Bill Ripken hints Fleer was up to no good!

It’s been almost twenty years since the infamous 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken “error” card hit the market. Finally, the most famous baseball brother this side of Ozzie Canseco has commented on the card and has thrown a large accusation towards Fleer (LINK), now owned by Upper Deck and no longer producing baseball cards.

“I mean, they certainly have to have enough proofreaders to see it. I think not only did they see it, they enhanced it. That writing on that bat is way too clear. I don’t write that neat.”

So is Fleer responsible for one of the first and greatest “gimmick” cards of all-time?  We will likely discover who shot J.F.K before we learn the inner workings of a card company so don’t hold your breath. Now, the card once valued at hundreds of dollars can be had for very little so if you’ve ever dreamed of owning one rush out to eBay and make a bid or two.

This 1989 Fleer lacks a piece of a game-used relic, certified autograph or any other one of today’s popular vices but still ruled the Hobby for years, along other 80’s icons like the ’86 Donruss Jose Canseco and the ’89 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.

As a card blogger, I am ashamed not to own a copy.



  1. I think I have every version of this card: with the words, with the white block, the black block, the scratched out version… am I missing one?

    How can Bill blame this on Fleer? He held the bat, he seems to have admitted to writing on it by talking about proof readers, and his handwriting not being that good.

    Donovan from commented on my blog last year about this card. Hopefully he stops by here too. He has a great site dedicated to the card.

  2. I remember about 6 months after the F-face card came out there was a case on The People’s Court (the old Judge Wapner, Rusty the Baliff and Doug the court reporter) about this card. I think the kid got ripped off by another kid or dealer and wanted the net worth (something like $100 back in 1990).

  3. Very cool. I remember when that card was way in demand and the prices were crazy. Now I think you can get any of them for about the cost of postage.

  4. That card takes me back to when I was a kid collecting cards.
    That card was a BIG deal in 1989.
    People were buying boxes of Fleer in hopes for the “F Face” card right and left.
    I think the card was going for around $30 and boxes were going for about the same.
    Think about that.
    Now, a box of Bowman Draft and Prospects goes for $70 and there’s little or no chance of getting a card worth $70 in that box. You get one auto of some minor league player, a few numbered variations, some chrome and some base.
    Times have changed.

  5. There are a few different ones, JRJ. But honestly, this guy is the king when it comes to the Bill Ripken Fleer error

    I don;lt know about fleer being in on it. At the time, the term “fuck” was still one of the ugly words rarely said on television — even in paid movies — so to have it on an innocent baseball card would have been nuts. I will say that there were a bunch of errors in 1989 fleer, wrong backs, wrong color team bands, “targets” printed on certain cards, etc. Being that it was Bill Ripken, a player who was overlooked for sure, it’s entirely possible that the words were overlooked.

  6. One of the coolest things I think I’ve seen recently on Ebay was Ripken’s “FF” card–but as part of an uncut printer’s sheet of ’89 Fleer. I think it sold for somewhere between $1-300. Certainly not cheap, but what an amazing piece of memorabilia!

  7. Now take this card and imagine UD getting the bat and making a game used version, or even a 1/1 with the bat knob. This card for the 20yrs always stood as the most read about, talked about error, but gets no love. This Ripken card will always be special in my hobby heart, being in grade school and a 50 yr old teacher asking if you got the billy yet, takes me back.

  8. It seems hard to believe by the perfectly upright postioning of Rick Face (remember that’s what it was refered to as in the Beckett listing) that Billy didn’t know. it’s positioned perfectly for the picture. Don’t feel bad Mario, I am a collector since the 80’s and I have only the corrected version.

  9. Hello all. Glad you guys like the site.

    Jl- I hope if the bat is found they dont cut it up, unless I get the knob 😉

    Newspaperman- Thanks !! Hopefully someday I’ll meet someone with more info as I have many questions.

    JRJ- Having the White Block (Box) is a great start. Rare card. There’s numerous versions(multiple Black Scribbles, Black Box etc) . Some of them on the website.
    Some have been discovered to be printing flaws…The “DDie” is not actually a Double Die I recently learned but rather the Black Ink registration is off. The “Dot” is a printing flaw and the saw cuts could be considered versions or printers waste. They cut many versions, not just the FF.

    MetsManiacinNH- A kid sold a card to a dealer and got took. The kid won as he was a minor.

    This and more articles on

    Anyone with any questions or whatever, drop me an email

    Happy Hunting

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