Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Card back countdown: #36 - 1992 Donruss

Topps wasn't the only company that decided to finally change with the times in 1992. Donruss made a few overdue alterations with its own '92 set.

First, I'll address the front. Gone were the kiddy designs. Apparently the 5th graders Donruss hired to draw the designs for the late '80s/early '90s sets got the boot. Child-labor laws or something. Instead, Donruss chose to emphasize the photo on the card. I wasn't crazy about the light-blue bars, but it sure beat the snot out of what Donruss did in 1991.

However, this is the card BACK countdown. So let's talk about the back:

For me, the '92 Donruss back is so-so. It has its good points -- like continuing the Donruss tradition of featuring a player's full name, only much larger. And I like the organizing of the career highlights, as well as the contract status blurb. Also, the head shot is a first for Donruss.

The drawbacks for me are the limited use of stats (always an issue with Donruss), and the light blue type used for the contract status.

But all of this is overshadowed by one major fact, and basically the only reason why this set is on the card back countdown.

Donruss finally climbed out of a 10-year card back rut with the 1992 design.

In 1981, Donruss debuted with a somewhat different back, using career highlights and a single line of statistics in a vertical format. Then, in 1982, it went with a different look. It was horizontal and featured five years worth of stats. Donruss liked this look so much that it was repeated for the next two years.

There you have, from top to bottom, the 1982, 1983 and 1984 Donruss sets. The only change in set-up is the addition of contract status after the 1982 set, and the different colors. Everything else is the same.

Then, in 1985, Donruss changed its back, ever-so-slightly:

Donruss decided to put a border around the yearly statistics. The 1985 Donruss card back is in the top left corner.

Donruss then beat collectors to death with the same card back for the next six years. The 1986 Donruss card back is at top center, and the '87 card back at top right. At the bottom, from left to right, is the 1988, 1989 and 1990 Donruss card backs. Only the color has been changed.

Then, in 1991, Donruss kept the back the same, but used two different colors to match the two different colors used with the borders on the front, blue for series 1 and green for series 2.

(*sigh*) At least Donruss had never used that color of green before.

So after completely phoning in the card back for a whole decade, we finally got this:

I, for one, was grateful. I actually bought some Donruss that year. I can't say the same thing about the previous six years.

Best of the set:

I'll go with The Kid.

Only because I probably noticed for the first time that year that Griffey was really "George Griffey Jr."

(previous card back countdown selections):

50. 1978 SSPC Yankee Yearbook
49. 1993 Score
48. 1999 Skybox Thunder
47. 2000 Upper Deck
46. 1999 Skybox Premium
45. 1953 Johnston Cookies Braves
44. 1995 Topps
43. 1997 Fleer
42. 1992 Pinnacle
41. 1989 Bowman
40. 1977 Kellogg's
39. 2004 Topps
38. 2004 Topps Total
37. 1992 Topps


This has nothing to do with the previous subject, but I don't want to create a whole new post for it.

As you may know, one of our fellow card bloggers, dayf, landed some awesomely bitchin' seats at a Braves game last week. He recently put up some photos displaying exactly how bitchin'.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought, given his close proximity to home plate, "I wonder if dayf's beatific face was preserved forever in photographic form?"

But instead of wondering, I went looking. I have access to baseball game photos. So last night I scoured the Associated Press pix from that game, a Wednesday night offering between the Braves and the Mets. From the photos that dayf posted, it's obvious that he was seated off to the right of home plate.

That was unfortunate, because most of the AP home plate photos appeared to be taken from the general direction of where he was seated. Photos of Heyward, McCann batting are all from this viewpoint.

But then I spotted a play at home plate. And it appeared to be shot by a photographer on the other side of the field.

That is an AP photo of Rick Ankiel getting tagged out by Mets catcher Josh Thole in the fourth inning.

And I am wondering, is the person peering over the gentleman with the gray hair actually dayf?

Click on the image for a larger view. I circled him in red.

I can't be positive about this, as my ability to recognize people in real life is absolutely atrocious. But it sure does look like the Cardboard Junkie.

So what do you think? I suppose only one person knows.


  1. If that's him, though, it kind of looks like he's wearing an older Arizona Diamondbacks cap... and that would be weird.

  2. Nope, not me. It looks an awful lot like me, but it's the wrong seating area and that guy has no glasses. I was over on the first base side right behind the on deck circle. The only way that could even possibly be me in that photo is if the stadium was designed by MC Escher.

    What's really weird is that there was an older guy sitting in front of me who looks just like the guy with the grey hair... Our Doppelgangers are following us....

  3. Be afraid...be very afraid.

    Actually, I don't mind the Donruss fronts of the junk era. I like the red ones especially (well, I also like the bright yellow Fleer 91s - I am also certifiably insane).

    I liked the 1992 Donruss backs, but I think the Pinnacle backs of the same era did it much better because the cards were black.