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1963 Fleer Baseball Cards

1963 Fleer Baseball Cards

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The final attempt by Fleer to carve out a spot in the baseball card market, 1963 Fleer Baseball abandoned the Baseball Greats formula of retired players and went all-in with a new set.

Featuring two short prints and several Hall of Fame cards, the key 1963 Fleer option is the rookie card for Maury Wills.

1963 Fleer Baseball Set Details

After trying for four years to get into the gum card market without directly competing with Topps, Fleer finally threw down the gauntlet. Featuring current baseball players, 1963 Fleer Baseball was a bold move by the company. In a strategy designed to circumvent Topps' claim of exclusivity with gum and confectionary products, Fleer packs included a cherry-flavored cookie

Predictably, Topps took Fleer to court. They won the case and Fleer was forced to stop their set before a second series could be issued. Fleer was officially out of the baseball card business, but they still released products related to baseball over the years, including team stickers, patches, and cards featuring retired legends. Most importantly, they kept challenging Topps' monopoly until 1980, when they were finally allowed to directly compete with them.

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Covering players from each of the 20 MLB teams, 1963 Fleer Baseball fronts feature a large player photo. Below that is a yellow diamond showcasing an assortment of player drawings. The player's name, team and position is noted at the bottom of the card. In a way, it's not too far off from the design Topps used for its own '63 set, with a second picture in place of the diamond.

However, the 1963 Fleer Baseball backs went a different direction. Utilizing a vertical format, the backs feature an extensive write-up with stats at the bottom. The card number appears right in the middle, inside a graphic of a baseball and two bats. The entire back includes a bright green border with the same color used for the player's name at the top.

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While the Cooperstown residents get a lot of attention from the hobby, the most important addition to the set is Maury Wills, who wasn't included in 1963 Topps. This was reportedly because Wills had been snubbed by Topps while in the minor leagues, which pushed him to sign with Fleer. Wills was the National League MVP in 1962 after setting the modern stolen base record at 104. His '63 Fleer card front notes his MVP award instead of the player drawing found on the rest of the cards. Maury Wills is the only rookie card in the set.

Although the HOF cards are some of the most valuable 1963 Fleer Baseball cards, two short prints are generally the toughest to find. This includes the unnumbered checklist and Joe Adcock (#46). Because of the nature of the set size and the fact the product was printed in 132-card sheets, the 66-card card set worked perfectly. However, in order to add a checklist to the set, Adcock was removed from some of the printings. As a result, both cards are considered to be SPs. However, because of their intended usage, the checklist cards are much tougher to find in high-grade.

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Despite being a small release and missing some of the biggest names of the day, there are still a decent amount of stars included in 1963 Fleer Baseball. The 11 Hall of Fame members in the checklist offer good quality in a manageable set size, further enhancing the collecting appeal of the product. Availability, centering problems and the green borders generally cause the most problems for high-grade collectors.


Key Cards

Key 1963 Fleer Baseball Cards

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#5 Willie Mays

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#42 Sandy Koufax

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#56 Roberto Clemente

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#46 Joe Adcock SP

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#43 Maury Wills RC

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#8 Carl Yastrzemski

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Set Checklist

1963 Fleer Baseball Set Checklist



Base Set Checklist

Short prints (SP) are noted below.
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1 Steve Barber - Baltimore Orioles
2 Ron Hansen - Baltimore Orioles
3 Milt Pappas - Baltimore Orioles
4 Brooks Robinson - Baltimore Orioles
5 Willie Mays - San Francisco Giants
6 Lou Clinton - Boston Red Sox
7 Bill Monbouquette - Boston Red Sox
8 Carl Yastrzemski - Boston Red Sox
9 Ray Herbert - Chicago White Sox
10 Jim Landis - Chicago White Sox
11 Dick Donovan - Cleveland Indians
12 Tito Francona - Cleveland Indians
13 Jerry Kindall - Cleveland Indians
14 Frank Lary - Detroit Tigers
15 Dick Howser - Kansas City Athletics
16 Jerry Lumpe - Kansas City Athletics
17 Norm Siebern - Kansas City Athletics
18 Don Lee - Los Angeles Angels
19 Albie Pearson - Los Angeles Angels
20 Bob Rodgers - Los Angeles Angels
21 Leon Wagner - Los Angeles Angels
22 Jim Kaat - Minnesota Twins
23 Vic Power - Minnesota Twins
24 Rich Rollins - Minnesota Twins
25 Bobby Richardson - New York Yankees
26 Ralph Terry - New York Yankees
27 Tom Cheney - Washington Senators
28 Chuck Cottier - Washington Senators
29 Jim Piersall - Washington Senators
30 Dave Stenhouse - Washington Senators
31 Glen Hobbie - Chicago Cubs
32 Ron Santo - Chicago Cubs
33 Gene Freese - Cincinnati Reds
34 Vada Pinson - Cincinnati Reds
35 Bob Purkey - Cincinnati Reds
36 Joe Amalfitano - San Francisco Giants
37 Bob Aspromonte - Houston Colt .45's
38 Dick Farrell - Houston Colt .45's
39 Al Spangler - Houston Colt .45's
40 Tommy Davis - Los Angeles Dodgers
41 Don Drysdale - Los Angeles Dodgers
42 Sandy Koufax - Los Angeles Dodgers
43 Maury Wills - Los Angeles Dodgers RC
44 Frank Bolling - Milwaukee Braves
45 Warren Spahn - Milwaukee Braves
46 Joe Adcock - Cleveland Indians SP
47 Roger Craig - New York Mets
48 Al Jackson - New York Mets
49 Rod Kanehl - New York Mets
50 Ruben Amaro - Philadelphia Phillies
51 Johnny Callison - Philadelphia Phillies
52 Clay Dalrymple - Philadelphia Phillies
53 Don Demeter - Philadelphia Phillies
54 Art Mahaffey - Philadelphia Phillies
55 Smoky Burgess - Pittsburgh Pirates
56 Roberto Clemente - Pittsburgh Pirates
57 Roy Face - Pittsburgh Pirates
58 Vern Law - Pittsburgh Pirates
59 Bill Mazeroski - Pittsburgh Pirates
60 Ken Boyer - St. Louis Cardinals
61 Bob Gibson - St. Louis Cardinals
62 Gene Oliver - St. Louis Cardinals
63 Bill White - St. Louis Cardinals
64 Orlando Cepeda - San Francisco Giants
65 Jim Davenport - San Francisco Giants
66 Billy O'Dell - San Francisco Giants
Checklist SP


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User Reviews

Too bad Fleer wasn’t able to beat Topps in court. Aside from the Maury Wills card being his only 1962 card, the same goes for the Senators’ Tom Cheney, who had just set the single-game MLB strikeout record — 21 — in September 1962. He does not have a ’63 Topps card. I believe he is the only one other than Wills not in the Topps set.

Roger Ponds
Roger Ponds

This is an update of my original comments made in March 2020 about the 1963 Fleer set. I was able to find on eBay this past summer (of 2022) the 1963 Fleer cards of Bob Gibson as well as the hard-to-find checklist card, unmarked and ungraded too. I also added the 1963 Fleer card of Bobby Richardson, a card I thought I had, through eBay this summer. That means I now have the complete set of the 1963 Fleer set (of 67 cards). It took me more than 30 years to put together a complete set of ’63 Fleer.

Roger Ponds
Roger Ponds

The 1963 Fleer baseball card set is an attractive set, although not quite as attractive as the 1963 Topps set. It is a rather difficult set to complete, with 2 cards tough to find: Joe Adcock (#46) and the checklist card (especially hard to find unmarked). Fortunately, I am missing just a couple of cards from this Fleer set: the checklist card and Bob Gibson.

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