(This is the 24th in our series of posts about the best baseball cards from the 1980s. Check out the rest of those posts here.)

Baseball cards reached something like a local maximum in 1987, when all three major manufacturers issued sets with definable character and at least a hint of scarcity (well, maybe not Topps).

It may not have been Everest, but it looks like a pretty nice peak from the vantage point of the 21st century.

At the time, we all thought baseball cards would only get better and better every year, but that was probably too lofty of an expectation from the beginning. It only took until the 1988 cards hit store shelves that spring to figure out we were in for an adjustment …

Topps looked pretty, but it was everywhere.

Donruss looked pretty awful, and it was everywhere, including places Topps wasn’t.

And Fleer …

1988 Fleer Jody Davis

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Well, Fleer seemed a bit scarcer. It wasn’t bleeding out onto the streets like Donruss was.

But whereas in 1987 Fleer had taken a step toward what we imagined a premium set might look like, the 1988 cards seemed … gimmicky. Cheap.

The red-white-and-blue-with-sprinkles design always reminded me of a Little Debbie Fourth of July snack cake and combined with the cheesy backs to make the whole thing seem like one of Fleer’s cheapo box sets.

On growth hormone.

Like a big ol’ “Revco Presents Baseball Superstars and Sorta Stars and Commons and Guys You’ve Never Heard Of” box set that you could pick up for $30 with the purchase of any piece of home medical equipment (minimum purchase $100).

Part of the cheese that I suppose was intended to be artsy and sophisticated was the ghosty white fade-in at the top of cards, where each photo jutted over top for a flat 3-D effect.

Now, Fleer had used a similar device in 1987, and I wasn’t crazy about it then, either, but it was something fresh to try.

Once.

When the fade came back in 1988, though, it seemed to eat even more photo real estate. As a result, there are tons of posed shots and up-close action shots that really aren’t action shots and tiny little figurine pictures.

1988 Fleer Jody Davis (back)

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But one guy who shows up as none of that is Chicago Cubs catcher Jody Davis (#414).

Davis makes no concessions for this card.

He is a catcher in the middle of a play at the plate, and he has a tag to make.

Runner dude looks out to me.

Davis is in full lunge mode, ready to eat dirt if he has to. You can keep your little misty stuff at the top of the card, too, because Davis is having none of it.

He’s more than happy to duck down, not just to nab the runner but also to stay the hell away from your cakey white perfume, Fleer.

He will, however, doff his catcher’s mask because, you know, gotta show off the grill.

So, yeah, I picked another catcher.

And?

It’s Jody Davis. He’s railing against the degradation of our hobby. He’s fighting the Fleer frou-frou and winning.

He’s got the best card of the 1988¬†Fleer baseball set.

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(This is the 24th in our series of posts about the best baseball cards from the 1980s. Check out the rest of those posts here.)

 

 

 

2019 Topps Archives JODY DAVIS Silver Fan Favorites Auto Autograph /99

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1982 Topps Jody Davis RC Rookie Baseball Card #508 Cubs

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