Card of the Day: 1984 Fleer Larry McWilliams

Today’s Card of the Day is loosely related to today’s history article. There were two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on January 27th and neither had a card printed while they were with the team. There were two transactions of note, both player signings. Elmer Dessens didn’t have any Pirates cards, which I was surprised to learn. The other was Pascual Perez, who has been featured here twice already. I thought about using him today, but he only has one card left. So instead, I went with the man who was acquired in a trade for Perez, Larry McWilliams.

McWilliams has only been here once before for his 1984 Donruss card, which has a great action shot. His card today from the 1984 Fleer set doesn’t have a great action shot, but it might be even better. It’s not something you see every day on a baseball card, that’s for sure. Let’s get right to the scan of card #256 from the 1984 Fleer set, featuring left-handed pitcher Larry McWilliams.

Here’s the front of the card:

That is McWilliams in 1983, holding a 1981 Fleer card of himself, while he was still on the Atlanta Braves. One of the first scans of this card I found was an autographed copy, which immediately made me think, how great would it be to get him to sign this card regularly, then give him a tiny pen and ask him to sign the card he is holding in the photo? Then I looked closer and I believe that the actual card in that photo is already signed.

Here’s some advice for autograph collectors. Don’t use a blue pen if the front of the card is covered in the same color. There are about 6-8 autographed 1981 Fleer McWilliams cards where he signed in blue sharpie over his blue uniform. His name is long, where else is he going to sign? You can barely see most of the autograph on those cards.

What I like about this is that it shows how much better the Pirates uniforms of the era look than other teams. I also like the addition of the team logo in the bottom right. Without the logo, the 1984 Fleer set would have a rather plain design.

Here’s the back of the card:

Fleer tried some things with their back design during their first three years, then settled on something similar to this in 1983. I often talk about Donruss using the same backs over and over during this era, but Fleer switched up colors better, had a second photo for a time, and they didn’t stop at a maximum of five years of stats. They also added racing stripes so you can read the stats faster.

If you ever saw McWilliams pitch, you would probably think the same thing I’m thinking when I saw the “Did you know?” fact. The great Johnny Sain probably didn’t want to be connected to teaching him his windup. It obviously worked for McWilliams, but it’s one of the ugliest looking windups you will see. Even if you can’t find video of it, just scroll through scans of his cards for proof.

There is only one card of note from McWilliams, and it’s the autograph version I mentioned above. They want $20 delivered for that one. The 1984 Fleer set wasn’t produced in high numbers and it used to be more popular back when the Don Mattingly rookies were the hottest card on the market. However, common cards for the set are no different from commons from the massively overproduced sets from the cards put out 3-8 years later. It’s a lot easier to find a 1988 Fleer common card, but there are so many out there from those sets, that commons are worth very little. Of course, if you want one, you have to pay for shipping and cover listing fees from the seller, so you should pay no more than $2 delivered to get one.