Skip to main content

Awesome night card, pt. 143 (and poll results)

Among my favorite kinds of night cards are the ones in which a card company was forced to use a photo from a night game because the game was one of the only chances it had to feature that player in his new uniform.

This often happened with late-season acquisitions, and it often happened in the early '90s when it was important to feature a player in his new uniform, avoiding airbrushing at all costs, but also when taking pictures during daylight hours was still ritual.

Alejandro Pena was acquired from the Mets in late August of 1991, leaving Donruss just a month of the regular season to get a photo of him in a Braves uniform. Fortunately for Donruss, the Braves reached the World Series that year, so they had the whole postseason, too.

And, so, unlike several other 1992 Donruss cards, the picture on the card matches the team listing on the card.

A game at night saves the day.

This card also serves as a nifty lead-in for the final results of the Biggest Improvement and Biggest Bust in Donruss history.

Here are the final tallies:

Biggest Improvement

1983 to 1984: 25 votes

1984 to 1985: 6 votes
1992 to 1993: 5 votes
1981 to 1982: 4 votes
1990 to 1991: 4 votes
1986 to 1987: 3 votes

Biggest Bust

1989 to 1990: 14 votes

1987 to 1988: 12 votes
1995 to 1996: 8 votes
1985 to 1986: 7 votes
1982 to 1983: 3 votes

The "Biggest Improvement" featured a much more clear consensus than the "Biggest Bust." 1984 Donruss is easily the winner. Donruss broke away from its childish, copycat design of 1983 and went with something more sophisticated and photo friendly.

Obviously, I agree wholeheartedly with the 53 percent of voters who picked 84 over 83. Nothing came close enough to consider. 1984 to 1985 picked up a couple reactionary votes after I announced that 83-84 was running away with it.

As for the "Biggest Bust," 1989-90 barely edged 1987 to 1988. I'm not crazy about 1990 Donruss, but I wouldn't have gone with either of the top two vote-getters. 1996 Donruss is just atrocious, 1986 Donruss is an affront to good mental health, and 1983 would be illegal if it wasn't produced by the same company as '82 Donruss. And I haven't even discussed 1991 and 1992 Donruss, among my least favorite sets ever made.

But the voters have spoken, and the biggest improvement and biggest bust in Donruss history will take up residence on the sidebar.

As someone who isn't much a fan of both Upper Deck and Donruss designs, I'm relieved we're done judging both companies. I'm looking forward to Fleer and Score and Pinnacle and a few others.

Uh, oh, I just remembered Bowman is still out there, too.


Night Card Binder candidate: Alejandro Pena, 1992 Donruss, #772
Does it make the binder?: Probably not. I don't plan to feature cards with numbers that high in the binder.


  1. Hey 84 Donruss Fan - I think you will enjoy this:

  2. Well, that's all kinds of awesome.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Addressing the elephant in the room

A few people have noticed: I changed the way the blog looked with zero fanfare earlier this week.

I've changed my blog appearance, I think, six times now, although one was just a header swap. Just about all of those came with a bit of a warning or explanation.

I didn't think that was necessary this time, mostly because I've been doing this for over a decade, am pretty established, and don't think I need to justify my decisions here.

But also I thought that people were familiar with the general changes in web sites over the last two, three, four years and wouldn't be that affected by it. For the most part that seems to be true -- or, no one cares and they're all looking at pretty instagram pictures.

I've received a couple of questions though and just because I hate the feeling that some readers are lost, I'll explain what I can.

The changes, like many web site changes, are related to mobile phone use.

I've been irked by the way my blog looks on my p…

Mind explosion: a different way to sort

This may have been one of the most tedious blog posts to put together in the history of this blog, but I think it's for a good cause.

The reason I'm not entirely sure is because I didn't have time to carry it out for a few more attempts, got to shovel that 7 inches of heavy wet snow plopped on my estate on Nov. 12th.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, Colbey from Cardboard Collections was sorting his Topps Holiday set by card number and asked a very common question that I've seen come up many times during my blogging career:

 This is always a satisfying question because this is how I organize my sets when I'm organizing by card number. At the top of the post I showed cards from the 2019 Topps flagship set being sorted in that manner -- stacks separated by hundreds first, then you create separate stacks by 10s within each hundreds stack, then finally order each of the 10s by card number.

I've done this since I was a kid and first knew the card numbers on the back me…

Looking at cards with Johnny B.

Over the weekend, I got a chance to express my inner Mike Oz and share some baseball cards with a former major league player.

I'm working on a story for my paper that involves ex-player Johnny Wockenfuss, who is almost a cult figure with fans of a certain age (I am one) and especially fans of the Detroit Tigers during the '70s and '80s.

I won't go into much detail -- at least not now -- because I'm still in the middle of working on it, have more gathering to go, and I get very protective of my stories while I'm in the middle of the process. Got to retain that exclusive, you know.

But I will say that I was able to sit in the home of Wockenfuss, give him the cards that I have of him in my collection, and ask his opinion on them.

Yeah, cool. Way cool.

I have 17 cards of Wockenfuss ("you have a lot of them," my wife said, and I thought "if that's a lot, what is my Hideo Nomo collection?"). Wockenfuss remembered the cards -- "every bit …