Tuesday, March 22, 2011

1984 Unwanted Cards

Kicking Off 1984

1984 was a different sort of year for collectors. Maybe this has something to do with my age at the time, as I would turn 11 in September '84. Collecting cards was more about actually completing a set of baseball cards and less about chewing gum for me by this time. The 1984 Topps set was (and still is) the earliest set that I have completed. Beckett Price Guide magazine also made its debut in November 1984. The hobby was changing a bit. I think this was about the time trades with friends were made based less on wanting a certain player for whatever reason, but actually thinking about the actual value of the cards. In 2011, this is funny because these cards are probably worth less now than they were then.

As for the cards produced in 1984, we again get the big three of Topps, Donruss, and Fleer. I think all companies were firing on all cylinders during this year. They all had very good designs, and in Donruss's case, maybe the best in the history of that company. Donruss gave us the first Rated Rookie cards that were noted in the front this year and the set is full of rookie cards that don't show up in other sets. Of course Donruss gives us one of my least favorite subsets again, leading off their set with the Diamond Kings. I can't stress enough how awful these cards look. They look like they were painted as a project in a high school art class. Check out the Lance Parrish card to the left. One of the ugliest cards I have ever come across.

The 1984 Fleer set is about as redundant as any set got in the 1980s. There are only 2 cards in the whole set of active players in 1984 that aren't in any other companies set. No kidding...only 2. You do get the final cards of Johnny Bench, Carl Yastrzemski, and Gaylord Perry in the Fleer set though, which is cool as you get to see their entire career statistics on a baseball card. The bigger news from Fleer is that they also give us an update set of 132 cards. This will give us 14 more cards to help fill in our checklists.

I will start off 1984 providing a checklist of all of the cards I am not considering for my ultimate set, but if you are keeping score at home, you may be interested in these. I always try to keep cards showing highlights of the previous season, but dislike the Superstar Specials and Diamond Kings, so don't bother collecting those. Fleer did have some cards highlighting the 1983 post season, so those will be placed in the ultimate set. I also don't save the checklists from sets other than Topps.

Donruss Living Legends
There were two cards honoring players retiring (I know Rollie Fingers didn't retire, I will get to that in a second). I know these cards came in packs with the rest of the set, but they weren't numbered as if they belonged to the set. These may be the first case of insert cards, although Topps did issue a glossy all-star set in rack packs of 1983 cards.

The players on these two cards are A) Gaylord Perry/Rollie Fingers and B) Carl Yastrzemski / Johnny Bench. The interesting player out of these four is Rollie Fingers. Fingers did not play in 1983. He came back with the Brewers in 1984 and 1985 and then called it a career. Why is he on these cards? Was this Donruss's way of placing him on a card, or was there speculation that he would retire? I honestly don't remember.

Donruss Diamond Kings
__ DO 1 DK Robin Yount MIL
__ DO 2 DK Dave Concepcion CIN
__ DO 3 DK Dwayne Murphy OAK
__ DO 4 DK John Castino MIN
__ DO 5 DK Leon Durham CHC
__ DO 6 DK Rusty Staub NYM
__ DO 7 DK Jack Clark SFG
__ DO 8 DK Dave Dravecky SDP
__ DO 9 DK Al Oliver MON
__ DO 10 DK Dave Righetti NYY
__ DO 11 DK Hal McRae KCR
__ DO 12 DK Ray Knight HOU
__ DO 13 DK Bruce Sutter STL
__ DO 14 DK Bob Horner ATL
__ DO 15 DK Lance Parrish DET
__ DO 16 DK Matt Young SEA
__ DO 17 DK Fred Lynn CAL
__ DO 18 DK Ron Kittle CHW
__ DO 19 DK Jim Clancy TOR
__ DO 20 DK Bill Madlock PIT
__ DO 21 DK Larry Parrish TEX
__ DO 22 DK Eddie Murray BAL
__ DO 23 DK Mike Schmidt PHI
__ DO 24 DK Pedro Guerrero LAD
__ DO 25 DK Andre Thornton CLE
__ DO 26 DK Wade Boggs BOS

Other Donruss Cards
__ DO 0 ST Living Legends (Carl Yastrzemski, Johnny Bench) XXX
__ DO 0 ST Living Legends (Gaylord Perry, Rollie Fingers) XXX
__ DO 625 ST Runnin' Reds (David Green, Willie McGee, Lonnie Smith, Ozzie Smith) STL
__ DO 648 ST Duke Snider (Puzzle) LAD

Fleer Superstar Specials
__ FL 629 ST Rod Carew (AL Batting Runner-Up) CAL
__ FL 630 ST Wade Boggs (AL Batting Champion) BOS
__ FL 631 ST Tim Raines (Letting Go of the Raines) MON
__ FL 632 ST Al Oliver (Double Trouble) MON
__ FL 633 ST Steve Sax (All-Star Second Base) LAD
__ FL 634 ST Dickie Thon (All-Star Shortstop) HOU
__ FL 635 ST Ace Firemen (Dan Quisenberry, Tippy Martinez) XXX
__ FL 636 ST Reds Reunited (Tony Perez, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan) PHI
__ FL 637 ST Backstop Stars (Lance Parrish, Bob Boone) XXX
__ FL 640 ST Retiring Superstars (Johnny Bench, Carl Yastrzemski) XXX


  1. Yes! Absolutely! The 1984 design WAS the best Donruss design in that company's history AND the Diamond Kings WERE terrible-looking (I really don't get the love for DK).

    THANK YOU!!!!!!

  2. So you are getting rid of all the listed cards? Am I reading that right?? If so I need the Boggs DK card and that Yaz retiring card. Just let me know what you would want for them.

  3. I am not opposed to trading or selling these cards, that is sort of the point of this exercise...but I honestly don't own either of those cards

  4. Here is my take on the Diamond Kings...it is a good idea poorly executed. In the end I hated these cards when I got them as a kid and they haven't aged well with me since.

    When putting together the 1981 ultimate checklist, Donruss would put out two, sometimes three different cards of star players that year. I think the Diamond Kings took that over, so the possibility of landing, say a Pete Rose or Reggie Jackson card, or whoever was the star of the day, when opening a pack is doubled. Donruss got the idea to instead make an art card instead of another photographed card...good idea on paper.

    But then they have 1 card per team and didn't repeat players the first few years, so you get cards of players such as Matt Young or John Castino because the teams they are on are not that deep.

    The artist probably slapped these together in a hurry, as I imagine when you factor in production schedules, probably had less than two weeks to produce each of these cards. The art itself isn't abstract art and it isn't lifelike, you get something that looks like half assed reallife painting.

    What they should've done is limit this idea to maybe 10 players per year and maybe had different artists make these cards. I think it could've been a much better idea and gave some starving artists a chance to show off their work.