Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Box Break and Review: 2006 Fleer Tradition

One Box of 2006 Fleer Tradition baseball (paid $55)
36 packs per box, ten cards per pack ($1.49/pack)

The Details

Base Set: 200 cards (no short-prints)


  • Sepia: 200 cards

  • Black & White: 200 cards

  • Press Plates: 200 cards (four for each card)


  • Blue Chip Prospects: 25 cards

  • Grass Roots: 25 cards

  • Triple Crown Contenders: 15 cards

  • Diamond Tribute: 25 cards

  • Goudey Greats: 100 cards

  • 1934 Goudey Buybacks

* Odds of finding an insert or parallel (according to fleer.com): one-per-pack.


  • Traditional Threads: 42 cards

  • Signature Tradition: 16 cards

  • 1989 Fleer Ken Griffey, Jr. Autographed Buyback: one card

# Odds of finding an autogamer(according to fleer.com): "better than one-per-box."

The Pulls.

Base Set: One complete 200-card base set
122 doubles


  • 12 Sepias: T. Hudson, Halladay, Pujols, J. Aclardo, C.C. Sabathia, A. Beltre, D. Wright, J. Peavy, R. Howard, K. Millwood and C. Barmes

  • 4 Black & Whites: A. Rios, J. Schmidt, E. Bedard and A-Rod


  • 6 Blue Chip Prospects: Zimmerman, H. Ramirez, A. Wainwright, J. Johnson, K. Morales and C. Billingsley

  • 5 Grassroots: V. Martinez, M. Cabrera, J. Kent, C. Beltran and C. Carpenter

  • 3 Triple Crown Contenders: A-Rod, T. Helton and T. Hafner

  • 6 Diamond Tributes: Griffey, Thome, T. Hafner, R. Oswalt, R. Harden & B. Abreu

  • 1 Goudey Great: K. Johjima


  • 1 Traditional Threads: M. Young

The Review

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2006 National League MVP: Ryan Howard!Earlier this year, Upper Deck announced that they would release four baseball products under the Fleer name this season (Fleer, Ultra, Greats of the Game, and Flair Showcase). After breaking one box of Fleer Tradition, the fifth Fleer Set of 2006, UD probably should have stuck with four.

The 200-card base set feels a bit like an "Update" set. 26% of the base set (52 cards) are of MLBPA approved "ROOKIE CARDS" -- by far, the largest proportion of RCs in a product this year. (Of course, the vast majority of these are parenth-RCs.) Then again, with regular player cards of all the top stars (most of whom did not change teams) you can't really call it a true "Update" set?

No, '81 Topps did not come with UV coating.So what are we to make of 2006 Fleer Tradition? Well, like the Fleer Trad sets of the past few years, the design gives the appearance of an old-fashioned Topps set, in this case 1981 -- although I don't remember Topps UV coating their cards back in '81. When The Hobby is starting to recycle the designs of cards issued a mere 25 years ago for a retro themed set -- especially a lousy one like '81 Topps -- this proves that the "retro" fad has officially jumped the shark.

Not that you would know it by looking on the back of the wrapper, but each pack contains either a parallel or an insert. As usual, UD conveniently forgot to include the insertion ratios and checklist cards. By now, you should know the routine: go to their website, download and print.

Why yes, you have seen this before.  FOUR YEARS AGO!Standing out like the proverbial sore thumb from the rest of the inserts are the 100-card Goudey Greats. Done in the style and size of the 1934 Goudeys -- like we haven't seen that before (See: 1997 Fleer Goudey Greats inserts and 2002 Fleer Tradition base set) -- it appears that these undersized cards are inserted at the rate of one-per-box. Again, this is only a guess since the insertion ratios are unknown. Considering just how big a waxbox is (360 cards-per-box); how puny the size of the base set is (200 cards); and how relatively easy the other non-parallel inserts are to pull, the Goudeys seem out of place.

And yes, there are the standard one-per-box autogamers. According to Fleer's website, the 42-card "Traditional Threads" game used cards "(portray) what memorabilia cards would have looked like in the 1950s." They look nothing of the sort. Nice try though.

The Bottom Line:

For a set that really has no reason to exist, '06 Trad is about what you would expect. Now I don't know about you, but if I were in charge of UD, and management ordered me to produce a fifth Fleer product, I might consider issuing an "Update" set -- especially considering just how late in the season it is. Either an update of Fleer or Ultra, or even a multi-brand bundled update set would have made a lot more sense than this.

The box yielded a full 200 card base set and a stack of over 120 doubles. Each pack contained the promised insert, with a Goudey Great of Kenji Johjima and a gamer of Michael Young. Yawn.

Product Rating: 1.5 Gumsticks (out of five)

Do I recommend this product?

Only if you're a Fleer Tradition set completist. Otherwise, save your money and skip it. If you absolutely have to build a Fleer Tradition base set the old fashioned way, buy loose packs. Better yet, spilt up a box with a friend and play pack poker with it.


Anonymous said...

Wow, some of those cards look like those 50 some card boxed subsets I remember from the 80s that would be sold at drugstores.

Anonymous said...

These cards are really bad. I picked up two packs at Walmart while checking out and was so, so glad I didn't buy a box.

I liked Fleer Tradition too. Oh well.