The junk wax era was notorious for an incredible number of error cards. with card producers scrambling to release as many games as possible in as short a time as possible, quality checks were tightened until they were non-existent.
These error cards differed, from incorrect images, misspelled names, or inaccurate stats. In most industries, such errors imply a defective product and demand a lower value (if any). however, this is not true for the trading card industry, as excellent value can be found in trading error cards.
Reading: Billy ripken fuck face card
Collectors love adding these unique and rare cards to their collections. This article will review one of the most famous baseball “mistake” cards with a rich history. the billy ripken “shit face” card.
With a total of 84 notable errors in fleer’s 1989 baseball collection, it’s easy to wonder what’s so special about this card. well let’s find out.billy ripken fuck face 1989 variations of fleer abound on ebay – check them out here!
an introduction to billy ripken’s 1989 shit face card, #616
billy ripken was a second baseman for the baltimore orioles and the younger brother of the prestigious baseball hall of famer cal ripken jr. with a batting average of .247; billy was nothing special in the field. In the 1988 season, Billy batted a meager .207, having played a career-high 150 games. his card was meant to be common valued at no more than a few cents.
however, a few weeks after the new collection hit stores, billy’s card became the most sought after card in the entire collection. the reason for this was two words: shit face.
At first glance, Billy’s cards are unremarkable. poses for the camera holding her bat with the barrel resting on her shoulder. however, two highly visible words written on the knob pushed this card into infamy. when news spread of a card containing clearly written (and enhanced?) obscenity, it caused hysteria in the collection community.
fleer quickly issued a statement saying they are aware of the “issue”, sincerely regret the fact that it has occurred, and have taken steps to make the necessary changes. the president of the baltimore sun company, vincent murray, also issued a statement.
“we’re sorry it happened…and i’m sure he (ripken) does too. a lot of jokes, so to speak, happen between the players in the major leagues. we got a number… but we didn’t get this one.”
To save face, fleer stopped production of the shitfaced card and released several fixed versions. they also asked collectors to return their cards and get another card without the swear word. while this was happening, the value of the card was skyrocketing and people were paying up to $20 for it.
While a $20 valuation seems small today, this was back in 1989. Packs were selling for $0.50 and boxes for $25. After several major news publications at the time reported the story, the original card’s valuation increased to $300. The price of game packs rose to $100, while stores sold boxes for $1,700.
how billy ripken’s “shit face” photo happened
There were conflicting stories about how the shitty card came about. At first, Billy Ripken said that his teammates had attacked him. in his words:
“Looks like I was attacked (by teammates),” Ripken told Kurkjian. “I know I’m a bit of an idiot sometimes. I know I’m a little off. but this is going too far.” He also “regretted that so many young people were exposed.”
some posts also rumored that billy’s brother cal inscribed the profanity to embarrass him. Few believed that Fleer wrote it themselves to drive publicity and increase card sales. upper deck had just entered the baseball collectibles market with new and exciting products, and fleer needed something more to stay relevant. the truth remained elusive.
However,20 years after the incident, billy ripken, in an interview with cnbc’s darren rovell, revealed how it happened in 2008. he had been holding his marked batting practice bat, so which remains outside.
“I have a dozen bats in front of my locker during the 1988 season. I took out the bats, model r161, and noticed from the grain patterns that they were too heavy. but I decided I would use at least one of them for my batting practice bat.”
“Now I had to write something on the bat. at memorial stadium the batting room wasn’t too close to the clubhouse so I wanted to write something that I could find right away if I looked up and it was 4:44 and I had to go out on the field a minute later and I didn’t arriving late there were five big shopping carts full of bats there and if I wrote my number 3 it might be too confusing. so I typed ‘f-k’ face on it.”
He did not deliberately pose with the bat for his most recent photo. she thought she was posing for a random photograph.
“we were in fenway park and i had just taken my first round of bp. I threw my bat off the side of third base and walked around the bases. As I was walking back, just before I got up to hit again, I remember a guy tapping me on the shoulder and asking if he could take a picture of me. I never once thought about it. I posed for the photo and he took it.”
billy couldn’t believe fleer reviewers missed it and felt fleer improved it to boost sales.
“I can’t believe the people at fler couldn’t catch that. I mean, they certainly have to have enough correctors to see it. I think they not only saw it, but improved it. that writing on that bat is too clear. I don’t write that clean. I think they knew that once they saw it, they could use the card to create a stir.”
remember that before now, ripken claimed that his teammates attacked him. When Darren Rovell pointed out his earlier answer, Billy had an explanation ready.
“I tried to deflect it as much as I could. it was pretty easy to say someone caught me with a prank because people think you’re the scum of the earth for doing something like this. the truth is that there are many words like that that are thrown in the clubhouse. they just don’t come out.”
While this interview shed light on how the shit face card came to be, the shit face card was already infamous. demand for – and value – of the original card skyrocketed. today is arguably the most famous error card in baseball.
the notorious 1989 breakout game was riddled with bugs
the shit face card was part of the 1989 fleer baseball, a particularly infamous set. is known for the absurd number of errors and variations. it had everything from missing positions to misspelled names to missing halos. despite having 84 notable bugs, or perhaps because of that, this set is one of the few from the junk era that holds its value very well.
the many variations of the bill ripken ff card
all hell broke loose at fler once the ripken ff bill bug was found, and they scrambled to take action to cover the knob. if they’ve decided to black box it and be consistent with their decision, we’d probably just have a variation. however, for some reason, they tried to cover it up in many ways. twelve ways if you ask some experts.
While no less than 12 different versions of the bill ripken ff error card exist, some classify that only four major versions exist. The PSA Population Reports detail five different versions of their scores, which can be seen below. all other versions can be classified as subcategories: correctors, saw cuts, etc.
billy ripken ff error card (original)
this is the original card with ostensibly written and visible shit face. the original card also has a subversion.
- f-face (original) double print
This version has the expletive in double letters, probably due to a printing error. while this is not a “true” version, it is highly collectible.
While the original shit face cards are chase cards, when it comes down to it, they’re not really rare. many original versions of the cards hit the market. experts believe there are 150,000 original shit face cards on the market.
due to ebay’s policies on profanity, you should look for these cards by searching “ff” for f-face”
search bill ripken fuck face aka ff 1989 fleer cards on ebay
white doodles (airbrush)
the first fixed version released by fleer. the expletive has been airbrushed in an attempt to cover it up. however, upon close examination, the outline of the profanity is still visible.
fler’s first attempt to fix the bug, experts aren’t sure how many of these cards were released before switching to other methods. this version of the ff card is the hardest to find and is a good value once found.
bill ripken white scribble 1989 fleer playing cards can be found on ebay
This whitewashed version has the entirety of the bats knob whitewashed.
In this variation, a black squiggle has been used in an attempt to cover up the swear word. this version has tons of subversions, some of which are weird.
- black squiggle with f – this version has the first letter f visible.
- black squiggle with f (swirl pattern) – another version of the black squiggle. it looks a lot like regular ‘f-scribble’, but one would notice several differences when looking closely. such as extra markings, stains, and a damaged plate.
- looped black squiggle: Once the hunter realized that the normal black squiggle didn’t significantly cover the f-word, this variant was born. the letter f has been changed significantly, so it looks like a hook (loop) mark.
- black squiggle without f: also called a “light loop” version, this one has the letter f completely removed.
There is also a “scribbled circles” version, sometimes called a semi-airbrush version. fleer tried to cover up the swear word by using circular patterns of dark scribbles. several letters are still clearly visible.
Some versions of the black squiggle are harder to find than others. however, this version is not particularly rare as many of them made it to market.
find lots of bill ripken black scribble cards on ebay
here, fleer used a black box to cover the swear word. this was ultimately the last major variation used to correct the letter. there are several versions of this.
- black box (square border): the first black box version ever produced. the swear word is covered with a black box with four square corners.
- black box (rounded edge): black box with rounded corners.
- black box (jagged white line): black box with rounded corners and a jagged white stripe on the top left.
- Black Box (Glossy Edition): A rounded black box version found only in the Glossy and Tin Collector’s Edition.
This variation is the second easiest to find of all the ff versions after the original card. however, the shiny collector’s edition is rare. experts estimate that fleer made only 20,000 of them.
check out the latest bill ripken 1989 fleer black box cards that can be found on ebay.
bill ripken ff card value comparison
The value of the billy ripken error card has been steadily increasing to meet your demand. today, a psa 10 gem-mint copy of this card is valued at $340, while a psa 9 will sell for nearly $120. Raw copies would easily sell for $70-$90. Here are some of the top shit face card sales variations in 2022.
By comparison, another card from the same year, the Ripken 1989 Topps #571 has never been worth more than a few cents. while these values offer a significant return on investment, they can only get better. bug cards remain popular in the hobby, and collectors are interested in owning one of the most famous bug cards.
billy ripken ff error card conclusion
Thirty-three years after its release, Billy Ripken’s Shitface card remains one of the most sought-after bug cards in the hobby. while billy ripken did nothing outstanding on the field, his shit face is well known.
The stringent check card producers they employ today make these errors more difficult to avoid. this has increased the value of mint cards as their collectability increases. the notable mint versions of the first bug cards are worth quite a bit now. indeed, few can deny the fantastic entertainment value in a good mistake.