Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Custom Baseball Ice Cream Sundae Mini Batting Helmets

I wanted to share some fantastic customized Baseball Mini Helmets that I recently received from Eric, who runs the website Eric's Helmet Collection. I came across Eric's site while researching information about the mini helmets that many of us remember from our younger days that often were used for ice cream sundaes:

Eric's site covers each Major League team and shows the many helmet variations that have been issued over the years as teams periodically changed their helmets. The information on the helmets for each team is very comprehensive, and I found a number of helmets that I had not seen before. He's even got information on many Minor League teams as well.

In addition to displaying his collection, Eric has some extra helmets available for sale, so you might want to check out his site if you have an interest in a particular team.

However, the most amazing part of his site is the custom helmets he has created. When I saw this, I instantly knew that I had to have one:

If you've been following the blog, you know I've become quite interested in the Seattle Pilots after reading The 1969 Seattle Pilots: Major League Baseball's One-Year Team. Eric's reproduction is great, all the way down to the "scrambled eggs" design on the brim.

Eric also had a design for the Angels using the small "a" which looks great:

One thing that always bugged me as a kid in the late 70's who was an Orioles fan was that even though the Orioles went to a batting helmet with a white front panel in 1975 and have always had an orange brim, the ice cream sundae helmets were always all black:

After seeing Eric's great work on his custom helmets on his site, I asked if he could fill a gap in my collection with a custom Orioles helmet and here is what he was able to deliver:

WOW! Eric did an amazing job on this Orioles helmet. Now this is how the helmet should have looked when I was getting my ice cream sundae at Dairy Queen back in 1979!

I'd recommend checking out Eric's site to anyone who has an interest in these mini helmets as there is a great deal to see. Thanks Eric for the great custom helmets!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

1983 Fleer Baseball Stickers

After a 3 year run from 1980 - 1982 with sticker sets containing 4 different designs per team, Fleer scaled things back for the 1983 set. In 1983, there were only 2 designs per team - a cap sticker and a team logo sticker:

The backs of the stickers had team stats for the 1982 season with the cap sticker having the away stats and the logo sticker having the home stats:

There are a number of border variations in the set which fall into 2 categories: 1) border color differences and 2) "PEEL" instructions.

Based on the way some of the stickers were printed on the sheet, the rainbow pattern for some teams can be found both ways:

The stickers which can be found with both rainbow patterns are: Braves logo, Cubs cap, Reds logo, Twins logo, Mets logo, Phillies cap, Pirates logo, Cardinals logo, Giants logo, and the Rangers cap.

For some stickers, there are variations in the direction of the word "PEEL" in the arrow pointing to the sticker, and in some cases, the arrow itself can be found in different places. For example in the stickers below, the word PEEL is upside down on the left, but right side up on the right.

The stickers with the "PEEL" variations are the Angels logo, Reds logo, Tigers logo, Royals logo, Twins logo, Mets logo, Yankees logo (both are in same direction, but in slightly different locations), Phillies logo, Pirates logo, Rangers logo, and Blue Jays logo.

The following is a complete master set with all the rainbow pattern variations as well as the different "PEEL" variations:

The 1983 Fleer Baseball Card set that the cards were inserted with was a vast improvement over the 1982 version as the photos were much better this year. In honor of today's enshrinement of Goose Gossage into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, here is an example of the 1983 design:

For the first time since the 1965 Topps Set, cards had team logos on the front.

For a great review of many of the cards in this set, check out The 1983 Fleer Project, which is a blog showcasing 83F's project of getting each of the cards from the set autographed. As of today, he has 427 of the cards from the set signed!

The box touts the evolution of Fleer's first 3 years back in the Baseball card business and points out that in 1981 the cards were voted # 1 by Baseball Hobby News, in 1982 the cards were featured on the 1982 World Series broadcast (which was earlier pointed out by reader Primosean in his comments about the 1982 set along with a link to the broadcast), and that for 1983 Fleer was raising the bar by putting photos on the front and back of the card:

The sticker design would remain almost identical for the 1984 set.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

1982 Fleer Baseball Album & Stamps

In addition to the 1982 Fleer Baseball Card set, there was one other place you could find Fleer baseball team logo stickers - as part of the 1982 Fleer Baseball Album Stamps set.

Packs contained 1 logo sticker and 10 album stamps as shown on the packs and the box:

The stamps came in strips of 10. Since I couldn't fit the entire strip on the scanner, here is a sample of one of the stamp strips in two parts:

The album had pages arranged by team:

As you can see, there was also a place to paste the team logo sticker in addition to the stamps.

The album had holes punched in it so you could store the album in a loose-leaf binder as mentioned on the back of the album:

The Legend of Lowell Palmer Continues to Grow on ESPN The Magazine

I just found out that ESPN The Magazine.com has done a Top 5 Coolest Baseball Cards review, and at #1 is none other than Lowell Palmer with a link to my ode to Lowell and his awesome shades.
Thanks for the link ESPN!

Monday, July 21, 2008

1982 Fleer Baseball Stickers

1982 marked the first year that Fleer inserted the team logo stickers as inserts with their baseball card set rather than issuing the stickers as a separate release.

Since a court ruled that Topps retained the exclusive right to package its cards with gum, Fleer needed to come up with something else to include in its packs, so Fleer decided to start inserting the team logo stickers in packs instead of gum in 1982. Thus ended the 15 year run from 1967 through 1981 of issuing Baseball Logo Stickers as their own product.

1982 was the third consecutive year that Fleer issued 4 stickers for each team, and the designs are identical to the 1980 & 1981 sets.

The stickers were updated with the 1981 season won – loss records, but otherwise the stickers followed the same designs they had in the previous 2 years. For some reason, there was no MLB logo sticker as in past years, but the border color variations for the Orioles cap (red & blue), the Pirates cap (red & yellow), and the Pirates logo (orange & blue) that were in the 1980 and 1981 sets are also found in the 1982 set.

2 teams did have logo changes from 1981 (on the left) to 1982 (on the right) - The A’s & the Rangers:

There was one other change however, that makes the 1982 set an even greater challenge to collect if you want to build a true master set: 2 of the sticker designs can be found with or without the notation “Puzzle on Back”. Both the cap sticker and the sticker with the logo against the colored background had the “Puzzle on Back” notation added at some point.

ALMOST all of the teams have this “Puzzle on Back” variation, but 5 logo stickers with the colored backgrounds do not have this variation: the Braves, Twins, Pirates (both blue and orange borders), and the Padres. The "Puzzle on Back" variation can be found on all 26 team's Cap stickers. The stickers with the logo against the baseball diamond and the cap monogram / team name stickers do not have the "Puzzle" variation.

The backs of the stickers form a puzzle of the 1981 All Star Game in Cleveland.

This All Star Game is probably best remembered for the fact that it was the first game played after the 1981 players strike.

The game was originally scheduled for July 14, but due to the strike, the game was moved to August 9, with the season to start back up the following day. A record crowd of 72,086 attended the game (a record which still stands today).

As for the 1982 Fleer Baseball Card Set, it is widely regarded as one of the worst baseball card sets ever produced due to the terrible photography as the images on most of the cards are blurry and out of focus:

As with the 1981 set, there are also a number of errors:

Ben Henry’s review of the 1982 Fleer Set from The Baseball Card Blog sums up the quality of the set very well as he imagines what must have been going on in the Fleer offices at the time:

"Executive 2: I’m two steps ahead of you. Did you know that Kodak puts out a child-friendly camera? With little flash cubes that are so cheap we can buy them in bulk?
Executive 1: Child-friendly cameras, huh?
Executive 2: Yeah! So we can bribe children to take our photos…but you’re paying too much attention to the photo, and nobody cares about the photo."

Unfortunately after a strong debut with the 1981 set, Fleer really dropped the ball with the quality of the 1982 set due to the very poor photographs. About the only thing the 1982 Fleer set has going for it is the Cal Ripken rookie card:

Friday, July 18, 2008

1981 Fleer Baseball Star Stickers

In addition to releasing their first baseball card set in nearly 20 years and producing their annual baseball logo stickers in 1981, Fleer also produced a sticker set featuring players which was entitled Fleer Baseball Star Stickers.

The fronts have a blue border while the backs have the same design as the 1981 Fleer Baseball cards, except for a different card number and the fact that the player's name, team, and position are printed in light blue instead of yellow:

The box says there are 125 top stars, but the set also includes 3 checklist cards (with an additional picture of Jackson, Brett & Schmidt), making the total set size 128 cards.

The wrapper is amusing in that it indicates that the packs contain "live" color photos (as opposed to an alternative other than live). I guess since Fleer had produced sticker sets with cartoons on the back of the stickers the previous 2 years, they wanted to make it clear these were photos of current players.

Since Fleer was allowed to sell baseball cards with gum at this point, these packs also contained gum like the 1981 baseball card set, and did not include logo stickers.

At the time this set was released, these were considered to be a somewhat exclusive item and somewhat hard to find - much more so than the 1981 Topps Baseball Stickers which seemed to be very plentiful:

Unlike the Topps set, there was no sticker album for the Fleer stickers.

Here is a look at the complete 1981 Fleer Star Sticker Set:

Fleer would experiment with a few different formats (stamps, sticker strips, mini stickers) for a few years before returning to standard baseball card sized player stickers in the mid 1980s.