(This is the 18th in our series of posts about the best baseball cards from the 1980s. Check out the rest of those posts here.)

For the most part, the base 1986 Fleer baseball card set is just a solid, sorta vanilla offering that hits all the big points but doesn’t break any new ground.

You’ve got the Major League Prospect cards at the end of the set, where you’ll find rookie cards of Jose Canseco, Benito Santiago, Paul O’Neill, Andres Galarraga, and Cecil Fielder.

And you have the Super Star specials that Fleer was so fond of during the 1980s and were at least a little fun — they dubbed Vince Coleman “Terror on the Basepaths” before anyone knew about his love of firecrackers.

And you have the blue borders throughout the set, which would have seemed more unusual if Donruss hadn’t hit on the same idea at the same time.

For the most part, though, 1986 Fleer baseball is mostly boring — lots of posed shots, a few typical action shots, and a couple of candids.

1986 Fleer Keith Hernandez

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One card that is not your typical fare, though, is Keith Hernandez at #84.

Hernandez is usually remembered as the suave, thick-mustachioed 1979 National League co-MVP (shared with Pittsburgh Pirates great Willie Stargell) who could field anything at first base, as evidenced by his 11 Gold Gloves, and who was atypically productive at the plate, first for the St. Louis Cardinals and then for the New York Mets.

He was atypical because, although Hernandez didn’t hit for much power, he drew lots of walks and was often in the race for the NL batting crown.

Hernandez was also a GQ sort who always looked perfect on and off the field — perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect uniform.

But on his 1986 Fleer card, Hernandez looks more like the perfect baseball player, the sort you’d want to go to battle with any day.

Hernandez stands in the center of the frame in front of the low brick wall behind home plate in Wrigley Field. The Cubs catcher — Jody Davis, probably — is fumbling around in the dirt at Hernandez’s feet, to his right.

Keith is looking off to his left, toward third base.

And the best part of all is that Hernandez’s road New York Mets uniform is completely filthy.

You can guess from these circumstances that Hernandez has raced home to find some sort of incident at the plate, and he’s sussing out whether or not the guy behind him should take on the same entanglement.

1986 Fleer Keith Hernandez (back)

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This is a man embroiled in the heat of a baseball game, and Fleer caught all the gritty, grimy, gnarly beauty of the moment with their camera.

Is it the best card in the 1986 Fleer set?

Hard to imagine one better, all things considered.

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(This is the 18th in our series of posts about the best baseball cards from the 1980s. Check out the rest of those posts here.)

 

 

 

1986 FLEER #82 AKEEM OLAJUWON RC ROCKETS PSA 6 K2757140-339

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1986 FLEER #47 CRAIG HODGES RC BUCKS PSA 9 K2757134-332

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