Friday, April 17, 2009

Billy Ripken '89 Fleer Card Story Finally Revealed

When I was a young lad collecting baseball cards, one of the truly coveted cards was the '89 Billy Ripken card.  Not because Billy was such a great player (he had a .247 lifetime average, nothing to write home about, and his career was way less impressive than his Hall-Of-Fame brother, Cal Ripken Jr), but because of the "adult"nature of the card.  The original version, shown on the left, showed Billy posing with a baseball bat which had written on the knob the word "FUCKFACE" which could easily be made out on close scrutiny.  

Obviously it did not take long for America's youth to gleefully discover the profanity, and to avoid further controversy the company (Fleer) hurriedly released a new edition of the card with the profanity blackened out (a website devoted to the different versions of the '89 Billy Ripken Fleer card--some of which are worth a fair amount of money--can be found here).  

At first Billy denied that he was responsible for the scandal--instead blaming his teammates of playing a practical joke on him.  However as a recent CNBC piece describes, Billy has recently 'fessed up to the fact that HE was the one to write "FUCKFACE" on the bat, though he denies that he intentionally posed with the bat for the baseball card photo shoot.  

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