Hardball Retro

dedicated to the enrichment of casual and serious enthusiasts in all aspects of professional baseball

Derek’s (Re)collections

As a fan of the Fleer design for the first five years that I collected baseball cards, the 1988 Fleer design stands out in a negative way to me. It was a bland, boring, by-the-book choice which in retrospect seems even more odd as I revisited some of the colorful counterparts utilized in their own subsets from the same year! Perhaps this would be a forgivable offense in most years, but Fleer would find themselves in a fierce battle for relevance with upstarts like Score (1988) and Upper Deck (1989) entering the competition for collector dollars as the Eighties drew to a close. 

Corby Corner

Coming off the 1987 season of home runs and big name rookies, as well as what I thought to be really solid card layouts from all three companies, Fleer followed suit with the others and landed with a thud. The red, white and blue background felt simple and safe, not where they had gone the two years prior. Sadly, there weren’t really any rookies in this class to make these cards shine a little more. By this point the hobby of baseball card collecting had become more of a business, and I believe less time was spent on creating a card that was aesthetically pleasing and rather focus was on cranking out as many as possible. Looking back, I feel this was the year that began the fall of the industry

Favorite Card

Derek – Ken Dayley (#30) – two gloves are better than one!

Tom – I will go back to the player that I felt really was a Hall of Famer until injuries derailed him, Eric Davis (#231). I collected his cards en masse and I really liked this one as you see that whip-like swing had just completed.

Features

White borders accented with red and blue diagonal lines anchor the borders of the 1988 Fleer cards. The player’s name and primary position appear above the photograph, near the upper left corner while the team logo sits in the top right. The card backs denote the player’s biographical information across the top section. The mid-section outlines their yearly statistical output and the bottom third is devoted to “At Their Best – MLB Stat Breakdown” which replaces the Career Highlights news and notes from previous Fleer sets. 

The team checklist again runs in order from the previous season’s final standings, so the 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins lead off this year’s batch. Cards # 622 through # 640 are devoted to pairs and a few trios of ballplayers with headings such as “Slugging Sophomores” (#622, Wally Joyner and Cory Snyder) and “Crunch Time” (#637, Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis). Rookie prospects are depicted two at a time in cards # 641 through 653) and seven checklists round out the set. 

The Glossy set returns after debuting in ‘87 and parallels the base checklist, the only difference being the glossy feel on the front of the cards. The Update set includes the usual 132 extension of the base set with rookies and players traded since the start of the ‘88 season. Fleer produced a similar number of subsets compared to the previous campaign, some of which were intended for exclusive distribution by Toys R Us, Cumberland Farms and other stores. 

The subset values according to the 1997 edition of the Beckett Almanac of Baseball Cards and Collectibles are as follows: Update $10, All-Stars $6, Headliners $5, World Series $2, Update Glossy $15, Award Winners $5, Baseball All-Stars $5, Baseball MVP’s $5, Exciting Stars $5, Hottest Stars $5, League Leaders $5, Mini $10, Record Setters $5, Sluggers/Pitchers $5, Sticker Cards $15, Superstars $5, Team Leaders $5.  

1988 Fleer Update
1988 Fleer Star Stickers
1988 Fleer Award Winners
1988 Fleer All-Stars
1988 Fleer Baseball MVP’s
1988 Fleer Baseball’s Best
1988 Fleer Mini
1988 Fleer Exciting Stars
1988 Fleer Baseball’s Hottest Stars
1988 Fleer Team Leaders
1988 Fleer League Leaders
1988 Fleer Record Setters
1988 Fleer SuperStars

One-and-Dones

The players listed below made their lone appearance on a regular-issue baseball card in the 1988 Fleer set. Appearances on multi-player “rookie” or “top prospect” cards are not included – this is limited to individual cards for each particular player.

Steve Stanicek (# 174) – The older of two Stanicek brothers to reach the Major Leagues, Steve began his journey as the #1 selection of the San Francisco Giants in the June 1982 Amateur Draft. His sibling Pete recorded a slash line of .243/.319/.307 with 4 round-trippers for Baltimore during the 1987 and 1988 seasons. Primarily a corner infielder before adding outfield duties to his resume in the latter half of his career, Steve contributed a .243 BA with 19 jacks spanning the last month of the ‘82 campaign plus all of ‘83 at Fresno (A). He spent the next two years with the Shreveport Captains (AA), averaging .262 with 9 dingers per year. Dealt in March 1986 to the Brewers in return for outfielder Rob DeWolf, Stanicek reported to the El Paso Diablos (AA) and put on a season-long show on offense as he slashed .343/.448/.583 with 40 two-baggers, 25 circuit clouts and a career-high 116 runs scored. The fireworks continued in ‘87 with a promotion to the Denver Zephyrs (AAA). Stanicek matched his doubles and home run output from the prior campaign while knocking in a personal-best 106 baserunners and producing a slash line of .352/.396/.616. Milwaukee called him up to the big leagues and he debuted as a pinch-hitter for Ernie Riles against veteran southpaw Tommy John on September 16, 1987. The Brew Crew trailed the Bronx Bombers 4-2 in the visitor’s half of the seventh. Stanicek stepped up to the dish with one out and Mike Felder on first base. He hit a ground ball towards third base and Mike Pagliarulo was unable to handle it cleanly. “TJ” was lifted from the game in favor of the tall righthander, Tim Stoddard. Felder advanced to third on Paul Molitor’s fly ball to center, so there were runners at the corners with two outs. Felder scored and Stanicek advanced to second on a wild pitch. Robin Yount followed with a liner between shortstop and third, plating Stanicek with the tying run! After Yount swiped second base, Glenn Braggs tripled to deep right, scoring Yount with the deciding run in the Brewers 5-4 victory. Two days later the Brewers were trailing the Tigers 7-1 heading into the top of the ninth at Tiger Stadium. Sparky Anderson sat Walt Terrell down after he pitched 8 innings of 1-run ball in favor of Mike Henneman. Rob Deer lined out to third-sacker Tom Brookens for the first out, but B.J. Surhoff ripped a double to left-center field. Dale Sveum belted a two-run blast to cut Detroit’s advantage to 7-3. Ernie Riles slapped a base hit to center. Anderson waited until Rick Manning was announced as the pinch-hitter for Juan Castillo, then he summoned left-hander Willie Hernandez from the bullpen. Brewers’ skipper Tom Trebelhorn countered with Stanicek, who promptly singled to left for his first Major League hit. Paul Molitor swatted a three-run big fly, stunning the Motor City fan base as the Brew Crew mounted a fierce comeback! With the lead down to a single run at 7-6, Anderson removed Hernandez from the contest and called upon Eric King. Robin Yount grounded out to second base for the second out but Glenn Braggs beat out an infield single to shortstop to keep the rally alive. Finally, King retired Greg Brock on a fly ball to center. Stanicek received his lone starting assignment on the following day (September 19, 1987). Batting seventh in the lineup as the designated hitter and facing Tigers’ right-hander Doyle Alexander, he lined a single to shallow center field to advance B.J. Surhoff from second to third base with one away in the second inning. Alexander escaped the frame without allowing a run when Surhoff was gunned down at home on a fielder’s choice grounder to first and a 5-4 ground out by Paul Molitor. Stanicek flew out twice and whiffed to finish the contest with one hit in four trips to the dish as the Tigers outlasted the Brewers, 5-2. Stanicek struck out against Dave Righetti leading off the ninth inning in a thrilling 9-8, come-from-behind victory at County Stadium on September 23, 1987. Stanicek’s final tally for the ‘87 campaign included 2 hits in 7 at-bats with a couple of runs scored. In 1988, he didn’t make the Opening Day roster for the Brew Crew and headed back to Denver where he appeared in only 27 games due to injuries. He was released by Milwaukee in October 1988 and signed a minor league deal with the Phillies in January 1989. Stanicek batted .285 with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (AAA) to earn another cup of coffee. Recalled when rosters expanded from 25 to 40 in September, Stanicek made a grand total of nine plate appearances, all as a pinch-hitter. His lone base hit with the Fightin’ Phillies came on September 9, 1989, facing Expos’ southpaw Zane Smith. Philadelphia trailed Montreal 5-1 in the seventh frame when Randy Ready clubbed a one-out pinch-double to deep center field. Stanicek, batting in the nine hole for reliever Todd Frohwirth, laced a single to short right-center to drive in Ready. The Phillies tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the ninth on a three-run jack by Dickie Thon (off Tim Burke), but the Expos prevailed 6-5 when Andres Galarraga doubled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and scored on a base hit by Hubie Brooks against losing pitcher Jeff Parrett. The final at-bat of Stanicek’s Major League career occurred on October 1, 1989 versus Montreal. Leading off the seventh inning against reliever Rich Thompson, Stanicek hit the ball back to the pitcher, who threw to first base for the out. Career MLB totals included a .188 BA (3-for-16) with 2 runs and 1 RBI. Returning to the Phillies Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania for the 1990 campaign, Stanicek compiled a .282 BA with 23 doubles, 10 dingers and 76 ribbies before hanging up his spikes. 

Bill Lindsey (# 403) – This Broward College backstop was drafted twice in 1979 by the Cardinals and the Angels (when there were January and June phases of the draft) but he failed to sign with either organization. Instead, Lindsey inked a deal with the Yankees as an amateur free agent in April 1981. He toiled in the Bronx Bombers farm system for six seasons prior to being dealt to the White Sox in December 1986 as the “player to be named later” in a six-player swap near the trade deadline (July 30, 1986) – a deal which sent Ron Hassey and Carlos Martinez to the Pale Hose in exchange for Ron Kittle, Joel Skinner and Wayne Tolleson. He showed promise in Rookie Ball playing for the Paintsville Yankees, where he slashed .296/.343/.506 with 8 round-trippers in 176 plate appearances. Lindsey rapped 20 two-base knocks and posted an OBP of .372 for the Greensboro Hornets (A) in ‘82. He slumped a bit over the next couple of years before rebounding offensively with 21 doubles to complement a .365 OBP while spending the majority of the ‘85 campaign with the Albany-Colonie (AA) squad. The backstop repeated Double-A ball in his final year as a Yankees farmhand in ‘86, notching career-highs in homers (12) and RBI (66). Due to Ron Hassey’s injured knees and Ron Karkovice’s feeble offensive production (.071 BA – 6 hits in 85 AB), Chicago elected to promote Lindsey in July 1987 to back up veteran Carlton Fisk behind the dish. At the time of his call-up, he was hitting .282 with eight circuit clouts for the Birmingham Barons (AA). White Sox skipper Jim Fregosi penciled Lindsey’s name into the starting lineup on July 18, 1987 and the backstop made his big-league debut batting ninth. Facing the Indians ace, knuckleballer Tom Candiotti, Lindsey rapped into a 5-3 double play in his first at-bat. He popped up to shortstop in the fifth, then delivered a single to left in the subsequent frame. With a groundout to relief pitcher Reggie Ritter in the seventh, Lindsey finished the game 1-for-4. Eight days later, he received a starting assignment against Ron “Louisiana Lightning” Guidry at Comiskey Park. Lindsey grounded out twice and layed down a successful sacrifice bunt. Fregosi inserted the rookie backstop on August 2, 1987, ironically making his lone appearance at an opponent’s ballpark. Squaring off against the Brewers’ starter Chris Bosio, he fouled out to right fielder Glenn Braggs in the second and struck out looking with reliever Jay Aldrich on the bump in the fourth. Lindsey logged another successful sacrifice bunt in the sixth off Chuck Crim and collected an infield hit to third sacker Steve Kiefer leading off the eighth versus Mark Clear. He earned playing time in five contests over the next week, going 0-for-6 to drop his batting average to .133. The White Sox were getting demolished by the Blue Jays on August 3, 1987 by a score of 14-4. Pinch-hitting for Ozzie Guillen in the home half of the eighth, the rookie backstop notched his lone RBI as a big-leaguer when he lofted a fly ball to left field deep enough to drive in Ken Williams. Lindsey scored his first run in the Majors during the second game of a double-header on August 8, 1987. The Sox held a 5-4 advantage in the seventh when Ivan Calderon and Ron Hassey produced back-to-back base hits. Fregosi sent Lindsey in to pinch-run for Hassey. Greg Walker singled to right, scoring Calderon from third and moving Lindsey up to second base. He moved to third on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Steve “Psycho” Lyons. Williams followed with a double to right field, knocking in Lindsey and Lyons, but the inning ended as Williams unsuccessfully tried to advance to third base. Bill Schroeder laced a two-run single in the top of the eighth inning but Bobby Thigpen secured the 8-6 victory with a six-out save. Lindsey sat for nine days before making his final MLB appearance. Trailing Boston 12-6 in the ninth inning, he entered the game as a defensive replacement for Hassey. In the bottom of the frame, Lindsey rapped a one-out single off southpaw Joe Sambito. Walker promptly blasted a two-run bomb to deep right field. Lindsey’s career totals include a .188 BA (3-for-16) with 2 runs scored and an RBI. He batted .280 with six big-flies for the Vancouver Canadians before calling it a career at the conclusion of the 1988 season.

Did You Know?

Fleer introduced the “At Their Best – MLB Stat Breakdown” to the lower third of the card backs, replacing the “Career Highlights” section. “At Their Best” incorporated day/night and home/road splits for each player from the previous campaign utilizing batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage for hitters and earned run average, wins and losses for pitchers.

Errors

The 1988 Fleer set does not contain any significant error variations. 

Rookie Cards

Tom Glavine, Mark Grace, Ken Caminiti and Gregg Jefferies are among the players making their cardboard debuts in the ’88 Fleer set while future HOF’ers Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio and John Smoltz notched their inaugural appearances in the ‘88 Fleer Update. 

Price Guide (Then and Now)

The “Beckett Baseball Card Monthly Price Guide” (1997 edition) cataloged the 1988 Fleer Baseball complete set at $20 while the 1988 Fleer Update set logged a $10 value. 

Please add a comment below if you would like to share any memories from collecting the 1988 Fleer baseball card set or your experiences with card collecting in general!

Articles in the Series

The 1984 Donruss Baseball Set

The 1984 Fleer Baseball Set

The 1984 Topps Baseball Set

The 1985 Donruss Baseball Set

The 1985 Fleer Baseball Set

The 1985 Topps Baseball Set

The 1986 Donruss Baseball Set

The 1986 Fleer Baseball Set

The 1986 Topps Baseball Set

The 1987 Donruss Baseball Set

The 1987 Fleer Baseball Set

The 1987 Topps Baseball Set

The 1988 Donruss Baseball Set

The 1988 Fleer Baseball Set

References and Resources

Beckett, Dr. James, Rich Klein and Grant Sandground. Beckett Almanac of Baseball Cards and Collectibles. Dallas, TX: Beckett Publications, 1997. Print.

https://www.beckett.com/search/?term=1988+fleer&year_start=1988

http://www.tuffstuff.com/priceguides

http://www.baseballerrors.com/

Trading Card Database – Photo Gallery

https://www.tcdb.com/ViewSet.cfm/sid/121/1988-Fleer

About the Authors

Derek Bain is a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games who enjoys spending quality time with his family.

Tom Corby – Cousins with Derek, I am a history teacher at New Egypt High School. I have three kids, Addison, Jaclyn, and Mason and I’m happy that I get to coach them in their sports as well. In my spare time I enjoy reading, anything beach related, and fishing when time allows. 

Derek’s Books

Hardball Architects – Volume 1 (American League Teams)”, published in July 2020, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 

Hardball Architects – Volume 2 (National League Teams)”, published in April 2022, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com.  

Hardball Architects examines the trades, free agent acquisitions, draft picks and other transactions for the 30 Major League Baseball franchises, divided into a 2-volume set (American League and National League). All key moves are scrutinized for every team and Sabermetric principles are applied to the roster construction throughout the lifetime of the organization to encapsulate the hits and misses by front office executives.

Hardball Retroactive”, published in June 2018, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com.  Hardball Retroactive is a modest collection of selected articles that I have written for Seamheads.com along with my Baseball Analytics blog since 2010. Exclusive content includes the chapter on “Minors vs. Majors” which assesses every franchise’s minor league successes and failures in relation to their major league operations.

“Hardball Retrospective” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com. In Hardball Retrospective, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original teams. Using a variety of advanced statistics and methods, I generated revised standings for each season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition. Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the real-time or “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here

“Hardball Retrospective – Addendum 2014 to 2016” supplements my research for Hardball Retrospective, providing retroactive standings based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and Win Shares (WS) for each “original” team over the past three seasons (2014-2016). Team totals from 2010 – 2013 are included for reference purposes. “Addendum” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 

Website | + posts

I am a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games who enjoys spending quality time with his family. Co-chair of the SABR Games and Simulations Committee (https://sabrbaseballgaming.com) since August 2022.

Visit my Amazon author page to check out my books, promotional videos, and post a review if you're a Hardball Retro fan!

https://www.amazon.com/author/derekbain

My Books:


Hardball Architects – Volume 1 (American League Teams)”, published in July 2020, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 


Hardball Architects – Volume 2 (National League Teams)”, published in April 2022, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 

“Hardball Architects” examines the trades, free agent acquisitions, draft picks and other transactions for the 30 Major League Baseball franchises, divided into a 2-volume set (American League and National League). All key moves are scrutinized for every team and Sabermetric principles are applied to the roster construction throughout the lifetime of the organization to encapsulate the hits and misses by front office executives.


Hardball Retroactive”, published in June 2018, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. A cross-section of essays that I penned for Seamheads.com along with my Baseball Analytics blog spanning nearly a decade touching on subjects including "Taking the Extra Base", "General Manager Scorecard", "Worst Trades", "BABIP By Location" and "Baseball Birthplaces and the Retro World Baseball Classic". Rediscover your favorite hardball arcade and simulations in "Play Retro Baseball Video Games In Your Browser" or take a deep dive into every franchise's minor league successes and failures in relation to their major league operations in "Minors vs. Majors".


“Hardball Retrospective” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com. In Hardball Retrospective, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original teams. Using a variety of advanced statistics and methods, I generated revised standings for each season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition. Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the real-time or “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.


Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here


“Hardball Retrospective - Addendum 2014 to 2016” supplements my research for Hardball Retrospective, providing retroactive standings based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and Win Shares (WS) for each "original" team over the past three seasons (2014-2016). Team totals from 2010 - 2013 are included for reference purposes. “Addendum” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 

Tagged:
I am a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games who enjoys spending quality time with his family. Co-chair of the SABR Games and Simulations Committee (https://sabrbaseballgaming.com) since August 2022. Visit my Amazon author page to check out my books, promotional videos, and post a review if you're a Hardball Retro fan! https://www.amazon.com/author/derekbain My Books: Hardball Architects – Volume 1 (American League Teams)”, published in July 2020, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com.  Hardball Architects – Volume 2 (National League Teams)”, published in April 2022, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com.  “Hardball Architects” examines the trades, free agent acquisitions, draft picks and other transactions for the 30 Major League Baseball franchises, divided into a 2-volume set (American League and National League). All key moves are scrutinized for every team and Sabermetric principles are applied to the roster construction throughout the lifetime of the organization to encapsulate the hits and misses by front office executives. Hardball Retroactive”, published in June 2018, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. A cross-section of essays that I penned for Seamheads.com along with my Baseball Analytics blog spanning nearly a decade touching on subjects including "Taking the Extra Base", "General Manager Scorecard", "Worst Trades", "BABIP By Location" and "Baseball Birthplaces and the Retro World Baseball Classic". Rediscover your favorite hardball arcade and simulations in "Play Retro Baseball Video Games In Your Browser" or take a deep dive into every franchise's minor league successes and failures in relation to their major league operations in "Minors vs. Majors". “Hardball Retrospective” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com. In Hardball Retrospective, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original teams. Using a variety of advanced statistics and methods, I generated revised standings for each season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition. Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the real-time or “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills. Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here “Hardball Retrospective - Addendum 2014 to 2016” supplements my research for Hardball Retrospective, providing retroactive standings based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and Win Shares (WS) for each "original" team over the past three seasons (2014-2016). Team totals from 2010 - 2013 are included for reference purposes. “Addendum” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 

LEAVE A RESPONSE

You Might Also Like