15 Most Valuable 1985 Fleer Baseball Cards
At first, their grey borders might give the impression that 1985 Fleer baseball cards are bland and boring.
But don't be fooled, this set packs enough quirks and character to keep it high on many collectors' radars...
For starters, the rookie card class is among the strongest of the decade, even if some never achieved their anticipated Hall of Fame highs.
On top of that, Fleer's team-by-team ordering method based on where they finished in the 1984 MLB standings and then sequencing players alphabetically (hence, why Doug Bair of the Tigers is card #1) made collating a breeze.
And the team-themed color coding of the nameplate and inner borders significantly boosts their overall aesthetic appearance.
If all that wasn't enough to pique your interest, there were believed to be fewer print runs of this set compared to its Topps and Donruss rivals, keeping their values in high grades at respectable levels.
And in this guide, we'll take a look at the 15 most valuable.
Let's jump right in!
Let's be clear: most of the cards from this set do not have any value these days.
So, for the cards on this list to be worth much, they'll have to be graded by PSA to be in perfect, gem mint condition.
That means the card needs to be flawless.
Now that we got that out of the way, let's take a look at the list:
1985 Fleer #155 Roger Clemens Rookie Card
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $900
Overall, Roger Clemens' 1985 season was a mixed bag of highs and lows, but it was an important stepping stone for his future success in the Majors.
After being sidelined for a month due to a strained tendon in his right forearm, Clemens battled several injuries throughout the season.
Eventually, he'd miss a start in July due to a sharp pain in his throwing shoulder and soon landed on the 15-day disabled list.
After his return, he pitched with reduced effectiveness and looked bothered until a piece of cartilage was removed from his shoulder in a short operation.
Despite the constant nagging of the injury bug, the Rocket managed to pitch in 15 games and finished with a record of 7-5 and an ERA of 3.29.
He also reduced his hits-per-nine by nearly 25% and surrendered home runs at nearly half his previous pace.
Given the circumstances, the 1985 season was promising yet emotionally draining for Clemens.
A fierce competitor, Clemens would not be deterred and would bounce break out in a big way in 1986.
And we all know how that went, as Clemens captured both the Cy Young and MVP after turning in one of the greatest pitching seasons in MLB history.
1985 Fleer #533 Eric Davis Rookie Card
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $600
After spending the 1984 season between the Triple-A Wichita Aeros and Cincinnati Reds, Eric Davis set his sights on taking things to the next level in 1985.
And plenty of hype surrounded the one-of-a-kind athlete leading up to Opening Day.
Even Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose proclaimed that Davis had a shot at being the best player on the team if he could harness that incredible talent.
Unfortunately, Davis didn't quite live up to those extraordinary expectations.
After hitting under .200 during the first two months of the season, the Reds demoted Davis to their new Triple-A affiliate, the Denver Zephyrs, in early June.
But rather than get down on himself, Davis used that time to regroup, and by September, he had clawed his way back to the Cincinnati lineup.
From that point on, he finished the year on a tear.
In 32 at-bats in September and October, Davis slashed .406/.472/.781 with three home runs, 7 RBIs, and six stolen bases.
The following season, Davis would finish twelfth in the MVP vote on his way to becoming a perennial candidate for 30 home runs and 100 RBIs while maintaining his electric speed on the base paths.
1985 Fleer #286 Kirby Puckett Rookie Card
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $450
Coming off a third-place finish in the 1984 AL Rookie of the Year race, Kirby Puckett didn't disappoint in his sophomore season for the Minnesota Twins.
True, the power at the plate he'd eventually add to his arsenal wasn't quite there, as he slugged just .385 with four home runs.
But, he did show he was a force to be reckoned with on offense, turning in an MLB-best 691 at-bats and finishing just short of his first 200-hit campaign (199).
At 25 years old, Puckett was already demonstrating his ability to work the entire field, seemingly finding the gaps with relative ease.
By season's end, Puckett turned in a slash line of .288/.330/.385 with four home runs, 29 doubles, 13 triples, 21 stolen bases, 80 runs scored, and 74 RBIs.
As a nod to the youngster's production and potential, Puckett received enough down-ballot MVP votes to finish 21st in the AL race.
At 77-85, the Twins weren't the most impressive club in the league, but with Puckett showing plenty of promise, their future was looking bright.
1985 Fleer #425 Rickey Henderson
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $450
When the Yankees traded for Rickey Henderson before the 1985 MLB season, the speedy leadoff legend was delighted to be reunited with his former A's manager, Billy Martin.
After all, it was Martin who first turned Henderson loose on the basepaths.
Martin's affection for the running game paved the way for the youngster to lead the Majors in stolen bases in 1980 (100) and 1982 (130) and the AL in 1981 (56).
Though Martin had left Oakland after the 1982 season, Henderson kept running, again leading the Majors in stolen bases in 1983 (108) and the AL in 1984 (66).
Henderson's stolen base totals during that five-year stretch in Oakland were so incredible that he outpaced the entire New York Yankees rosters each season.
So, it was clear that the Yankees front office was banking on Henderson to boost their running game when they brought him to the Bronx.
The move worked wonderfully, as Henderson slashed .314/.419/.516 in 1985 with an MLB-best 146 runs scored, 28 doubles, five triples, 24 home runs, and 72 RBIs.
And, not surprisingly, he again led the AL in stolen bases for the sixth straight year with 80.
New York missed the playoffs, but Henderson's debut was a success, earning him third-place honors in the MVP race and a fifth All-Star appearance.
1985 Fleer #133 Don Mattingly
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $300
Not only were the Yankees front office and Billy Martin happy to have Rickey Henderson in the lead-off spot in 1985, but the big bats in the lineup were licking their chops, too.
The New York roster featured plenty of hitting power behind Henderson in 1985, namely Dave Winfield, Don Baylor, and a young and budding superstar in Don Mattingly.
As the season wore on, the simple recipe of putting Henderson in front of those legendary bats worked wonders.
With Henderson getting on base nearly 42% of the time and moving himself into scoring position, Mattingly frequently found himself with RBI opportunities all season.
And Mattingly didn't let them go to waste.
Instead, he ripped off one of history's most impressive hitting displays, posting a .324/.371/.567 slash line with 211 hits, 35 home runs, and 107 while leading the Majors in doubles (48) and RBIs (145.)
Not since Ted Williams drove in 159 runs in 1949 had any left-handed hitter racked up more RBIs in a single season.
Mattingly was an easy choice for his first and only MVP selection while the future looked incredibly bright for Donnie Baseball.
1985 Fleer #82 Dwight Gooden Rookie Card
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $285
Whenever baseball fans and historians discuss which pitcher had the greatest rookie season of all time, Dwight Gooden's name is always near the top of the list.
During his MLB debut in 1984, Gooden went 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA while leading the Majors in strikeouts (276), WHIP (1.073), and strikeouts per nine innings (11.4).
He was an easy choice for NL Rookie of the Year and narrowly missed out on the NL Cy Young thanks to a blazing finish by Chicago's Rick Sutcliffe down the stretch.
Gooden was just what the Mets needed to become a contender again.
But many wondered how he'd fare in 1985.
Would there be a sophomore slump for the young phenom?
Though he got off to a rocky start on Opening Day, in a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals, he quickly put any doubts to rest.
Riding his explosive fastball and sharp curveball, he'd finish the season leading the Majors in wins (24), ERA (1.53) and strikeouts (268).
It was the first and only time a New York Met had taken home the pitching Triple Crown.
Gooden was a no-brainer for the NL Cy Young and finished fourth in the MVP voting.
While many had feared a sophomore slump after such an incredible rookie debut, Dwight Gooden delivered quite the opposite.
1985 Fleer #371 Orel Hershiser Rookie Card
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $275
For his follow-up of a fantastic rookie season (which included a stretch of 34.1 scoreless innings pitched), Orel Hershiser strapped his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates to his back and carried them to an NL West title.
Over 239.2 innings, Hershiser gave up only 179 hits, which helped lead to an impressive 2.03 ERA and a minuscule 1.031 WHIP.
Though he led the Majors with a career-best .864 winning percentage, Hershiser fell just shy of his first 20-win season with a 19-3 record.
Simply put, he was a nightmare for opposing hitters.
At 95-67, the Los Angeles Dodgers finished 5.5 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds for first in the NL West, making it their second division title in three years.
In Game 2 of the NLCS, Hershiser tossed a complete-game two-run gem to push the Dodgers to a 2-0 series lead over the St. Louis Cardinals.
But then, the wheels fell off for Hershiser and crew.
St. Louis caught fire over the next four games to finish off the Dodgers in six, ripping off four earned runs against Hershiser over 6.1 innings in the deciding game.
The season ended in disappointment for the Dodgers, but Hershiser finished third in the NL Cy Young race and looked ahead to a brighter future.
1985 Fleer #34 Tony Gwynn
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $250
Coming off a 1984 season that saw the franchise make its first-ever World Series appearance, the San Diego Padres and their fans had high hopes heading into the 1985 season.
And many of those hopes were riding on the shoulders of Padres legend Tony Gwynn, who had won his first of eight batting titles in 1984 while finishing third in the MVP race.
However, despite a solid season from Gwynn, neither he nor the Padres could get back on track to where they were the year before.
With a .317/.364/.408 slash line to go along with 29 doubles, five triples, six home runs, 14 stolen bases, 90 runs scored, and 46 RBIs, Gwynn still had a fine season.
But, even though most players would love to hit .317 and finish fourth in the NL batting race as Gwynn did, it was well off his .338 career average.
Meanwhile, the Padres couldn't seem to find their stride from their title run a year earlier.
Despite being near the top of the leaderboard in the NL West during the first half, the wheels came off after the All-Star break, as Sand Diego finished at 83-79 and 12 games behind the Dodgers.
1985 Fleer #359 Nolan Ryan
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $250
During the 1970s, Hall of Fame fireballer Nolan Ryan turned in five All-Star seasons for the California Angels.
And when he began the 1980 season with his new team in Houston, many expected him to continue his All-Star ways for years to come.
Surprisingly, though, Ryan made the All-Star roster only twice during his nine-year stint in Houston, once in 1981 and then again in 1985.
Yet, on paper, you might wonder how he ended up an All-Star at all in 1985.
The three seasons prior (1982-84), in which he failed to make the All-Star Game, were much better across the board.
It came down to a tale of two halves in 1985.
Ryan looked okay throughout the first half of the season, pitching to a .355 ERA, 1.197 WHIP, and an 8-6 record over 20 starts.
It certainly wasn't his best first half, but he may have gotten a boost to an All-Star nod when he notched his 4,000th career strikeout on July 11th against his original team, the New York Mets.
However, during the second half, Ryan's ERA and WHIP ballooned to 4.20 and 1.444, respectively, as he went 2-6 in 15 starts.
The Astros barely scraped their way above .500 in 1985, and Ryan finished with a losing record at 10-12.
1985 Fleer #187 Cal Ripken Jr.
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $175
Outside of Cal Ripken Jr.'s otherworldly talents on the field, Baltimore Orioles fans didn't have much to write home about during the 1985 season.
And it didn't help that trouble was brewing among leadership.
When franchise legend Earl Weaver retired as manager after the 1982 season, the Orioles brought in Joe Altobelli to replace him.
And in his first season, Altobelli led the Orioles to a World Series title in 1983.
Because of that, you'd think Altobelli would have won some favor with Orioles ownership.
But, after starting the '85 season at 18-9, the Orioles fell into an 11-17 rut, and Altobelli quickly fell out of favor.
The team decided to fire him, turning again to Weaver, who had agreed to come out of retirement.
Interestingly, Cal Ripken Sr. finally got his chance to manage the club for one game the following day.
With Weaver soon back at the helm, the Orioles went 53-52 from that point to finish just over .500 and fourth in the AL East.
Ripken was a steady fixture for the team and fans through all the turmoil, posting a .282/.347/.469 slash line with 26 home runs, 32 doubles, five triples, 116 runs scored, and 110 RBIs.
Now a three-time All-Star and Silver Slugger, Ripken ended the year 17th in the league's MVP balloting.
1985 Fleer #550 Pete Rose
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $175
The 1985 season was hectic yet historic for legendary hits king Pete Rose.
For perspective, Rose was then 44 years old and battling the aches and pains of playing hard-nosed baseball for over twenty years.
He was also hot in pursuit of Ty Cobb's all-time hits record and enduring the pressure of such a monumental task.
And if all that wasn't enough, Rose was also the team's manager, tasked with leading the everyday operations of a solid ballclub with a legitimate chance at an NL West pennant and more.
And yet, he was able to balance it all quite admirably.
The Reds contended for the NL West crown all year but ultimately fell 5.5 games short of the Los Angeles Dodgers at 89-72.
But he did get the hits record as a consolation of sorts.
And he was lucky enough to pull it off in front of the hometown crowd in Cincinnati.
On September 11th, 1985, in front of over 47,000 fans at Riverfront Stadium, Rose lined a 2-1 pitch off San Diego pitcher Eric Show to left-center field for a single in the first inning.
With his 4,192nd hit, he became the new all-time hits leader.
1985 Fleer #240 Ozzie Smith
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $100
Perhaps the best defensive shortstop of the 20th Century, Smith saved countless runs with an array of spectacular plays for the '85 Cardinals.
But a little bit of hitting went a long way for Smith, and 1985 ended up as his best offensive year thus far.
In 537 at-bats, Smith hit .276 with 22 doubles, 31 stolen bases, 70 runs scored, six home runs, and 54 RBIs.
And his .716 OPS stood as the best mark of his first decade in the Majors.
At season's end, Smith finished 18th in the league's MVP voting for his all-around efforts, earning yet another Gold Glove and All-Star nod in the process.
Come postseason time, it was both feast and famine in the box for the suddenly dangerous Smith.
Against the Dodgers in the NLCS, Smith went supernova, hitting .435 with a 1.196 OPS and a Game 5 walk-off home run forever etched in baseball lore thanks to Cardinals announcer Jack Buck's iconic call of "Go crazy folks. Go crazy!"
The Cards eventually won the series in six, setting up an I-70 World Series clash with the Kansas City Royals.
A switch flipped from there, and Smith was a non-factor, going 2-for-23 in a seven-game series loss that ended with an 11-0 route in KC.
1985 Fleer #65 Ryne Sandberg
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $80
After finishing first in the NL East at 96-65 during the 1984 season, the Cubs franchise and their fans wondered if their World Series drought would finally end.
Yet, it wasn't meant to be.
The San Diego Padres were also in the midst of a Cinderella season and ultimately stopped the Cubs in five in the 1984 NLCS.
And just like that, Chicago fell into mediocrity again.
Thanks to a shotty bullpen and shallow starting lineup in 1985, they'd finish with a disappointing 77-84-1 record.
But through all the pain and suffering, the fans still had Ryne Sandberg, the reigning NL MVP.
Even though he fell to thirteenth in the MVP vote, Sandberg's production at the plate was similar to his 1984 MVP campaign.
Sandberg's .305/.364/.504 slash line was solid, resulting in 31 doubles, six triples, 26 home runs, 113 runs scored and 83 RBIs.
The future Hall of Famer also found another gear on the basepaths, parlaying it into a career-high 54 stolen bases.
Despite his best efforts, the team couldn't find any momentum during the season and failed to capitalize on one of their most iconic player's best seasons.
1985 Fleer #151 Wade Boggs
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $80
The last half of the 1980s belonged to Wade Boggs.
From 1985-1988, Boggs won four straight American League batting titles.
And from 1985-89, he paced the Majors in on-base percentage for five consecutive seasons.
There wasn’t a better professional hitter in the Major Leagues than Wade Boggs.
And 1985 was the first year he received the All-Star attention he so richly deserved.
Earning his first of twelve straight Midsummer Classic appearances, Boggs led the Majors in batting average (.368), on-base percentage (.450), hits (240), and plate appearances (758).
He also hit 42 doubles, scored 107 runs, drove in 78, and walked nearly 100 times (96).
And despite suiting up for a middling .500 Boston Red Sox squad, Boggs was recognized for his unreal performance with a fourth-place finish in the league’s MVP race.
He was that good.
It was, in short, a picture-perfect year for a picture-perfect hitting machine.
Yet, it was only a taste of things to come over the rest of the decade.
1985 Fleer #199 George Brett
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $80
The Kansas City Royals' 1985 run to the franchise's first world title was a culmination and a validation of George Brett's storied career.
Brett was a cut above during the regular season, leading the Majors in slugging percentage (.585) and OPS (1.022).
He finished second in the AL batting title race (.335), hitting 30 home runs and adding 38 doubles, five triples, 108 runs scored, 103 walks, and 112 RBIs.
The AL MVP runner-up, Brett also won his first Gold Glove and his second Silver Slugger during his tenth-straight All-Star campaign.
And when it mattered most in a grueling pennant race with the Angels, Brett showed up big.
He hit .450 in the season's final week with five home runs, lifting the Royals to the playoffs by the slimmest of margins.
Brett continued his torrid pace in a seven-game ALCS classic against the Toronto Blue Jays to win series MVP honors after helping the Royals overcome a 3-1 deficit.
In the World Series, Brett helped KC climb out of another 3-1 hole to upend the St. Louis Cardinals.
Brett played a pivotal role in the historic comeback, hitting .370 with a home run, five runs scored, four walks, an RBI, and a stolen base.
The Royals had their first taste of championship glory and Brett was a made man with Cooperstown firmly in his sights.
1985 Fleer Baseball Cards In Review
After taking another pass through this checklist, I'm reminded of how special this set is for the hobby.
Even though it appeared during an era of rising production numbers and market hysteria, there is enough rookie and star card power to keep this set respectable.
Some of the rookie cards are hobby icons.
The Roger Clemens, Kirby Puckett, Eric Davis and Dwight Gooden cards, in particular, have long remained gems for any high-grade collector of that era.
And, rookie cards aside, there are some must-have stars and Hall of Famers scattered throughout the 660-card checklist that can also bring in big bucks in high grade.
As far as subsets go, there were two classic features in this set that have stood the test of time:
- Super Star Specials (#626 - 643)
- Major League Prospects (#644 - 653)
Both were staples of multiple Fleer baseball card sets of the era.
Overall, there is so much to like about this set from top to bottom that it's not all that difficult to see why many collectors consider this their favorite Fleer baseball set of the 1980s.
And, again, if Clemens and Gooden would've panned out as Hall of Famers, the set would be even more popular.
Still, it's a fantastic set and should continue to hold up well over time.