Donruss – Originals?

There are a lot of sets that I’ve bought that I’ve forgotten about. Some bring back memories; others I can’t believe actually exist (or that I have).

The 2002 Donruss Originals set came as a complete surprise to me when I saw it written on the end of a storage box. I pulled it out of the pile to investigate, had no idea what lurked within, and ended up surprised at how much fun it was.

The gimmick is simple, and now done ad nauseum – bring back old designs with contemporary players. Donruss went back into their 20+ year history and came up with four looks they felt worthy of tribute – 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1988. Classic cardboard? Not for me to decide, but the set does work.

The 400 card issue is not evenly divided between the four years: 1982-1986 get 115 cards each, 1988 gets 55. Perhaps Donruss themselves knew that 1988 was pushing it in terms of historic sets.

What’s weirdly interesting about this set is the repetition. Donruss chose to feature many of the same players in all four designs, so the checklist isn’t 400 individual people. Let’s ask Miguel Tejada, as 2002 a guy as I can think of, to demonstrate:

1982

1533-293594Fr1533-293594Bk

1984

1533-293650Fr1533-293650Bk

1986

1533-293765Fr1533-293765Bk

1988

1533-293912Fr1533-293912Bk

Odd, but compelling, almost hypnotic, but nothing’s wrong with having a set that’s .75% Corey Pattersons?

Author: Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.

4 thoughts on “Donruss – Originals?”

    1. I realize you are the president, but a personal comparison to Churchill? Has an “iron curtain” been drawn between SABRs leadership and it’s members?😁

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  1. Very interesting to me that they didn’t update the year on these designs. Also interesting that the 1988 backs are missing the black line that bleeds off both ends of the Recent Major League Performance header.

    Do the 1988s at least have both orientation of back pattern so that they can (ideally) tile correctly on a page?

    Liked by 1 person

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