Medallion & Rondell White Fresh Foundations Gold Medallion (1:30 packs)

Pack 3:

Barry Bonds CL, Moises Alou, Alex Gonzalez Gold Medallion & Matt Williams Diamond Producers (1:20 packs)

Matt Williams was a beast in the ’90s! His average season during the decade saw him hit 30 home runs and knock in 96. 

Pack 4:

Dave Winfield, Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Larkin, Ramon Martinez, Mike Hampton Gold Medallion & Ryan Klesko Fresh Foundations (1:3 packs)

Pack 5:

Juan Gonzalez CL, Alan Trammell, Sandy Martinez Gold Medallion & Hideo Nomo Season Crowns (1:10 packs)

Nomo held the season crown for strikeouts in 1995, sitting down 236 batters during his rookie season. 

Pack 6:

Deion Sanders, Carlos Baerga, Todd Jones Gold Medallion & Cal Ripken, Jr. Prime Leather Gold Medallion (1:80 packs)

Pack 7:

Garret Anderson, Jose Canseco, Jack McDowell, Tim Salmon, Mark Grace, Chipper Jones, Andres Galarraga, Geronimo Berroa Gold Medallion & Manny Ramirez Power Plus (1:10 packs)

Manny also displayed amazing power, hitting 555 long balls during his career. 

Pack 8:

Lou Whitaker, Tim Wakefield, Ron Gant Gold Medallion & Mo Vaughn RBI Kings (1:5 packs)

Pack 9:

Deion Sanders, Carlos Baerga, Trevor Hoffman, John Smoltz Gold Medallion & Ken Griffey, Jr. Power Plus (1:10 packs)

Speaking of long balls, Griffey hit 630 of them during his career, good enough for seventh place on the all-time list. He also won three Home Run Derby titles. 

Pack 10:

Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Larkin, Rondell White, Bill Swift Gold Medallion & Barry Bonds RBI Kings (1:5 packs)

Pack 11:

Bernie Williams, Mike Greenwell, Darryl Strawberry, Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton Gold Medallion & Ken Griffey, Jr. Prime Leather (1:8 packs)

Griffey could also play some defense. He collected ten straight Gold Glove awards from 1990-1999.

Pack 12:

Cal Ripken, Jr. CL, Alan Trammell, Sandy Martinez Gold Medallion & another Ken Griffey, Jr. Power Plus (1:10 packs)

Pack 13:

Paul Molitor, Mike Piazza, Cal Ripken, Jr., Ricky Bottalico Gold Medallion & Tim Salmon Power Plus (1:10 packs)

Tim Salmon looked like the next big superstar after his 1993 rookie season. He hit .283 with 31 HR and 95 RBI en route to his AL Rookie of the Year award. 

Pack 14:

Lee Smith, Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey, Jr., Paul O’Neill, Eddie Murray Gold Medallion & Frank Thomas RBI Kings (1:5 packs)

Pack 15:

Troy Percival, Marquis Grissom, Pedro Martinez, Wally Joyner, Ken Griffey, Jr. CL Gold Medallion (1:40 packs), Ed Sprague Gold Medallion & Jim Edmonds RBI Kings (1:5 packs)

To me, Edmonds belongs more in the Prime Leather set with his eight Gold Gloves. He did, however, top the 100 RBI mark four times during his career. 

Pack 16:

Hideo Nomo, Tim Raines, Roberto Alomar, Dave Winfield, Jim Thome, Darren Daulton, Shane Reynolds Gold Medallion & Ryan Klesko Fresh Foundations (1:3 packs)

Pack 17:

Bernie Williams, Greg Vaughn, Mike Greenwell, Darryl Strawberry, Shawn Green, Todd Van Poppel Gold Medallion & Tony Gwynn Prime Leather (1:8 packs)

Known mostly for his work with the bat, Tony Gwynn did earn five Gold Gloves. Believe it or not, he also stole 319 bases. 

Pack 18:

Jeff Kent, Eddie Murray, Barry Larkin Gold Medallion & Marty Cordova Fresh Foundations (1:3 packs)

Pack 19:

Jeff Kent, Shawn Green, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, Bill Swift Gold Medallion & Raul Mondesi Fresh Foundations (1:3 packs)

Mondesi burst onto the scene in 1994, winning NL Rookie of the Year honors. He continued to put up solid numbers for another decade after that, finishing his career with 271 HR and 860 RBI. 

Pack 20:

Albert Belle, Bobby Bonilla, Ellis Burks, Tom Glavine, Juan Gonzalez, Kenny Lofton Gold Medallion & Brian Hunter Fresh Foundations (1:3 packs)

Pack 21:

Jim Edmonds, Larry Walker, Greg Maddux, Don Mattingly, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Langston, John Valentin, Manny Ramirez Gold Medallion & Chipper Jones Fresh Foundations (1:3 packs)

Chipper finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year race in 1995, trailing only Hideo Nomo. He managed to hit 23 home runs and knock in 86 runs as a 23-year old. 

Pack 22:

Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Larkin, Terry Pendleton Gold Medallion & Ryan Klesko Fresh Foundations (1:3 packs)

Pack 23:  

Dennis Eckersley, Joey Hamilton Gold Medallion & Jim Edmonds Fresh Foundations (1:3 packs)

Edmonds surpassed rookie eligibility numbers in 1994 but really produced during his first full big league season in 1995. Playing alongside Tim Salmon in the Angels outfield, Edmonds hit 33 home runs and knocked in 107 runs during the 1995 season. 

Pack 24:

Trevor Hoffman, Tony Gwynn, Frank Thomas, Matt Williams, John Olerud, Omar Vizquel, Jim Eisenreich Gold Medallion & Brian McRae Prime Leather (1:8 packs)

Lastly, the Tony Gwynn card back. I am a full-career stat line guy, but I can dig the three separate player photos.

This box was a card show find for me. I ended up buying seven boxes from this seller. Luckily, he agreed to keep my purchase stashed away while I continued to browse the show floor. After doing so many of these breaks, and not featuring the same product twice, finding that many boxes I haven’t opened yet was impressive.

This was a fun break, which is typical for Ultra boxes. I did well in this one, for sure. At first I was disappointed to only pull the single Season Crowns insert, as I was due to pull at least two. However, with the yellowing of the acetate these inserts go through, I am fine with only finding one — especially when I swapped it out for an extra Power Plus insert.

It also helps that some of the tougher pulls were big names. The Prime Leather Gold Medallion Cal Ripken Jr. and Griffey Checklist Gold Medallion were the toughest pulls, and you can’t do much better than those two guys.

The only insert I missed was Home Run Kings, which are a tough 1:75 packs. It is probably for the best, though, as they were actually redemptions due to printing issues. Though the cards looked similar to the final product, the cards feature the ’90s redemption card “fill out your information” backs. 

Even though I have already opened this one, if I can find more of these for just $25, I am in.

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Want more installments of Shane Salmonson’s Cheap Wax Wednesday? Check out his other breaks in the archives.

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