Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Team MVPs: 1984 Donruss

I'm really on an early Donruss kick lately. It hasn't been intentional, but I don't mind. If you see me getting goopy over '91 Donruss, then you should be concerned.

No, it's just 1984 Donruss' turn in the rotation for this periodic exercise in which I determine the best card for each team for every set that I have completed.

1984 Donruss is my second complete set from that year. You saw the other set the last time I did this series. It's also one of those blogosphere-completed sets. Those are sets for which a great deal of the cards came from fellow bloggers or readers. Like 1988 Score, I had precious few 1984 Donruss prior to starting a blog and now I have the whole thing.

As addressed in the 1984 Topps posting, I collected very little in 1984. I bought three or four packs of Donruss and I bought a box of '84 Topps at the start of the year. It's interesting to note that the only set that year that I collected as I had in the past -- Fleer -- is the only major set from '84 that I have not completed.


I like 1984 Donruss quite a bit, probably not as much as I once did, but it remains one of my favorite sets of the 1980s. It's not for any mojo reason like the Mattingly rookie or Rated Rookies or set scarcity, but because I like many of the crystal clear close-up shots in the set. There is a lot of territory for the photo in 1984 Donruss and it is used well. This set has character.

But because it's Donruss and the 1980s, it's also very inconsistent. Some photos are dark or blurry. Shadows kill other photos. As I was going team by team, I noticed that some teams feature sparkling clear photos and others have nothing but blurred shots.

So picking "the best" for some teams was very difficult.

But press on I did because I must waste my time. I conducted this exercise back on the table this time instead of the floor because there is sickness in the house and I need to stay far away from the hospital ward/living room.

And now, in the order that the divisions were arranged in 1984, here are the best cards for each team:

American League East

Orioles: Storm Davis; Red Sox: Wade Boggs; Indians: Andre Thornton; Tigers: Lance Parrish; Brewers: Rick Manning; Yankees: Goose Gossage; Blue Jays: Tony Fernandez

Team with the best cards: Red Sox. A handful could have beaten the Boggs card.

Team with the worst cards: Indians or Orioles or Tigers.

Team I should go back and review: Blue Jays. The Fernandez is a great portrait of a youthful star in the making, so I didn't bother with any action shots Toronto had.

American League West

Angels: Rod Carew; White Sox: Greg Luzinski; Royals: Hal McRae; Twins: Kent Hrbek; A's: Rickey Henderson; Mariners: Steve Henderson; Rangers: Dave Hostetler

Team with the best cards: Angels. This is one of the teams with sharp photos. They many not be the most exciting, but you feel like you're standing right with the player.

Team with the worst cards: A's or Royals. Thank goodness smiling McRae and Rickey came along.

Team I should go back and review: Mariners. Showing an outfielder in action was a little unusual then and it caught my eye.

National League East

Cubs: Bill Buckner; Expos: Andre Dawson; Mets: Keith Hernandez; Phillies: Pete Rose; Pirates: Bill Madlock; Cardinals: Mike Ramsey.

Team with the best cards: The Phillies have the best cards in the set, lots of good ones. In fact, the NL East teams feature the best cards in the entire set, with the Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates with notables.

Team with the worst cards: Mets. But they aren't that bad.

Team I should go back and review: Expos. The Dawson is so bad-ass, I didn't care that it was dark.

National League West

Braves: Bob Horner; Reds: Bruce Berenyi; Astros: Dickie Thon; Dodgers: Jose Morales; Padres: Ruppert Jones; Giants: Chili Davis.

Team with the best cards: Padres. Another team with sharp photos.

Team with the worst cards: Reds. Ugh. Almost nothing good with this team. Berenyi would be the 13th best card with other teams.

Team I should go back and review: Astros.

I didn't think I would complete another Donruss set besides 1984, but here I am trying to complete its debut set from 1981. It's entirely possible I might try to complete another one, but I won't mention it here for fear someone may bomb my domicile with cardboard.

But for the next post in this series, we'll return to Topps. And it's a good one, too. I'm looking forward to it.


  1. It had to feel like you were playing on the sun in those old Pirate uniforms.

  2. I really love these. And I think you did hit the best for each team. The fact that the set is so wildly uneven when it comes to picture quality is kind of charming I think.

  3. I don't know much about 84 Donruss. Seems like an even better set than I realized after seeing some of these photos.