Fleer desperately wanted permission to show active players because of blasé offerings like All Star Match Baseball. An earlier Topps injunction against Fleer's 1963 set (#5 was Willie Mays) left them with faceless options in the mid-60s. No names, no teams, just "American" or "National" under a swinging right-hander and some rules to follow. These 66 cards barely count as "collectible," outside of their numbering (F1 through F66) and one major league tie-in called out on their wax wrappers.
As Donruss included puzzle pieces instead of gum in the 1980s, Fleer collectors in 1966 could flip any card over for a bit of Dodgers star Don Drysdale. Pretty sure this one's his right hip. ("Who can trade me a right shoulder for this jersey swatch?")
Thanks to a 2008 auction of 132-card uncut sheets, we know finishing the puzzle takes a full 66-card set. Fleer's limited 1966 production run and likely poor sales make this a challenging acquisition for modern LA or Drysdale fans.
|Back of 132-card uncut sheet, two Don Drysdale puzzles|
If that pose looks familiar, a very similar version (albeit with 3/4 sleeves) showed up on 1967 Topps #55. While not an exact match, I doubt this was coincidence between competitors.
Value: This #5 cost $5 on eBay and complete All Star Match sets usually run a few hundred dollars.
Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any in the marketplace.
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