The checklist is here.
When I started collecting cards in the mid-80’s, Topps was the only company whose cards were readily available. The neighborhood kids hoarded any Donruss and Fleer cards they could get their hands on, and if you wanted to obtain them in a trade you might have to throw in a Star Wars action figure to sweeten the deal! I was able to obtain a few over the years, and I had them proudly displayed in my binder along with Pete Rose, Ryne Sandberg, and Dave Winfield.
1984 marked the 4th season of Donruss baseball cards, and in my opinion, this where they started getting things figured out. After a few years of average design and some would say below average photography, the 1984 set took some steps in the right direction.
The 660 card set started off with 26 Donruss Diamond kings cards, a subset which was quickly becoming a trademark of the Donruss releases. It featured the likes of Wade Boggs, Mike Schmidt, Robin Yount, and of course Dwayne Murphy?
While the artistic nature of the Diamond Kings were gaining steam, it was cards 27-46 which would be the start of a cardboard icon which would still be pursued today over 30 years later. The Donruss Rated Rookie subset made its debut, and would have a mix of some guys who definitely warranted the “rated” title, and some who didn’t. Joe Carter is probably the biggest name, but Tony Fernandez held his own as well.
There were a couple other rookies who weren’t rated that probably surpass the others when it comes to their popularity today. Ok, that was being kind. Don Mattingly and Darryl Strawberry made their Donruss debuts in this set, and are two of the more sought after cards in the release.
Along with the rookies above, a slew of young stars were prominent. Tony Gwynn, Ryne Sandberg, and Wade Boggs each had second year cards with some great shots. Ripken Jr., Mike Schmidt, and George Brett were some additional stars that could be found and who still provide some depth to collectability of the set. In my opinion, the advancement in photography found in this set continued to show the development with the Donruss brand. This is one of, if not the most popular Donruss sets in the 1980s and Ebay listings continue to be consistently snapped up.
From a more modern perspective, the 2018 Donruss release has a “retro” 1984 subset, and the similarities to the original are sure to make this one of the more popular aspects of the set. From the actual card design, to the similarities in the style of player photographs used, many fans of the 1984 set are finding themselves seeking the newer subset as well. Personally, this will probably be the only part of the 2018 set I look to complete in its entirety.
What are your thoughts? Do you like the ’84 set? Did you chase the Chicken Card? Do you prefer one of the other mid-80’s sets instead? What about the retro look of the 2018 version? I have so many questions for you, and you can answer them in the comments section below!
If you want to read more about the 2018 version and watch me open a box of hobby packs, you can find that here.
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