Friday, December 4, 2009

Fractal Matrix headache

Last night I was looking through my Hershiser collection and looking through I found quite a few that they were offering that I didn't have. One of them was the 1997 Leaf Fractal Matrix card. That set name didn't click in my head, so I pulled out my copy of the 1998 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. Here's what they have to say about the set...
Leaf introduced Fractal Matrix inserts, a 400-card parallel set broken down into three colors and three unique die-cuts. One "fracture" breaks the insert set down by foil background color (80 Gold, 120 Silver and 200 Bronze). A second breaks those cards down into X, Y and Z "axis" variations. There are no markings on the cards to segregate the X, Y and Z groups, though that information was printed on the box bottoms. No production numbers or insert rations were released for either fracture. Each player is available in only one color/axis combination. The incredibly convoluted nature of the issue insured that virtually nobody understood the concept, putting a damper on collector interest.
1997 Leaf Fractal Matrix #76 - Orel Hershiser SX - Courtesy of
1997 Leaf Fractal Matrix, Orel Hershiser, S/X
(card #76)

There is also a Die-Cut version of this set...
A second parallel set to the Leaf product, the Fractal Matrix Die-Cuts offer three different die-cut designs with three different colors for each. The Axis-X die-cuts comprise 200 players (150 Bronze, 40 Silver and 10 Gold), the Axis-Y die-cuts has 120 players (60 Silver, 40 Bronze, 20 Gold), and the Axis-Z die-cuts consist of 80 players (50 Gold, 20 Silver, 10 Bronze). Odds of finding any of these inserts are 1:6 packs. Each player was issued in only one color/cut combination.
The numbering appears to be same in both sets. That makes sense. Leaf did a similar release in 1998. That doesn't.


  1. Hey Mark. I did a review of 1997 Leaf last year. Chris Harris commented with some print run info (if you cared).

    Bronze X (non-die-cut): 1600
    Bronze Y: 1800
    Bronze Z: 1900
    Silver X: 600
    Silver Y: 800
    Silver Z: 900
    Gold X: 100
    Gold Y: 200
    Gold Z: 400

    X-Axis Die-Cut (regardless of color): 400
    Y-Axis Die-Cut: 200
    Z-Axis Die-Cut: 100

  2. FrankThomasFan1980 - You'd have to see a checklist. The 2009 edition of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards lists Frank Thomas as having card # 107. He's a G/Z axis notation. Good luck finding it.