Those words probably conjure up images of sets like 1991 Donruss, maybe 1990 Topps, or perhaps one of the earlier Upper Deck sets. It could be one of the color bombs like 1991 Fleer. 1987 Topps is a strong candidate, but it's just too iconic to be lumped in with some of the others. Maybe you know the sets from that era so well that the only one it doesn't make you think of is 1990 Leaf.
But for me, I think the best example is 1988 Donruss, also one of the worst-collated sets ever. Maybe one day I'll break down and buy the factory set, but I feel like I've been on a perpetual quest to complete it since I was a kid.
On the same day I drove that Ferrari, I stopped by the Colorado Mills mall afterwards. Inside a sports memorabilia shop filled with autographed bats, jerseys, and other things of that nature, I found a box partially filled with sealed packs priced at a buck apiece. I selected the five packs from 1988 Donruss, swiped my card, and instantly added to my collection.
As an aside, what's the proper slang equivalent for "swiping" a chip card? "Inserting?" Too technical. "Chipping?" Maybe. We'll probably still be "swiping" our chip cards in much the same way we "dial" an iPhone or "roll down" a power window. Or even "text" over iMessage, which isn't entirely correct.
Let's get to the cards.
|1988 Donruss #309 Darren Daulton|
|1988 Donruss #238 Bobby Bonilla|
And yes, Bernie Madoff indirectly had a hand in all that. Sort of isn't that surprising that the Mets re-signed Jose Reyes to a minor-league deal after the Rockies waived him.
|1988 Donruss Bonus MVPs #BC-15 Kirby Puckett (SP)|
Maybe those go for two cents instead of one.
Despite its alleged scarcity, this card is an example of the primary gripe I have with 1988 Donruss. It's dark. And yes, I do realize that Mr. Puckett is African American, but many of the photos in this set are quite underexposed.
|1988 Donruss Bonus MVPs #BC-24 Will Clark (SP)|
I didn't pull his card in these five packs, but one of the worst underexposures in the whole set can be found on Nelson Liriano's card #32. Flip through your stacks of '88; you'll see what I mean. And who doesn't have stacks of 1988 Donruss?
|1988 Donruss #324 Rafael Palmeiro|
|1988 Donruss #1 Mark McGwire DK|
Dick Perez did what he could, but this still looks a touch dark to me. When it comes to Diamond Kings cards, the painting always looked creepy enough that I never really noticed the tiny action shot in the lower area. Even on a set like this you can still spot new things.
|1988 Donruss #326 Barry Bonds|
|1988 Donruss #34 Roberto Alomar (RC)|
Of course, the back of the card is sure to mention the rest of the Alomar family, father Sandy and brother Sandy, Jr.
|1988 Donruss #657 Gregg Jefferies (RC)|
I still need to find a Griffey rookie, though. It's a glaring omission in my collection.
|1988 Donruss #88 Jeff Reed|
Still, pretty underexposed.
|1988 Donruss #638 Bob Melvin|
|1988 Donruss #401 Tommy John|
|1988 Donruss #305 Bob Boone|
Like the Alomars, the Boones are a longtime baseball family, in fact one of only four to have three generations in the Big Leagues. Ray Boone played as postwar baseball cards were becoming what we know today, Bob you see here, and sons Bret and Aaron played until quite recently. Aaron, of course, won the 2003 ALCS for the Yankees with a dramatic extra innings walkoff home run.
|1988 Donruss #249 Paul Molitor|
|1988 Donruss #641 Stan Musial Puzzle|
So we'd know what the final product looked like, Donruss always included a card showing the completely assembled puzzle. I've completed a few of them, but I'm still a few short on Stan Musial's 1988 puzzle, even after these five packs. I've seen this card a few times, but didn't quite notice the old-style black and red Cardinals logo before yellow crept its way in.
I have a bit of sorting to do on this set. I just have too many to keep it in binder pages anymore, so I'll probably be moving it to a box soon. But don't be surprised if a few 1988 puzzle pieces make it onto my Eight Men Out list so I can complete this beauty of Stan the Man.
And all that for a mere five bucks. I even found a few commons.