(Somewhere in America, 2nd week of January 1989) Hmm? Does this say what I think it does? (Kid calls his Mom into his room to confirm) Yes it does, and now Mom has the card . The error card we now all know about. 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken F*ck Face.
I was 15 in 1989, so my $2 a week allowance didn’t afford me many pack purchases much less this at the time $100+ card. If my memory serves me right, I bought 2 1989 Fleer packs back then. They only cost me $5 each and I was left holding a stack of commons. This wasn’t my only stack of commons. I collected from late 1986 to 1990 so basically my collection from back then is now considered a huge stack of commons.
I started back up in 1999 with no real direction. I tried collecting game used cards, autographs, vintage wax packs, tobacco cards, hot prospects etc. None of these “filled” my collecting appetite though. That is, until late 2003. That is when I was surfing Ebay and I stumbled upon a card that I forgot about. The 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken # 616. Being somewhat obsessive I had to have all the variations.
Fast forward to today – over a dozen different variations of the card, a website www.billripken.com and a wealth of knowledge. The website is a combined effort of 3 guys who have never met in person. We are each looking for a “master” set of these errors. We are close and each day we awake, hoping that today is the day.
Our website is the 1st one dedicated to this infamous card. While looking for the different errors I couldn’t find a source for info on this card. You would think with every Joe Blow having a website that it would have been done already. But it wasn’t so we are the 1st …. and only. Our site contains pictures of some of the versions and some of the articles published on this card. We own more but they are currently on hold until we can each secure a version and confirm our info.
Beckett says there’s 6 versions. Part of the reason Beckett lists only 6 is because some are easily replicated. That holds true for some but what about the others? I personally think Beckett didn’t want to mess with 3 Black Scribble variations 3 Black Box variations. Imagine what the graded label would say. Black Scribble Lite Loop or Black Box Round Edge jagged line. I think it would get a bit long and plus it would screw up the population reports they have. Plus the interest in the small variations is not important to the many collectors most of them are hunting down the new shiny Bowman Chrome parallels or the chunk of Mantles jersey.
Who wrote on Bills bat? We may never know. Bills has been drilled and drilled and holds to the story that his teammates wrote it. While I and many find that untrue we will not know anytime soon. Though Fleer is gone, Bill is still active in Baseball…coaching children, so him admitting to this prank seems highly unlikely.
Where’s the bat? That my friend, I want to know too.
Why so many corrections? Many think it is because Fleer wanted to “hype” the product and create a “hunt” for collectors while errors were gaining popularity. I used to think that but recently learned that Fleer outsourced printing and most likely had a few printers at each locating thus causing each plate to be altered different. In the end they opted for the Black Box as their final solution.
At our site you can also find pictures of other “adult” errors. Like the 1990 Pacific Senior Jim Nettles that someone wrote A** Hole on the bat knob. Or how about the 1977 C3PO from Star Wars with his “extra weapon”?
So there’s my little bit on the FF. I could go on forever but I didn’t want to repeat info that has been said before or that can be found on our website. Well…I think I found my niche. No more switching focus now. I’m the FF guy. Even when all the versions are found there’s still more to know. (Knock, Knock) “Hello, Bill? Where’s the bat? “
Like I previously mentioned out website has limited info but we update it as deemed necessary, so check back every few months. Have info? Need info? Contact us. We love to talk about this card. firstname.lastname@example.org
Few FF facts
The B/W test card is a fake. Not made by Fleer but a scammer looking to cash in on the popularity of the FF card. Site has 2 articles on it and a picture of a sheet the scammer made.
Factory sets most likely contain the corrected Black Box error card. They were Printed/packaged at the end of the run when the Black Box was the final version printed. There could be a slim chance a different version “slipped” in but……
The FF version is NOT rare. I know 200 ebay sellers tell you it is but sadly its not. Beckett estimated in 1989 around 80,000-100,000 FF cards were printed. Many think it is rare as it was found the second week of January so many assume it was printed for only 2 weeks. Fleer started printing in later 1988.
The Whiteout card is easily made. Be cautious when buying this one. There is a few tricks to knowing if its real and divulging that info here would just make it easier for the scammers to go around it. Contact us if you have one in question.
The cards were cut not to remove the offending word but to mark the card so it could be easily identified so the graders could remove it after the sheets were cut. Apparently Fleer had many sheets printed when the error was discovered as these are easy to come by. I know many were backdoored and others “slipped” into packs. Fleer later cut other versions as well. I assume this was done when the Black Box version was made to remove all the other versions and just put one version in packout. The cut cards can easily be made so they hold little value.