Mar 13, 2009

The Junior High Countdown: 119. 1994 Fleer Extra Bases

I'm not sure what Fleer was thinking with this set. Actually, that's not entirely true. I bet they were thinking, "How do we include more of the photo on a card?" Unfortunately, the result is Fleer Extra Bases.

Design: The design itself is very clean. It's a full bleed photograph with the player name at the bottom in team related colors along with a new "Extra Bases" logo. On the back, is a second photo of the player with full career stats. Sounds great to me so far....The problem that I can't overlook is this...the size! Each card measures 2 1/2" x 4 3/4". This is not a proportional configuration and what ends up happening is that you get a squashed image of the player. Also, not fun to store. I completely mangled all the 89 Bowman cards I had as a kid. Imagine what I would have done with these...if I ever had any. It was long...and it wasn't strong.

Details: This had a 400 card base set with each box containing 36 packs with 10 cards per pack for a SRP of $1.99 released during mid-summer. It wasn't quite premium or a base set, kind of a quasi-premium release. I only remember seeing these at retail outlets like Woolworths. Also, continuing the theme of other Fleer products that year, one insert was inserted in every pack. These were 2nd year Standouts, Game Breakers, Major League Hopeful, and Rookie Standout. A set called Pitchers' Duel was available through a wrapper redemption. Rookies of note were Chan Ho Park and Ray Durham.

Impact: It should have stopped card manufacturers from releasing full oversized card sets for a long time, but instead we were later blessed with Topps Super Chrome, also not on my favorites list.

Summary: This was a very poor seller according to my memory. Even a card-obsessed 12 year old like me did not touch any of this stuff. As such, I have none in my collection. I really soured on oversize cards after 1989 Bowman, but I really loved the Allen and Ginter boxtoppers the last couple years. I guess the lesson is an oversized full set is not collectible, but a few cards is alright. Also, the large set size did not distinguish it from the base set that year and the insert sets were not interesting enough in design or concept to pursue. Really, I never had any interest in that set in any point of my time in the collecting zone.

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