There were two things that I didn’t do in this series in 2022. I didn’t write about any 1982 Fleer cards, and I didn’t post any articles about Omar Moreno. I covered each a few times during 2020/2021, but it’s been quite a while for both. The last 1982 Fleer card was Dale Berra, which was posted on September 25, 2021. The last Moreno article was published on October 24, 2021, celebrating the birthday of the lead-off hitter for the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates World Series champs. That article subject was his 1977 Topps rookie.
Today is the 54th anniversary of the Pirates signing Moreno as a 16-year-old amateur out of Panama. I wanted to look at a set that hasn’t been here for some time. So I nixed the usual method of scrolling Ebay until something caught my eye, and just checked past articles to see what I could use. I’m a fan of the 1982 Fleer set, despite the fact that the picture quality in the set is awful. Moreno’s photo shows some of the flaws from that year, both with the photo quality and the factory printing quality. Here’s a look at card #487 from that set.
Here’s the front of the card:
I guess it’s the fact that the 1982 Fleer set uses team colors in the design. You can see the Pirates colors around the photo, and the printing for his name/team/position. All of the teams had their own colors, such as blue border/white writing for the Dodgers. Then there was the California Angels, who got the same color combo as the Pirates for some reason. They had more dark blue in their uniforms than anything else, though red was a big color as well, especially with the home whites. Anyway, the Angels probably were just jealous of the Pirates colors, so that decision by Fleer made them feel better I’m sure.
As I mentioned, photo quality wasn’t great, but Fleer also printed a lot of cards that were semi-blurry or very blurry in some cases. This is not the best look for Moreno here. Anyone who knows the Pirates jerseys from that time can tell that the gold they wore was bolder than it looks here. It should look more like the color that Fleer used for the border. That being said, it’s still a great uniform, capped off (pun intended) by the pillbox hat. It seems highly likely that this photo was taken during Spring Training in 1981.
Here’s the back of the card:
The backs of the cards were really a one-year look, though it has similarities to the 1981 Fleer backs. They really changed things up with the design in 1983, going away from the horizontal layout for the stats. This back includes his entire pro career stats up to that point. They included the Pirates logo on the back, but you can see another case of the printing quality here. That’s a really rough look of a great logo, plus the two circles on the back look like they were drawn free-hand.
One thing I always found interesting here is Fleer referring to batting average two different ways here. I have no idea why they thought they should embiggen a stat that’s already on the card, but they did that under his name up top. They call it an M.L. average, which could just as easily stood for minor league if you didn’t know any better. However, in that stat columns, they used “pct.” instead of “avg.”, which is obviously an odd decision, even for back then. If someone asked you what his batting percentage was, you would have some questions.
If you’re interested in this card, Ebay has plenty around $2 delivered. There are some other options, including four autographed cards between $14 and $20 delivered. Moreno doesn’t have the greatest autograph, but it’s better than 99.7% of current players, which isn’t saying much really. There’s one other option of note. Someone has this card graded 9.5 by SGC, which also comes with an SGC 10 of Jesse Jefferson, who briefly pitched for the Pirates, though he’s with the Angels on the card. That seller wants $45 for the pair. I’d guess that there aren’t a lot of graded 1982 Fleer Omar Moreno cards out there.