|1998 Fleer Tradition #218 Shawon Dunston|
Shawon Dunston leads it off, a player who spent most of his career on the Cubbies, but who came over to Pittsburgh for a short 18 game stop toward the later part of his career. This is from that brief time in 1997, which we can tell by the Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary patch on his right sleeve. This Fleer design is always tough for me to place precisely, but that patch helped out quite a bit.
|1995 Fleer #477 Mark Dewey|
|2000 Fleer Tradition #187 Bruce Aven|
That only lasted two years, as they shifted the Tradition brand over to a retro style in 2000, and didn't even market a flagship "Fleer" set for most of the rest of their existence. They were clearly going for the look of 1954 Topps with this set, which will become clear soon enough.
|2001 Upper Deck Vintage #318 Pittsburgh Pirates CL|
|2003 Topps #458 Josh Fogg|
These aren't perfect reproductions, as the original 1954 cards didn't have a white border on top, and the dimensions were slightly larger (think 1989 Bowman). But with a large, full-color painted headshot, small action black-and-white photograph, facsimile signature, team logo, and the team name and spelled-out position toward the top underneath the player's name in all caps, it's plain that Fleer did barely more than change the font for their 2000 Tradition product.
And I thought 1996 Donruss ripped off 1995 Leaf.
Blatant plagiarism aside, there was one more surprise in this pack.
|1972 Topps #180 Dock Ellis IA|
Though the Pirates may not have progressed in this year's Postseason, the franchise has a long and colorful history from Honus Wagner to Andrew McCutchen, with some Dock Ellis and Barry Bonds in between.
Up next: the Toronto Blue Jays.