I’ve been a Cal Ripken Jr. collector for some time. After sharing the photo of a newly acquired Ripken, I asked my Twitter follows what card I should go after next, and someone mentioned his 1982 Fleer Test card. I had never heard of 1982 Fleer Test cards, so I decided to do some research. In this article, I’ll share what I’ve learned about the test issue.
Fleer started making baseball cards again in 1981, and cardboard stock suppliers wanted to get contracts with Fleer to be their supplier. Having already started developing the 1982 set, International Paper Co. provided a run of 100 sheets so Fleer could see what the cards would look like.
The 132 card sheets had a bunch of incorrect picture/name combinations and blank backs. Some of the photos aren’t even in the officially released 1982 Fleer set. “TEST CARD” was printed over the player’s name on the front along with the letters “o”, “n”, or both at the left of the oblong namespace. The sheet is also a double-print, which means there are 66 unique cards, printed twice.
Fleer liked the International Paper Company product and awarded them the contract for the 1983 Fleer set. Some sheets made their way to customers as a gift, and then a large stack of around 40 sheets was found in 1995 at a now-closed Fleer plant.
A Net54 forum member, bobsbbcards, provided the following checklist for the set (row of the card on uncut sheet/column on the uncut sheet/card name/player picture), remember the set is double printed on the sheet of 12 rows:
1/1/Jon Matlack/Steve Christmas
1/2/Wayne Gross/Jose Brito
1/3/Mario Mendoza/John Lickert
1/4/Mike Heath/Daryl Sconiers
1/5/Bump Wills/Lee Mazzilli
1/6/Steve McCatty/Jose Rodriguez
1/7/Steve Stone/Steve Stone
1/8/No Name/Brian Harper
1/9/Dennis Martinez/Cubs Player
1/10/No Name/Julio Valdez
1/11/Jim Palmer/Del Unser
2/1/Billy Sample/Bill Doran
2/2/Tony Armas/Tony Armas
2/3/Rick Honeycutt/Rick Honeycutt
2/4/Cliff Jackson/Tim Ireland
2/5/John Ellis/Floyd Rayford
2/6/Dave McKay/Jim Wright
2/7/Ken Singleton/Larry Milbourne
2/8/No Name/Steve Balboni
2/9/John Lowenstein/Mickey Mahler
2/10/No Name/Ty Waller
2/11/Doug DeCinces/Mike Patterson
3/1/Mickey Rivers/Pat Putnam
3/2/Rickey Henderson/Mike Norris
3/3/Jim Sundberg/Jim Kern
3/4/Bob Owchinko/Fred Stanley
3/5/Buddy Bell/Danny Darwin
3/6/Shooty Babbitt/Rick Langford
3/7/Sammy Stewart/Tony Martinez
3/8/No Name/Juan Eichelberger
3/9/Lenn Sakata/Eddie Murray
3/10/No Name/Juan Bonilla
3/11/Benny Ayala/Terry Crowley
4/1/Al Oliver/Bill Stein
4/2/Dwayne Murphy/Matt Keough
4/3/Leon Roberts/John Grubb
4/4/Rob Picciolo/Brian Kingman
4/5/Mark Wagner/Steve Comer
4/6/Jeff Jones/Jeff Neumann
4/7/Tim Stoddard/Mike Flanagan
4/8/No Name/John Urrea
4/9/Rick Dempsey/Mark Belanger
4/10/No Name/Luis Salazar
4/11/Dave Ford/Cal Ripken
5/1/Pat Putnam/Pat Putnam
5/2/Mike Norris/Mike Norris
5/3/Jim Kern/Jim Kern
5/4/Fred Stanley/Fred Stanley
5/5/Danny Darwin/Danny Darwin
5/6/Rick Langford/Rick Langford
5/7/Tippy Martinez/Tippy Martinez
5/8/No Name/Juan Eichelberger
5/9/Eddie Murray/Eddie Murray
5/10/No Name/Juan Bonilla
5/11/Terry Crowley/Terry Crowley
6/1/Bill Stein/Bill Stein
6/2/Matt Keough/Matt Keough
6/3/John Grubb/John Grubb
6/4/Brian Kingman/Brian Kingman
6/5/Steve Comer/Steve Comer
6/6/Jeff Neumann/Jeff Neumann
6/7/Mike Flanagan/Mike Flanagan
6/8/No Name/John Urrea
6/9/Mark Belanger/Mark Belanger
6/10/No Name/Luis Salazar
6/11/Cal Ripken/Cal Ripken
Bobsbbcards mentioned that many of the cards in the last two rows (5/1 through 6/11) have minor cropping variations compared to the same cards in the previous two rows (3/1 through 4/11). The first two rows (1/1 through 2/11) have a single “n” at the left of the oblong. The next two rows (3/1 through 4/11) have “o” and “n” at the left of the oblong. The last two rows (5/1 through 6/11) have a single “o” at the left of the oblong.
I confirmed this information by examining a 1982 Fleer Test Uncut Sheet (the one pictured above) that I found for sale on eBay for $5000. In the following picture, you can see the “TEST CARD” printing and the “n” printed on the left side of the oblong.
The next picture shows the first 5.5 rows of the sheet.
Next, you can see the bottom right portion of the uncut sheet which shows “o” and “o n” oblongs plus you can see the two Cal Ripken Jr. variants.
PSA, SGC, and BGS all have graded 1982 Fleer Test issues. PSA has graded 20 1982 Fleer Test Cards, including 5 Cal Ripken Jr. pictured with Dave Ford’s name, and 9 Cal Ripken Jr. cards with his own name.
Next, you can see detailed images of both Cal Ripken Jr. cards printed on the 1982 Fleer Test sheet.
Eddie Murray and Rickey Henderson fans should also be interested in 1982 Fleer Test cards as they both appear on the sheet. The following image shows the Rickey Henderson card (Mike Norris pictured).
The wonderful thing about our hobby is the opportunities it provides to learn. In this case, I’m happy to find out about a new Cal Ripken Jr. card that I didn’t know existed, along with the intricacies of how it came to be as part of Fleer’s reemergence in the hobby in the early 1980s. Don’t forget to subscribe via e-mail to get notifications of new PostWarCard.Com posts.