Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - New York Mets

The Mets City/Logo patch seemed to change almost every year, although sometimes in very subtle ways.

The top 2 patches in the picture below appear to be identical except for one small difference. Click on the picture to see a larger scan and see if you can spot the difference:

The patch on the top left has a solid black line around the outside of the logo instead of dashes from around what would be 8:00 to 9:00 on a clock dial while the patch on the right has dashes all the way around the logo. I believe the patch on the top left is the earliest version.

The next 2 patches in the middle of the picture have added a white outline around "Mets", a darker shade of blue for the skyline, and have white space inside the "e" and the "s", with the patch on the left a lighter share of orange and the patch on the right a darker shade of orange.

The final sticker on the bottom retains the darker orange and blue and the white outline around the name, but has blue inside the "e" and the "s".

There are a number of variations for the Cap / Team Name patches as well. The earliest patch has a lighter share of blue (just like we saw with the Logo patches above):

Just as the skyline in the logo changed to a darker shade of blue, so did the blue on the Cap / Team Name patches. The patch on the bottom left has a lighter shade of orange while the patch on the bottom right has a darker shade of orange, which is also consistent with the changes made to the logo patches.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Montreal Expos

The Expos have 2 different City / Logo Patches which can be distinguished by the fact that one has the "Peel Off Here" instructions, "Real Cloth", "Official" and the Fleer Logo in black (which can hardly be seen at all against the dark background) as seen on the patch on the left:

and another version where the information printed on the border is in white so that you can actually see it. We will see this same variation with a few more teams as we continue through the review. The patch on the left is the earlier version.

There is only one version of the Cap/Team Name patch:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Minnesota Twins

For the Twins, the City/Logo patches can be found with 3 variations which center around the colors used in the logo. The earliest Twins City / Logo patch has the players wearing blue caps and red sleeves and belts, along with a baseball with red seams as seen on the top left. The next version changed the caps, belts, sleeves and baseball seams to black as seen on the top right:

Color later returned to the logo for the final variation as the sleeves were once again red, and the baseball seams returned to red. However, the caps and belts stayed black, and the baseball and the players sleeves no longer had a black outline.

The variation for the Cap / Team Name patch is more subtle:

The patch on the left has a brighter red "C" than the patch on the right. The version with the brighter red "C" is the earlier version.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Milwaukee Brewers

Even though the team moved from Seattle to Milwaukee at the end of Spring Training in 1970, the Brewers did not have a Fleer Cloth Patch until 1971. The Seattle Pilots had 2 different sets of patches for 1969 & 1970, meaning the Brewers didn't show up in the set until 1971.

The Brewers had only 1 version of the City / Logo patch:

There are 2 versions of the Cap / Team name patch. The earlier version has no yellow outline around the team name:

While the second version does have the team name outlined in yellow:

I'd like to say Thanks to fellow Fleer collector Craig for the scan of the sticker with the yellow outline.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have 2 different City / Logo Patches which can be distinguished by the fact that one has a a lighter shade of blue with the team name in a horizontal position while the other has a darker shade of blue and with the team name rising at an angle:

The patch on the left is the earlier of the 2 patches.

There are at least 2 Cap / Team Name color variations:

I say "at least" because there may be another variation with a lighter shade of blue that is a closer match to the light blue in the City/Logo sticker up above on the left, although I've never come across one.

The few auctions & collections I've seen where the Cap/Team Name patch has been in a lot with other 1st issue patches including the lighter blue City/Logo Dodgers patch have been a darker blue, very similar to the Cap/Team Name patch on the left.

Perhaps Fleer used different shades of blue for the Logo vs the Cap patches the year they printed the light blue Logo patch, so there may well be no light blue Dodgers Cap/Team Name patch, but I'm not ready to give up the search yet!

If anyone has a Dodgers Cap / Team Name patch with a lighter shade of blue than what I've posted, I'd be interested to hear from you so I can set the record straight.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Kansas City Royals

The Royals had no logo change during the 7 year run of the Fleer Cloth Patches, so the only Logo patch variation is a color variation. The earliest patch had a lighter shade of blue as seen on the patch on the left:

Likewise, the Cap/Team Name patches have a similar color variation with the earlier patch having a lighter shade of blue as well as "KC" in gold instead of the familiar white:

This is the same color scheme we saw with the 1969 Trophy Plaques:

Perhaps the team was initially going to use gold for the "KC" when the team was still in its formation stages during 1968 when the artwork was provided to Fleer to be used in their upcoming 1969 sets. I don't know how else you would explain both of these issues having "KC" in gold during the team's inaugural season.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Houston Astros

The Astros have 3 different City / Logo Patches. The earliest patch has the name Astros in blue with a black outline around the letters, and with the orbiting baseballs making black circles around the Astrodome as seen on the sticker on the top. In addition, the border around the logo is red vs. the logo which is orange:

Later patches do not have a border which is a different color from the logo. In addition, the name is outlined in white as well as the orbiting baseballs are making white circles around the Astrodome. As we saw with the Orioles patches that also contain a lot of orange, there are color variations with a lighter color orange on the left and a darker shade of orange on the right.

There are 3 Cap / Team Name variations, with the earliest version having a black background for the Cap sticker, and a blue star with blue lines over the Team Name:

The subsequent patches had a blue background for the Cap patch, and orange lines over the team name. As with the Logo patches, you can see there are lighter and darker shades of orange for these 2 variations.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Detroit Tigers

Turning our attention to the Tigers, there are 2 City/Logo patch variations and 2 Cap/Team Name patches.

The Tigers City/Logo patch can be found with 2 different tigers:

The tiger on the left is more orange, and has a different shaped head from the tiger on the right. In addition, the tiger on the left has black whiskers which extend beyond the face while the tiger on the right has white whiskers which do not extend beyond the face. The patch on the left is the earlier of the two patches.

The Cap/Team Name patch was originally an all white Old English "D", which was later revised to be a red "D"with a white outline:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Cleveland Indians

Next up on our team by team review of the Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches is the Cleveland Indians. There are 3 variations of the Indians City / Logo patch. The earliest patch was issued with the Indian's feather on the right, and later the image was reversed to have the feather on the left:

The final City / Logo patch had the Indian batting against a baseball background.

There are 4 separate versions of the Cap/ Team Name patches. The earliest version is on the top left, and has a slightly different shaped "C" with a darker blue color. The next patch was the one on the top right where the "C" is a lighter shade of blue, and looks just like the "C" on the Reds cap we saw yesterday.

The next version reversed the colors where the "C" is red and the background is blue as seen on the bottom left. The final version (bottom right) changed the lettering for "Indians", and matches the lettering found on the final City / Logo with the Indian batting.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are tied with a few other teams for the fewest number of different Cloth Patches as they only have a total of 3 different stickers over the entire 7 year run of the series.

There are 2 variations of the Fleer Baseball Reds City / Logo patch, with the only difference being the (R) just below the logo on the patch on the right.

The patch on the left without the (R) is the earlier version of the patch.

For the Cap / Team Name patch, there is a single version:

It appears that Fleer used the above design for the Reds all 7 years as I have yet to come across any variation to this patch.

UPDATE: 09 / 12

Thanks to Ray for bringing another variation of the logo patch to my attention.  Here is a variation where there is red piping on the uniform and the "c" on the cap is white:

Ray - Thanks for this great find!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Chicago White Sox

The White Sox have 2 different City / Logo Patches which can be distinguished by the fact that one has a red circle against a white background while the other has a full red background:

If you take a closer look at the batter on the patches, you'll notice that the uniform on the patch on the right is better defined, down to the pinstripes on the uniform and even a White Sox logo on his stirrups. The patch on the left is the earlier of the two patches.

There are 3 Cap / Team Name variations, with a change in the team name going from vertical (top left) to interlocking horizontal (top right):

and then switching to red when the White Sox changed their uniforms from this:

to this:

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sticky Saturday Mystery

An Atlanta Braves mini sticker has uncovered a very interesting Fleer Sticker mystery, and brought to light a new undocumented sticker variation :

For those of you who haven't read Cardboard Junkie's Sticky Saturday post yet, jump over and read David's tale of the unexplained - then what I am about to cover will make more sense.

Some background: Fleer produced mini cards that were packaged in a boxed set that included 18 team stickers from 1986 - 1988.

The stickers can be found with the following backgrounds:

Based on the mini sets I've opened, I believe the sticker on the left with the star background to be from 1986, the sticker with the blue top and red & white stripes to be from 1987, and the sticker on the right with the green top and red & white stripes to be from 1988. The 1986 & 1987 stickers are blank backs, while the 1988 mini sticker has stadiums on the back, just like the Fleer stickers that were inserted in the regular 1988 Fleer packs.

Getting back to our story, a few weeks ago I sent David some Fleer Braves stickers, and he has been posting some of them each Saturday. A few weeks ago he posted the Braves mini sticker, and I commented that I had gone through 3 mini sets trying to collect the entire set of 26 teams (since each boxed set only contains 18 stickers you can't get all the teams with 1 set!). I mentioned I was down to just needing 1 more sticker (Rangers) from the set with the star background which I believed to be from 1986 (since the 3 boxes I had bought were the 1986 set), and David replied that he had just been thinking about buying some mini sets himself.

Then last week, David posted the stickers from a 1986 mini box he'd bought, trying to see if he could locate the Rangers sticker I was looking for. He found a Rangers sticker in the 1986 box, but it didn't have the star backgound - it had red & white stripes in the background with blue on the top. I commented that it looked like he had 1987 stickers with his 1986 cards.

With this week's post, David has posted the stickers he got from the 1987 mini box he also purchased, and sure enough the stickers that came with the 1987 set match the stickers he had gotten with the 1986 set. This seems to support the theory that David's 1986 mini box had somehow been packed with 1987 stickers.

It would appear that it would be time to say case closed - the 1986 mini set had probably been opened by someone who also had a 1987 set, and the collector at some point got the stickers between the 2 years mixed up when they put them back in the box to sell them. Innocent enough mistake since there is no date on the stickers.

But, then there is this.......

In 1986 Fleer used the trident logo for the Mariners (as seen on the yellow bordered sticker below), and in 1987 Fleer started using the M's logo (as seen on the blue bordered sticker)

So now what do we do? We've got a Fleer mini set with what appear to be 1987 stickers, but that sticker design can be found with 2 different Mariners logo variations, one of which was last used in 1986?

If we move ahead to 1988, I think we may have the answer. Take a look...

The 1988 Fleer stickers that were inserted in wax packs have both the older and newer versions of the Pirates logo. It would appear that Fleer started with the older logo, and at some point during the production process switched to the newer logo.

I'm guessing the same thing happened with the 1987 mini stickers. Early in the print run they were using the older Mariners logo, and then once they got the artwork for the newer logo or realized they were using an out of date logo, they switched.

However - this then begs the question - would the same variation exist for the regular stickers that were included in wax packs? I don't think the variation exists as I've never seen the trident logo on the 1987 stickers - but then again I didn't know about the 1988 Pirates variation until a month ago when I was going through some stickers I'd received and realized I'd gotten the older logo which I'd never seen before.

This is my guess at an explanation:

The logo for the regular stickers was correct from the start as the 1987 design with the trophies is a completely different design from 1986 and they used the correct new logo from the beginning, whereas the 1987 mini sticker set was the same layout as 1986 but just with a different background so that initially they just changed the background and didn't catch the fact that they were using the older Mariners logo and later corrected it when they realized the mistake. This would seem to be the most plausible answer.

However, this still doesn't explain why David got 1987 stickers in his 1986 box, and it doesn't explain an ebay auction showing the same thing:

Here are those same stickers showing up for a 1987 sticker set:

If anyone has the 1986 Fleer Mini set in their collection, I'd be interested to know which sticker design you have with your set. The 3 sets I have opened have the star backround. It could be they did a 2nd print run of the 1986 mini cards and started using the 1987 sticker design, or perhaps they were dumping the remaining 1986 inventory using the 1987 stickers that they were already printing up for the next year's set rather than print up more 1986 stickers.

A special thanks to David from Cardboard Junkie for busting these boxes and posting the results. Congratulations on discovering a previously unknown sticker variation!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Chicago Cubs

Fleer kept things pretty simple for the Cubs patches - just 2 City/Logo patch variations and 2 Cap/Team Name patches.

The Cubs City/Logo patch can be found with a light blue circle around the logo with a brighter shade of red and smaller letting for "UBS" as seen on the left vs. a darker blue circle, a darker shade of red, and larger letting for "UBS" as seen on the right:

The Cap/Team Name also reflects the same color differences as seen below:

In both cases, the patches with the lighter shade of blue are the earlier version of the patches.


Thanks to Ray from Cardboardgold4u, who let me know that he found a Cubs Fleer Cloth Patch variation that I had not previously been aware of:

At first glance, there doesn't appear to be anything different about this patch.  To see the difference, you need to look at the "UBS" inside of the large "C".   The letters are further to the left and the S is completely inside the "C", whereas most patches with the darker blue background have the letters more to the right of the "C", as seen in the picture above.

This newly discovered patch shows that for at least one year Fleer changed the color from light blue to dark blue and kept the Cubs logo the same before transitioning to the logo with the letters inside the "C" moved slightly to the right.

Thanks again to Ray for this new discovery! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - California Angels

The Angels had a large number of variations as they check in with 8 total variations.

The Angels City/Logo patches can be found with 4 variations: The first 2 have the Angels old logo with the interlocking CA with wings against a baseball diamond. The earliest version of the patch has the green diamond which was followed by the white diamond variation:

The Angels then changed their logo to include the state of California, first with a lower case "a" for Angels, followed by the upper case "A".

There are also 4 variations of the Cap / Team Name patches. The earliest patch has the interlocking CA, which was followed by the lower case "a" with a halo:

The Angels later changed their caps to reflect the "Big A" scoreboard:

The patch on the bottom left has the "Big A" along with a lower case "angels", while the patch on the bottom right incorporated the "Big A" into the team name as well.

I always thought the "Big A" was a great design element of Anaheim Stadium, and was something that made the stadium unique:

Its a shame that they fully enclosed the stadium back in 1980 when the LA Rams moved in and relegated the "Big A" to the parking lot:

The stadium has once again returned to a more open layout with the outfield grandstands being taken down after the Rams moved out and things like geysers being placed beyond the outfield fence, but apparently the costs to move the "Big A" were too much to justify bringing it back to its rightful spot.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Thanks for the Link Exchanges

I've been meaning to say thanks to those bloggers who have recently added this site to their lists of favorite links, and wanted to let them know I've returned the favor.

First up is the first baseball card blog I ever read, and its one of the best - The Baseball Card Blog. Not a bad title for when someone types in the words Baseball+Card+Blog into a Google search which is how I originally came across the site!

Ben started this blog back in January 2006, and is currently undertaking a project called "The 792" which is using the set size that Topps used for much of the 1980's and creating the ultimate 1980's set by selecting the best card at each checklist number from that decade. David from Cardboard Junkie is providing the gallery of pictures on his site. Ben is also currently counting down the top sets from 1990-1994. This site was my first exposure to the world of baseball card blogging, and was what helped me get started writing my own blog.

Next up are two sites from On Base Autos. The first site chronicles On Base's autograph collection:

The other site is a fun place to check each day to see if you can guess the player pictured on that day's card. The first person to answer that day's question of "Whose Card Is It?" is entered into a monthly drawing to win some of the cards used in that month's contests.

My links for team specific sites has added the Rangers and the Indians this time around.

Spiff has started a site covering the Rangers. I knew the site had to be good when I saw he posted a 1985 Fleer Rangers sticker and said he preferred the Fleer stickers over Topps gum!

David runs Indians Baseball Cards. Always. David is currently reviewing the Indians uniform numbers by covering all the players who wore a certain number, and then deciding who the all-time Triber is for each number. He's getting ready to cover # 7, so he's still got a lot of work ahead of him!

If you aren't familiar with any of these blogs, I recommend you check them out.

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Boston Red Sox

Next up on our review of the Cloth Patches is the Red Sox. The Red Sox City/Logo patches can be found with 3 variations: the first has a blue border, and the other 2 have a yellow border. The variation between the 2 patches with the yellow border is the color of the circle around the logo and the stitching on the baseball.

The patch on the bottom left has a black circle around the logo and the stitching on the baseball is completely red while the patch on the bottom right has a blue circle around the logo and has blue and red stitching on the ball.

The patch with the blue border is the earliest of the 3 patches, followed by the yellow border with the black circle, and finally the yellow border with the blue circle.

There are 2 variations of the cap / team name patches:

The patch on the left has a brighter shade of red as opposed to the patch on the right with a darker shade of red.

I'd like to thank fellow Fleer collector Mike for letting me know about this color variation. As I have been working on putting together my collection of Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches, Mike has been very helpful in bringing a number of the variations that I'll be covering to my attention.

I'd also like to acknowledge Barry who likewise has been very helpful in letting me know about a number of variations that I was not previously aware of, and who has helped me in acquiring a number of the patches that you will be seeing posted over the next few weeks as we roll through Cloth Patch month!

Thanks to both of you guys!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Baltimore Orioles

For the Orioles, the City/Logo patches can be found with 3 variations: the first has the logo with a black circle and the other 2 have orange circles. The variation between the 2 patches with orange circles is a color difference. One patch has a more reddish shade of orange, and the other has a much lighter shade of orange. The black circle logo is the earliest of the 3 patches.

There are also 3 variations of the cap / team name patches. The earliest patch has an orange background (which is odd since the Orioles did not wear orange caps during the late 60's/early 70's - although they did briefly wear the orange jersey & pants combination), while the other 2 patches with the black background have the same orange color variations found on the logo stickers.

You can see that the patch on the left has a darker shade of orange compared to the patch on the right. We will come across this same color variation on other teams that had orange as part of their color scheme as we continue our review.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches - Atlanta Braves

First up on our review of the Fleer Cloth Patch variations is the Atlanta Braves.

For each series of Cloth Patches, Fleer produced 2 sets of patches per team (for a total of 4 patches - 2 on each sticker). One sticker contained patches with the city name on top and team logo underneath and the other sticker contained a patch of the cap monogram / logo on the top and the team's name as it appeared on their uniform on the bottom.

For the Braves, the City/Logo patches can be found with 2 variations: the first has the Braves logo in an all white circle and the other has a 2 tone background of white and blue. The all white background is the earlier of the 2 patches.

For the cap / team name patches, there are 3 variations:

I believe that the patch on the top left of the picture is the earliest patch given that the red outline around Braves matches the design on the all white logo sticker. The sticker on the bottom was the last variation given it corresponds to the caps that the Braves wore in the mid-'70s.

I am going to refrain from trying to put exact dates on when certain stickers were issued. Since the patches aren't dated and were released over a 9 year timeframe, its difficult in most cases to say when one design ended and another began. In some cases where logos were completely redesigned or when a team moved its possible to identify when the stickers likely changed, but otherwise short of breaking open packs from each year, I can't say for certain which years certain stickers were produced.

I've got a pretty good idea of the order in which the variations would have been released, but I just can't say for certain the exact years a given sticker was produced.

My goal with these posts is to present the known variations so that anyone interested in collecting these either as full sets or for a particular team has an idea of what is available and what to be looking for.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March is Fleer Baseball Cloth Patch Month! A history of Fleer's Cloth Patch releases

Its time to start reviewing one of the more well known and most popular Fleer issues - the Baseball Cloth Patches.

The Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches were issued over an 9 year period from 1969 through 1977. Given this long time frame, there are a large number of patch variations.

I am going to do a daily review spotlighting each team and their variations. Some teams had very few changes over the 9 years, while others seemed to have a new variation almost every year.

Each year the Cloth Patches were packaged with a card, although the cards are never mentioned on the packs. The cards were included to make the pack more sturdy (almost like a backing board for a comic) since the stickers themselves are quite flimsy.

Before we start the team reviews, here is a year by year review of the packaging and the cards that were included with the Cloth Patches:



Card: Stadium Card

I'm placing this box and wrapper as 1969 given the Orioles logo on the box which was only used on the 1969 quiz card. For 1970 and later, the Orioles logo was in an orange circle, so this most likely is the 1969 issue. Also, the Tigers and Cardinals logos shown on the box and wrapper match the 1969 quiz cards, but not 1970 or beyond.

The 1969 quiz cards were actually packaged with the Fleer Baseball Pennants & Stamps, and not the Cloth Patches.




Card: Quiz Card with 2 Questions:



Card: Quiz Card with 3 Questions and Larger Logo




Card: Quiz card with small logos on the bottom of the card


Wrapper (4 versions):


Cards: A 40 card set entitled Baseball Famous Feats (some of these will look very familiar if you check the back of your 1986 Fleer Baseball stickers):

Wrappers (3 different) & Box:

Cards: A 42 card set entitled Baseball's Wildest Days and Plays:



Cards: A 28 card set entitled Pioneers of Baseball:



Check out the top left corner of the picture - the card that comes with the patches is finally shown on the box, although the box and packs still don't indicate cards are included.

Cards: A 42 card set entitled Baseball Firsts:


In 1977, Fleer switched over to producing glossy stickers, which they called "Hi-Gloss Grand Slam" stickers.  Even though they are not mentioned on the box or wrapper,



cloth patches apparently were included with the glossy stickers as this article from the Sports Collectors Digest (SCD) on May 15, 1977 mentions at the bottom of the page:

As you can see, there was a lot that was issued over this 9 year period. We'll get started with reviewing the teams and their patches tomorrow.