Cheap Wax Wednesday Box Breaks: 1988 Fleer Baseball

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1988 Fleer Baseball consists of a single 660-card series. The cards feature a white background with red and white stripes, a bit similar to the stripes on Topps’ 2021 flagship release.

1988 Fleer Baseball Box

The set also features two inserts, All-Stars and Headliners. Headliners inserts are exclusive to rack packs, though. The 1988 set features a handful of notable Rookie Cards, including Hall of Famers Tom Glavine and Edgar Martinez. 

Fleer burst onto the baseball card scene way back in 1959. Topps had nearly every big leaguer signed to an exclusive deal at the time, except one, Ted Williams. Fleer signed Williams to a card deal and released the 80-card Fleer Ted Williams set that chronicles his career and off-the-field interests. Fleer continued to skirt around Topps’ player-exclusive contracts with two more releases in the 1960s featuring mostly former players. Fleer’s 1963 release included current players, and was contested by Topps, causing the set to be limited to just one series. Fleer wouldn’t enter the baseball card business again until the 1980s.

1988 Fleer Baseball Box Break

Cards per pack: 15 + 1 sticker
Packs per box: 36
Price paid: $5

Shop for 1988 Fleer Baseball boxes on eBay.

The boxes also comes with four box bottom cards. There were four different panels to collect.

Pack 1 highlights:

Darryl Strawberry, Rickey Henderson, Steve Carlton, Dave Parker & Brewers/Mets stickers. Forgive me for forgetting about Carlton’s 13 games pitched for the Minnesota Twins. The Hall of Fame lefty didn’t fare well with the team, going 1-6 with a 8.54 ERA.

Pack 2:

1991 NL MVP Terry Pendleton, Rafael Palmeiro, Eric Davis All-Stars & Expos sticker

Pack 3:

John Kruk, Andres “Big Cat” Galarraga, Jimmy Key, Tony Gwynn/Vince Coleman & Padres/Red Sox stickers

Pack 4:

Fernandez/Ripken/Trammell, Keith Hernandez/Dale Murphy, Julio Franco & Cubs sticker

Pack 5:

The Ripken brothers, Chuck Finley, Bill Buckner & Tigers/Yankees stickers. Buckner, unfortunately, is well known for his error in the 1986 World Series. However, he has a really solid career, amassing 2,715 hits and winning the 1980 NL batting title.

Pack 6:

Wally Joyner, Tom Henke, Ellis Burks RC & Braves sticker

Pack 7:

Tony Phillips, Dale Murphy & Twins/Pirates stickers

Pack 8:

Dave Winfield, Lenny “Nails” Dykstra, John Franco & Mets sticker. Franco ranks third all-time in pitching appearances. His 1,119 games puts him four games ahead of Mariano Rivera. 

Pack 9:

Jay Bell RC, Harold Baines & Expos/Orioles stickers

Pack 10:

Don Sutton, Mike Schmidt, George Bell/Pedro Guerrero, Andre Dawson All-Stars & Twins sticker

Pack 11:

Lance Johnson & Padres sticker

Pack 12:

Ken Dayley (What is going on here?), Tony Gwynn/Tim Raines, Alan Trammell All-Stars & Astros/Mariners stickers

Pack 13:

Paul Molitor, Bob Melvin & Cardinals sticker. Four-time Manager of the Year Bob Melvin is a much better call games than he was a major league catcher. Melvin had a .268 OBP over a 10-year career as a catcher.

Pack 14:

John Franco/Steve Bedrosian (Steve’s son Cam currently pitches for the Reds), Brett Butler, Ron “Gator” Guidry, Howard Johnson & Royals/Giants stickers

Pack 15:

Pat Tabler/Mark McGwire, Shawon Dunston, Carlton Fisk & Astros sticker

Pack 16:

Cecil Fielder, Bob Boone & Pirates/Blue Jays stickers. After four partial major league seasons in Toronto, Fielder played the 1989 season in Japan. Cecil hit 38 home runs in 106 games for the Hanshin Tigers. He returned to the major leagues in 1990, hitting 51 home runs for the Detroit Tigers. 

Pack 17:

Tony Fernandez, Ryne Sandberg, Matt Williams RC & Pirates sticker

Pack 18:

Dave Righetti, Dwight Gooden & Indians/Reds stickers

Pack 19:

Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez RC, Robin Yount, Eric Davis, Jack McDowell RC, Ken Caminiti RC, Mark McGwire & Rangers/Phillies stickers. What a pack! Nobody could have been disappointed with this one, which included three of the top RCs in the product. 

Pack 20:

Mark Langston, Don Baylor & Yankees sticker

Pack 21:

Fred Lynn (I still can’t stand seeing him in an Orioles uniform), Ken Griffey, Greg Maddux, Greenwell/Burks/Benziger, Jim Rice & Cubs/A’s stickers. Rice was winding down his Hall of Fame career by 1988. He would play just 56 more games in 1989 before hanging up his spikes. He won the 1978 AL MVP, leading the league in games played, plate appearances, at bats, hits, triples, home runs, RBI, slugging, OPS & total bases. 

Pack 22:

Bobby Bonilla, Tim Raines, Bret Saberhagen & Brewers sticker

Pack 23:

Jamie Moyer, George Bell & Brewers/Mets stickers

Pack 24:

Gary Carter, Jose Canseco & Padres sticker

Pack 25:

Kirby Puckett, Ozzie Smith/Ryne Sandberg, Roger Clemens, Jack Clark All-Stars & Astros/Mariners stickers

Pack 26:

Dennis Eckersley, David Cone, Cal Ripken, Jr., Tony Gwynn & Cardinals sticker. Eckersley started 361 games over the first half of his career. Eck moved to the bullpen for the second half of his career, saving 390 games, good enough for seventh on the all-time list. 

Pack 27:

Mike “Gator” Greenwell (our second Gator), Darryl Strawberry/Eric Davis & Royals/Giants stickers

Pack 28:

Dwight “Dewey” Evans, Tony Pena, Gregg Jefferies & Braves sticker

Pack 29:

Bo Jackson, Lou Whitaker, Dave Stewart & Twins/Pirates stickers

Pack 30:

Don Mattingly, Kevin Mitchell & Mets sticker

Pack 31:

Billy Ripken (with a more family-friendly bat knob than he would feature in 1989) & Expos/Orioles stickers

Pack 32:

Bert Blyleven, Reggie Jackson, Juan Samuel All-Stars & Twins sticker

Pack 33:

Eddie Murray, Kirk Gibson, Tom Glavine RC, Andre Dawson, Mike Schmidt/Gary Carter, Barry Larkin, Joe Carter & Rangers/Phillies stickers

Pack 34:

Mark Grace/Darrin Jackson RC, Keith Hernandez & Yankees sticker. Mark Grace had a sweet left-handed swing. Though he wasn’t much of a power threat, Grace finished his 16-year major league career with 2,445 hits and a .383 on-base percentage. He also made nearly $46 million. Not bad. 

Pack 35:

Saberhagen/Witt/Morris, Willie McGee & Cubs/A’s stickers

Pack 36:

George Brett & Brewers sticker. George, are you sure that bat doesn’t have too much pine tar? 

Lastly, the George Brett card back. Fleer opted to show a couple of minor league stat lines in addition to Brett’s full major league career to that point. It is safe to say that Brett saved his best baseball for the majors, as his minor league numbers weren’t very impressive. 

For those keeping track at home, yes, I did pull 36 cards featuring Hall of Fame players. Not one duplicate, either! That is some solid collation. I was also lucky to pull all but one of the notable Rookie Cards. The only name I missed in this one was the Ron Gant RC. 

Though you probably won’t be able to find a box for the LCS closeout price I did, these are still very affordable on eBay. These can be found for $30 or less, shipped. When you consider the amount of HOFers, and the two Hall of Fame Rookie Cards that can be pulled, I say that this one is worth the price.

Shop for 1988 Fleer Baseball on:

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

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1 comment

  1. Benjamin Pfiester 8 April, 2021 at 00:06

    1988 Fleer is my all-time favorite design! Love how the player’s head jumps out of the frame, and red, white, and blue to boot!

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