Wednesday, November 19, 2014

1981 Fleer Rookies: Babitt, Havens, Witt, Gedman

19 players received Rookie of the Year votes in 1981. Only one player made it into the Fleer set, Fernando Valenzuela. This could have been remedied by the addition of multi-player rookie cards. Topps had 9 of the 19, all of whom appeared on multi-player "Future Stars" cards in the regular set. (Topps was also the only manufacturer to have a traded set in 1981, but that is a conversation for another day.)

Here is a multi-player rookie card that would have fit right into the 1981 Fleer set. Coincidentally, it includes the 4 remaining Rookie of the Year candidates not included in any 1981 set or my last 2 posts.

Shooty Babitt was a one season wonder. He began his MLB career hitting safely in each of his first 7 games. He ended his only MLB season with a .254 batting average. Although his playing career was short, he still remained on the scene. He was a scout for years with the Mets and the A's. This past season he was a color commentator on Comcast Sportsnet California.

Brad Havens was one of 3 Minnesota Twins to receive ROY votes in the strike-shortened 1981 season. The other 2 were outfielders, Gary Ward and Dave Engle. They appeared on the same "Future Stars" card in the 1981 Topps set. Havens was 3-6 in 12 starts for the last place Twins in 1981. He played for 5 different teams over his 8 season MLB career garnering a 24-37 record. 

Mike Witt led the league in hit batsmen in 1981 and posted a record of 8-9 for the Angels who finished 5th in the AL West. Witt would go on to have a solid career with the Angels. He was their opening day pitcher from 1985-1989 and was named to the All Star team in 1986 and 1987.

Rich Gedman was named Sporting News Rookie of the Year in 1981. The Sporting News named separate ROYs for pitchers and position players from 1963-2003. He was Carlton Fisk's replacement in Boston after Fisk signed with the White Sox. Gedman spent 11 seasons as the Boston backstop.


  1. I really, really liked the 1981 Rated Rookies you posted a few days ago, but I think this might even top that. Very good job incorporating the baseball into the concept. Keep it up!

  2. Yes, extremely kool design.

    Shooty Babitt. I do remember that wacky name.

  3. The two 1981 rookie designs are better than anything either Donruss or Fleer did back then. Well done.

  4. This is a great card - but if Fleer card really had made that card in 1981 those pictures would be totally out-of-focus!