Monday, June 30, 2008

St. Louis Cardinals Logo Mystery

A few weeks ago I posted a review of the 1976 Fleer Baseball Iron Ons. One of the most interesting things about this release was the unusual Cardinals logo on the back of the wrapper that I had never seen before:

Here's a closer view:

Thanks to Paul Lukas from the fantastic Uni Watch blog, we now know that this logo was apparently worn on the side of at least one Cardinals batting helmet. Paul posted this picture of Lou Brock from the 1975 All Star Game with something on the side of his batting helmet:

Paul's Uni Watch readers Brian Finch and Jennifer Jackson of the Cardinals Hall of Fame passed along this photo to Uni Watch showing what Lou had on the side of his helmet:

Here's a closer view:

The Cardinals used this logo at least at some point during the 1975 season, even if it just appears to be a decal on the side of a batting helmet. This helps explain why Fleer presumably decided to use this logo for their 1976 Iron Ons (or at least on the wrapper). I haven't seen the actual Cardinals Iron On from this set so I'm not sure if the Iron On had the same logo as shown on the wrapper or not.

If anyone has seen any other appearances of this logo (perhaps in a Cardinals program or yearbook from 1975 or 1976), I'd be interested in hearing about it, since it appears this logo made just a very brief appearance before the Cardinals went back to their much more familiar logo (courtesy of Chris Creamer's

Thursday, June 26, 2008

1979 Fleer World Series Poster Puzzle Uncut Sheet

To finish up the review of the 3 year run of Fleer Grand Slam Hi-Gloss Baseball Stickers, here is an uncut sheet with the entire 1978 World Series Poster Puzzle showing a picture of Yankee Stadium from the 1979 set:

Here is a look at the other side with the stickers:

I'm not sure if these were ever made available to the general public, or whether this is just something that happened to make it out of the factory by an employee. There is nothing on the wrapper indicating that these uncut sheets could be purchased by collectors which probably accounts for the fact that this is the only uncut Fleer baseball sticker puzzle sheet I've seen.

I have not seen any uncut sheets with the 1978 set puzzle, but the search continues...

Monday, June 23, 2008

1979 Fleer Grand Slam Hi-Gloss Baseball Stickers

Fleer produced a 3rd version of the Grand Slam Hi-Gloss Baseball Stickers in 1979 which is almost identical to the 1978 set with just a few exceptions.

Once again each team has 2 stickers with a team logo sticker with the city name and a cap monogram / team name sticker.

The stickers continue with the 3 color and 2 color border variations that were found in 1977 & 1978 series, and again there is no change in terms of which teams have 3 colors vs. those which have 2.

The same stickers that had the "World Series Photo Puzzle On Back" once again have this designation.

Since the Yankees beat the Dodgers again in the World Series, even the same World Champs and NL Champs stickers appear for a second straight year.

The main difference between the 1978 & 1979 sets is the puzzle back. Whereas the 1978 puzzle was vertical, and had a white/red/white/blue border with a photo taken at Dodger Stadium, the 1979 set has a puzzle with horizontal picture backs, and has a red/white/blue border. The other difference is that the photo in the 1979 set is from Yankee stadium.

Here is a partial view of the puzzle backs:

Only 2 teams underwent changes from the 1978 set to the 1979 set:

All the other stickers in the set look identical between the two years.

The one other difference between 1978 & 1979 is the wrapper. After 2 years of yellow wrappers with team logos on the front, Fleer put a picture of a player that looks an awful lot like Reggie Jackson on the front. From the pinstripes to the NY batting helmet to the glasses, it looks like Fleer was trying to get as close to portraying Reggie as possible, even though they have him batting right handed (when in fact he batted left):

Its even more apparent when you look at the box which includes a Dodger pitcher, playing up the fact that there is a World Series puzzle on the back of the cards:

1979 was the last year for the "Grand Slam" stickers. The 1980 set would have a much different look which I'll cover next time.

UPDATE 04/2010:

Fleer Sticker Project contributor Troy has provided a review from an April, 1979 issue of Sports Collectors Digest (SCD) covering the 1979 Fleer Baseball Stickers set, including an in depth look at the various puzzle back variations:

Friday, June 20, 2008

1978 Fleer Grand Slam Hi-Gloss Baseball Stickers

Fleer produced a 2nd version of the Grand Slam Hi-Gloss Baseball Stickers in 1978 which at first glance look almost identical to the 1977 version.

Once again, there was a team logo sticker with the city name as well as a cap monogram / team name sticker.

However, there are some differences. See if you can find two differences between the 1978 sticker on the top and the 1977 sticker below:

The first difference is pretty easy to spot. On some of the logo stickers, Fleer added a note that there was a "World Series Puzzle on Back". This note appears on some, but not all of the logo stickers. In cases where there was no room for the note, the sticker looks identical to the 1977 version on the front.

The second difference is much more subtle. The 1978 stickers have a (R) registered trademark beside the MLB logo while the 1977 stickers do not.

All the logo stickers have the (R) regardless of whether or not they have the "World Series" notation. The cap monogram / team name stickers do not have an MLB logo.

While the 1977's were blank backed, the 1978 version has a World Series Puzzle with a picture from Dodger Stadium from the 1977 World Series. Here is a picture of the completed puzzle:

The 1978 puzzle backs are vertical, and the borders have a white/red/white/blue border. These two items help differentiate the 1978 set from the 1979 set which also has a puzzle back.

In addition, Fleer once again produced stickers noting the World Series Champion Yankees and NL Champion Dodgers in addition to their regular stickers:

Note the Dodgers sticker is an example of one of the logo stickers that do not have the Puzzle notation.

Whereas the 1977 set excluded the cap monogram / team name stickers for the expansion Mariners & Blue Jays, the 1978 set includes these 2 stickers:

The total set size increased by 2 with the addition of the Mariners and Blue Jays stickers, bringing a full set to 55 stickers, and a complete master set with all border variations to 97.

The stickers can once again be found with the 3 color and 2 color border variations that I covered with the 1977 series, and there is no change in terms of which teams have 3 colors vs. those which have 2.

There are however, a number of differences between the 1977 and 1978 stickers due to uniform & logo changes. In the following pictures, the 1977 sticker is on the left and the 1978 sticker is on the right:

The wrapper for the 1978 series is very similar to the 1977 wrapper given both are yellow with team logos on the front. Here are 2 examples of the 1978 wrapper variations:

The 1978 wrappers say New Hi-Gloss Grandslam Baseball Stickers, whereas the 1977 wrapper says New "Grand Slam" Baseball Stickers :

Note one of the 1978 wrappers shows the Yankees World Champs stickers, which also helps indicate that these would have been issued after the 1977 Yankees World Series win. Actually one pack shows the AL division winners and the other pack shows the NL division winners from 1977.

If you'd like to check out a recently opened pack of the 1978 stickers, check out this posting on A Pack A Day where David from Indians Baseball Cards. Always. just opened a pack.

Fleer would use this same design a third time in 1979. Next time I'll cover the 1979 set and how to differentiate it from the 1978 set.

UPDATE 04/2010:

Fleer Sticker Project contributor Troy has passed along this review of the 1978 Fleer set from Sports Collectors Digest (SCD):

Sunday, June 15, 2008

1977 Fleer Grand Slam Hi-Gloss Baseball Stickers

After an 8 year run of Cloth Patch stickers from 1969 - 1976, Fleer made a significant change in 1977 with their first glossy baseball sticker set, which they called "Grand Slam Hi-Gloss Baseball Stickers".

Each team had 2 different designs - a team logo sticker with the city name above the logo and a cap monogram / team name sticker which was an identical design to the previous cloth patch issues. The backs of the stickers are blank white backs.

For some reason however, the 2 expansion teams (Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners) had a logo sticker, but did not have a cap monogram / team name sticker.

Also, Fleer recognized the previous year's World Series teams:

Here is a picture of the front and back of the wrapper:

As well as a picture of the box:

Fleer was really playing up the fact they were moving from cloth patches to glossy stickers by claiming on the back of the packs that the stickers have a "wet look".

The claim that there are 53 designs is true, but a little misleading. Yes there are 53 "designs" (24 teams with a logo & cap sticker = 48 + 2 expansion team logos + 1 World Champs + 1 AL Champs + 1 MLB logo = 53), but if you have any interest in variations, there are actually 95 different stickers.

That is because each team logo sticker can be found with either 3 border color variations (blue, cream, & white):

or 2 border color variations (pink & white):

Here is the complete set including all the border color variations so you can see which teams have the 3 border color variations and which teams have the 2 color variations:

Fleer issued very similar sets in 1978 & 1979. I'll cover the differences in my next post.

Starting with this release in 1977, Fleer would go on a 15 year run of producing glossy baseball team stickers, first as separate releases sold on their own, and then later as inserts with their baseball cards once the lawsuit with Topps was finalized, and Fleer was forced to find something other than gum to insert in their baseball card packs.

UPDATE: 04/2010

Thanks to Fleer Sticker Project contributor Troy, here is a review of the set that was originally published in the Sports Collectors Digest (SCD) on May 15, 1977:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Customized "Fleer" Baseball Big Signs

After my recent post on the 1973 Fleer Baseball Big Signs, Jeff left a comment indicating that he had remembered collecting them as a kid (and confirmed that they were sold without a wrapper so you could pick your favorite teams), and mentioned that he had used the artwork from the signs to create similar signs for the 6 expansion teams that have come into the league since these were originally issued.

I asked Jeff if he wouldn't mind passing along some pictures, and when I saw them I was very impressed. Jeff's customized signs really capture the look and feel of the originals very well.

Thanks to Jeff's efforts, here are the Big Sign updates Fleer should have issued:

From 1977, here are the expansion Seattle Mariners:

and the Toronto Blue Jays:

From 1993, here are the expansion Colorado Rockies:

and the Florida Marlins:

And finally, from 1998 here are the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks:

and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays:

Also, with the Expos moving to Washington DC, a new sign had to be issued in 2005 for the newly renamed Washington Nationals:

In addition to creating signs for new teams, Jeff also has done some signs for teams that have changed their logos since 1974, such as the White Sox:

and the Brewers:

Jeff - Thanks for sending these along, and thanks for agreeing to let me post some of them!

Now if only I can figure out a way to get my printer to handle cardboard!