Tuesday, October 27, 2015

1963 Fleer....Willie Mays and his National League friends

When it came time to pick up the pricier cards from the '63 Fleer set I figured I'd settle for lesser conditioned examples. I mean I'm not opening an art museum or anything. I just like to be able to flip through a binder and appreciate the cards for what they are. 

Willie Mays' '63 Fleer card came from COMC. It was one that had a "Warning: this card has issues" pop-up when you clicked 'add to cart'. Which didn't deter me. The creases aren't as pronounced in hand as they show in the scan. there is some back damage that seems to come from being pasted onto a page but it wasn't a deal breaker for me. The card of a smiling Willie in his old stomping (Polo) Grounds is very welcome in my collection.

Hey kids...It's Maury Wills! On a baseball card! 

Topps failure to sign a young Maury Wills is one of the more well known baseball cards 'legends'. He made a cameo on Topps' 1960 World Series Game #5 card but other than that this is his only appearance on a standard issue card. The yellow diamond on his card got a special MVP designation instead of the usual generic player artwork.

As a kid growing up with a lot of Dodgers fans as friends I was well aware that Wills never had a card from Topps although we never knew the story as to why that was. 

The rest of these were commons from the same purchase.

Bob Aspromonte posing in front of a brick wall. I always think of the old hockey sets that had so many photos of players seemingly taken in the hallway outside the clubhouse. I like the old .45s cap. I have one of those and wear it on my visits to Minute Maid Park when I'm rooting for the Astros (i.e. when they are not playing the Orioles).

Smoky Burgess, pinch hitter deluxe.

And finally one of my favorite Mets, lefty Al Jackson. Yes, back then I did have 'favorite' Mets...right up until October 16, 1969. After that it took about four decades for me to look at the Mets as 'just another team.' Yes, I held a grudge and was pretty bitter, sue me.

But anyway Al Jackson was a Texas-bred member of some terrible Mets' clubs and he always had the reputation as a hard-luck guy who deserved more support. He attended Wiley College which never was much in sports but had a top flight debate team that was made famous in a Denzel Washington movie.

After his active playing days Jackson was a pitching coach in several organizations, including the Orioles. Here is an interesting fact from Al Jackson's Baseball Reference Bullpen page: "A number of pitchers from that awful 1962 Mets team that went 40-120 became pitching coaches besides him, including Roger Craig, Bob Miller and Galen Cisco."

I'm down to seven cards on my '63 Fleer want list including the elusive short printed Checklist. None of the cards are actually hard to find. I just haven't seen them in the condition/price 'sweet spot' I have targeted. I'm very patient.


  1. Every time I see a 1963 Fleer post, I think "Yeah, yeah, I should go after that set", which lasts until I see the budget-busting prices on cards like the Checklist or Koufax. It's money that can be better used on other goals. I probably should treat it like I treat 1956 Topps and focus primarily on appealing commons.

    ... and maybe a lesser-condition Willie Mays....

  2. Creases be damned, that is a great Willie Mays card!

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  4. Wills did have Topps cards beginning in 1967.

  5. A few more posts on this set and I might seriously think about completing it

  6. Any Willie Mays card from his playing days is certainly worthy of a post regardless of the condition. The Polo Grounds background is a plus for me too.