Card of the Day: 1985 Fleer Lee Mazzilli

March 25th is a light day for Pittsburgh Pirates birthdays. Just two former players have been born on this date. One is Jimmy Sebring, who is known for being the first player to hit a World Series homer. As an added bonus, it came against the immortal Cy Young. The other player born on this date is Lee Mazzilli, who played for the 1983-86 Pirates.

Sebring didn’t play in an era when they were making many baseball cards, so his options for being included here are almost non-existent. In fact, we used him here already one year ago today for his card in the 2003 Fleer Classic set. Mazzilli played for the Pirates during a time when big league regulars were appearing in at least three sets each year. So he has plenty of options for this article. That being said, he’s only appeared in this series once before, which was for his 1986 Topps card. That came way back in August of 2020.

Since it’s been a while for Mazzilli, I decided to use a set that hasn’t been covered in a long time too. It’s been quite a long time since the 1985 Fleer set has been featured here. The last time was John Tudor, which was back in December of 2020. The two worlds collide with today’s Card of the Day, as Lee Mazzilli and the 1985 Fleer set both make their first appearances since 2020.

Here’s the front of the card:

The 1985 Fleer set has gray borders for all of the cards. The gold you see here between the gray and the photo is specific for the Pirates. While I’m middle ground on the look of this set, they really checked a lot of boxes, so I’m surprised I don’t like it more. Matching up colors to the team is always a win for me. I really like the gray border for the 1970 Topps set, so it’s not the border color. I am always a fan of including the team logos on the front, especially the Pirates logo from that era.

Mazzilli’s uniform also checks the boxes here, wearing pullover (I think) from that era with the black and gold, mixed with that great logo. I never wore any Pirates stuff where gold was the main color, but I do love seeing these random uniforms/jackets/pullovers from this era. You can never go wrong with the black and gold pillbox cap. That’s something the Pirates could wear every game and I’d notice it every game too. The added detail I like here is the gold stripes on the black section of the bat, like it’s a nod to the pillbox cap.

Here’s the back of the card:

Fleer had a run of years during this time where they added an extra black & white photo of the player on the back. This second photo is almost exactly the same as the one on front with Mazzilli here. They were probably taken seconds apart. That happened with a number of these cards, particularly when the front photo wasn’t a game action shot. Fleer would just phone in the second photo, occasionally using the same one on both sides.

Fleer had a back idea that they ran with for most of the 80s and into the 90s, starting with their 1983 set. The back stats were set up like you see above, then they added racing stripes (shown as pink here) so you could read the stats faster. The “Did you know?” section was eventually replaced by some advanced stats. You gotta love that fact there. You don’t say, he hit a pinch-hit home run in his second plate appearance during his MLB debut? That’s quite an impressive feat! Some might say it’s even impossible, since if you somehow get to bat twice in the same inning as a pinch-hitter (it occasionally happens), you’re technically not pinch-hitting the second time. In reality, the homer came in his second game. His first game saw him come in as a defensive replacement for three innings, which allowed him to bat once.

If you’re interested in this Mazzilli card, you’ll be happy to know that all rules and regulations that pertain to common cards on Ebay apply here. Don’t pay more than $2 delivered for it, you have plenty of options around that price. There are two cards of note here. One is a graded one that rates as a PSA 9. The asking price there is $21. Not many people are getting 1985 Fleer cards graded yet, but maybe they will at some point in the future. The other one is an autographed example. It’s not authenticated, so check it against other known examples before purchasing. The price is $35, which seems high to me, but that’s for you to decide. I will say that Mazzilli has a really nice autograph.