They called Al Hrabosky the “Mad Hungarian.”

And it was fitting, too, because the man was a ball of energy on the mound, apparently of the angry type — storming the dirt, nearly rubbing the hide off the ball, glaring in at the batter.

Wild bedhead that would occasionally toss his cap from his head and a raging mustache that often grew pork chops on the end and flapped in his self-created breeze only enhanced the effect.

Add in an unusual surname that someone made an assumption about and that everyone else ran with, and the Mad Hungarian persona was complete.

But maybe Hrabosky had something else to be mad about, other than cranking up a little abandon on the mound to intimidate opposing batters.

Maybe the cardboard gods were whispering to him all along during his prime in the 1970s and very early 1980s, warning him about his impending 1982 Fleer card …

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Nothing too damning about that one, right?

Right … until you turn it over …

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At first glance, you might think the gaffe was intentional, a sort of nod to the fact that Hrabosky could do it a “all” as a fireman — pitch long relief, lock down saves, win games, strike out everyone and their brother.

All Hrabosky is sort of catchy.

But read the fine print, and you’ll see that All checked in with a height of just 5’1”. That’s five feet, one inch if you don’t read tick marks.

Now, the average fan may not have known exactly how tall Hrabosky was, but given that Freddie Patek was the premier mighty mite of the era at 5’5”, it was a pretty good bet that Mad stood somewhere north of 61 inches.

So, chances were, both the height AND name designations were errors on Fleer’s part.

Indeed, they went to work to set things right …

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The All is dead! Long live the Al!

The five-foot-one Al … ugh.

Sometimes you have to correct things in stages, you know, especially when there’s just so much wrong

So it was back to the pasteboard drawing board one final time:

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And so, just in time for his last-ever appearance on a big league mound (August 18, 1982), Al Hrabosky finally got his full due on that 1982 Fleer card of his.

The whole ordeal was enough to make a fella, well, mad.

That’s not All there is to this story, either, as the Hrabosky Trio combined with Padres “lefty” John Littlefield to make 1982 Fleer one of the most sought-after and pored-over issues of the early 1980s.

After all, rare baseball cards and untold riches awaited the patient and the lucky.

All (ha!) of these cards — 5’1” All Hrabosky, 5’1” Al Hrabosky, Reverse Negative Littlefield — quickly became legends in a hobby suddenly alive with activity thanks the end of Topps’ (first) monopoly in 1981.

For years, collectors at shows whispered about the possible existence of these cards, the chance to find a hidden treasure there in the commons bin.

Today, Hrabosky and, especially, Littlefield remain among the more popular names in the 1982 Fleer set, judging by submissions to PSA as listed in their Population Report.

Not surprisingly, the Short All version generally pulls in the top prices among the three Hrabosky variations — up to about $30-40 for copies in PSA 9 condition.

Meanwhile, the Short Al version checks in around $10 in the same condition, while the corrected, Medium Al version will run you just a few bucks for a slabbed MINT copy.

No matter which version you lay your hand on, though, scoring a 1982 Fleer Al Hrabosky is definitely nothing to be mad about.

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1982 Fleer Baseball Complete Set Ripken Rookie RC NM

End Date: Monday 06/24/2024 00:17:42 EDT
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