My sports heroes
“Wait a minute, dude…Dick Perez wasn’t an athlete!” No, but he was a sports artist. The mastermind behind the Donruss Diamond Kings artwork from 1982-1996, Perez influenced me to become a sports artist. I never actually became one, because my skills are nowhere near that of a professional, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming.
Now that I finally have all my Reds cards in binders, I want to focus on obtaining more Diamond Kings. I believe I have the complete series from 1988-1991, but I am seriously lacking in the early years and the later years. I also want to collect the “Gallery of Stars” cards from 1992 and 1993 Triple Play, as well as the special “Canadian Great” cards that were issued in Leaf sets from 1985-1988. I have compiled a master checklist of these cards, and over the next few weeks will be crossing off the ones I have. So if you have some DK’s collecting dust in your 5,000-count boxes and you want to find them a good home, I’d be more than happy to provide that.
Diamond Kings were the thing that set Donruss apart from Fleer and Topps. Beautifully painted artwork, shrunk down to collectible size, they were always the highlight of the wax pack for me. Nothing thrilled me more than pulling a DK from a pack.
A couple of quick notes…I am not interested in getting every version of the DK’s (i.e. the Trammel/Trammell variations, or the colored/non-colored banners of the Eric Davis variety). Just one of each will do. And I intend to sort the 1982-1990 cards by team, not by year. 1991 and beyond, I have not decided for sure how I will handle those. But 1982-1990 would fit in a 9-pocket binder perfectly, and there is a certain continuity with the large portrait and small action sketch in the corner. Perez departed from that formula in 1991.
Perhaps, if I am able to complete the earlier sets, I may start another blog dedicated just to Diamond Kings. I realize the later sets will be a bit more difficult to complete, as they became more limited. But for those first 10 years, they were readily available and should be littering nickel and dime boxes and cards shops and shows all over the country. I don’t expect it will be too difficult to get 1982-1987 complete…heck, there were even fewer teams in the majors back then!
Wish me luck…and if you’re not already familiar with Dick Perez, visit his website and click through some of his online galleries of Diamond Kings, Turkey Reds, Hall of Fame postcards and more. If you like what you see, like his work on Facebook.