Saturday, March 08, 2014

Barry Larkin Collection 244: 1990 Fleer League Leaders - #22

Barry Larkin
Year:  1990
Brand:  Fleer League Leaders
Card number:  22

The 1990 Fleer League Leaders set has 44 cards in it split evenly across the two leagues.  The Cincinnati Reds have two representatives in the set (the second being Eric Davis).    Unfortunately, other than the basic 44 card checklist, I couldn't find much information about this set.  It appears it was a standalone set (no one lists it as an insert for the Fleer flagship set) but I couldn't actually verify that.  I suppose (given the boring design) that it is sort of fitting that this set has been all but forgotten.  Heck, the Reds logo on the back is printed in pure blue...things like that make for a set to basically beg to be ignored.  If this set came out today, I don't think anyone would purchase it...and based on how little information I could find, I don't think many purchased it back in 1990 either!


Stubby said...

Yes, "League Leaders" was a stand alone "box set". Fleer issued box sets by that name for several years. Box sets were all the rage in the junk wax era of the 80s and early 90s. Cards were booming and everybody wanted in. But there was also the problem, at retail, of "pack searching". Box sets were cheap to make, cheap to buy, and a perfect vehicle for retailers. Since you knew that no box was any different than any other, pack searching was pointless. If you were a big enough retailer, you could get your brand on a line (as did Toys R Us, Kay Bee, Rite Aid, and tons of other retail chains). If you didn't want to go that extra mile, or if you were just a Mom and Pop convenience store or gas station, you could inexpensively buy a case of something like League Leaders and take advantage of impulse sales (and, unlike the branded sets, hobby shops could stock the generics). Fleer was the king of Box Sets. They were everywhere. Topps had quite a few as well. I'm not sure if Donruss did many, or any, beyond The Rookies; I just don't recall. The trend was pretty much played by the time Upper Deck and Score joined the fray, though Score did a couple hangar box sets (usually packaged with a magazine) and I vaguely recall Upper Deck maybe doing one. But those weren't the traditional Box Sets--packaged like playing cards. I wasn't a big fan of Box Sets, but I was fond of the Toys R Us Rookies set, which was high gloss and colorful and Topps' stab at the Donruss The Rookies success (the Donruss sets being hobby only and Topps' being Toys R Us only). I suspect there are hundreds of Box Set Barry Larkins in existence.

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