If you had asked most collectors that spring, 1984 Fleer baseball cards entered the new hobby season in third place.

All these years later, not too much has changed … but it sort of has.

We all knew right out of the gate that Donruss had upped their game, and that Topps was trying to duplicate their picture-in-picture magic from 1983.

But Fleer? It was just sort of there — clean and bright, but not really special.

Of course, Don Mattingly‘s emergence that summer coupled with the scarcity of Donruss to build a hobby classic and change how we all looked at rookie cards, particular those of young up-and-comers.

1984 Fleer baseball cards unopened wax pack

Donnie Baseball’s Topps and Fleer RCs got pulled along for the ride to some degree, and then the debut Fleer Update set changed things again that fall.

With first cards of Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemens, and Kirby Puckett, that little set caught on quick, but we learned even more quickly that it was hard to find.

Up went prices, and that helped boost the value of the base set, too, for awhile, at least.

These days, 1984 Fleer and Topps are roughly equivalent in the market, and your preference largely depends on aesthetics and a few wins in card choices by one company or the other.

Whatever the case, these most valuable 1984 Fleer baseball cards are still popular after all these years, as evidenced by recent eBay sales prices for PSA 9 copies (reflected here).

Play ball!

1984 Fleer Don Mattingly Rookie Card (#131)

1984 Fleer Don Mattingly Rookie Card

Like I said above, and like you already know unless you’re a few weeks old, the 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly rookie card changed the whole hobby.

This Fleer Mattingly RC didn’t have quite the same impact, but carried its own weight for a lot of years.

And, even though Mattingtly fell short of Cooperstown, this baby still brings around $20 in graded MINT condition today.

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1984 Fleer Pete Rose (#46)

1984 Fleer Pete Rose

By the time this card was issued, Pete was playing north of the border, for the Montreal Expos.

Weird stuff, but he did collect his 4000th hit in a ‘Spos uniform before heading back to the Reds to continue his pursuit of Ty Cobb.

Like every other Rose card, this one moved up the value ladder with every hit Pete collected.

Today, even with Charlie Hustle’s fall from grace, this is a $15 card in PSA 9.

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1984 Fleer Nolan Ryan (#239)

1984 Fleer Nolan Ryan

In 1983, Ryan broke Walter Johnson‘s all-time strikeout record, then was followed to that milestone by Steve Carlton and Gaylord Perry.

It was Carlton who owned the record by the end of the season, though, and a lot of folks thought Lefty would keep it for all time.

You can see Nolan here, on this $12 card, explaining why that theory is more bogus than a bull with utters.

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1984 Fleer Darryl Strawberry Rookie Card (#599)

1984 Fleer Darryl Strawberry Rookie Card

Along with Ron Kittle, Strawberry brought back major power to the rookie scene in 1983 after several seasons of pitchers and middle-infield types taking home Rookie of the Year hardware.

By the time his RCs hit the mainstream in the spring of 1984, Straw had the Mets thinking like contenders, and he would team with Dwight Gooden (and others) to make New York one of the most exciting clubs in the Majors.

Like Mattingly, Strawberry fell short of the Hall of Fame, but this classic rookie card still hammers down for $10+ in PSA 9.

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1984 Fleer Bench & Yaz Super Star Special (#640)

1984 Fleer Bench & Yaz Super Star Special

After the ’83 season, Perry retired, but he wasn’t the only legend to hang up his spikes.

Wasn’t even the most legendary, in fact.

That was an honor shared between Carl Yastrzemski and Johnny Bench, who bid adieu to the Red Sox and Reds, respectively.

The next year — 1984, if you’re keeping score — Fleer honored the two future Hall of Famers together on this now-$10 card (PSA 9).

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1984 Fleer Rickey Henderson (#447)

1984 Fleer Rickey Henderson

By 1984, Henderson owned the single-season stolen base record, had three 100-steal seasons to his name, and was already talking about breaking Lou Brock‘s career record.

Rickey was also starting to be talked about as one of the greatest leadoff hitters of all time, a title he would eventually claim outright by general consensus.

This Fleer card of the Hall of Famer sells for around $10 these days in PSA 9 condition.

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1984 Fleer Ryne Sandberg (#504)

1984 Fleer Ryne Sandberg

This card found its way into collector’s hands just in time to accompany Sandberg’s breakout season, when he hit .319, smacked 19 homers, and sped his way to 19 triples as he helped the Cubs snag their first-ever division title in 1984.

All that earned him the National League MVP award and sent collectors scurrying to find his 1983 rookie cards.

And, if we got our hands on a few 1984s — like this $10 Fleer card — along the way, then all the better.

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1984 Fleer Johnny Bench (#462)

1984 Fleer Johnny Bench

Fleer didn’t stop with a combo card for Bench and Yaz, the way Topps did (the 1984 Topps tribute card also pulled in Perry with the two sluggers).

Nope, Bench appears here on a single career-capper card, the sort of thing Topps just didn’t do in those days, and that Donruss skipped out on, too.

The last regular-issue baseball card of the game’s greatest catcher is a $20 item in PSA 9.

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1984 Fleer Carl Yastrzemski (#412)

1984 Fleer Carl Yastrzemski

Same exact story for Yaz, except he wasn’t a catcher.

He did win the 1967 Amercian League Triple Crown (and MVP), though, and he is a Boston legend.

Yastrzemski’s career-capper also lines up at ten bucks (PSA 9).

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1984 Fleer Cal Ripken Jr. (#17)

1984 Fleer Cal Ripken Jr

In the spring of 1984, Ripken was on top of the world …

After all, he was coming off a two-year stint that had seen him win the AL Rookie of the Year award (1982), AL MVP (1983), and a World Series title with the Orioles (1983).

What could be better?

Well, eventually, another MVP award (1991) and taking down Lou Gehrig‘s record for consecutive games played (1995), that’s what.

This sunny card of a young and peaking Ripken sells for close to $10 in slabbed MINT condition these days.

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1984 Fleer baseball cards - 12 card lot of stars & rookies

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1984 Donruss, Topps, & Fleer Baseball Wax Pack Lot (1 of each pack)

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1984 DON MATTINGLY BASEBALL 2 CARD ROOKIE LOT TOPPS, FLEER NM-MT

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1984 Fleer Baseball Set and Fleer Update Baseball Set

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1984 Fleer Cello Pack. Don Mattingly RC?. 28 Cards/Pack.

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