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1983 Donruss and the search for a Hall of Fame rookie card

pack 1

pack 2

I picked up two rack packs of 1983 Donruss last night at the Redsfest for $1 each. I thought surely they were just in the wrong place on the table, but no…$1 each. And with a Reggie Jackson Diamond King showing on top, how could I resist?

Of course, the only real reason to buy packs from 1983 is to find a rookie card of Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, or Ryne Sandberg. So did I do it? Find out after the jump…

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Happy birthday Dick Perez!

Eric Davis Diamond King by Dick Perez

I have expressed on many occasions my deep admiration for Dick Perez, especially for his work on the Donruss Diamond Kings baseball cards. He was an inspiration to me as a young person, even though I did not follow the path of art past high school. I still enjoy looking back at the Diamond Kings, especially those produced from 1982 through 1990.

My sports heroes

Growing up, there were certain people I admired in the world of sports…Chris Sabo, Eric Davis, Michael Jordan, Ickey Woods. Oh yeah, and Dick Perez.

“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.

It took less than a week

Last Saturday, I posted my “Most Wanted!” list at the behest of Night Owl. And in less than a week, one of those cards needs to be replaced, as I received in the mail today…

John of Johngy’s Beat said he would like to see a “virtual” 2009 Topps card of Bill Plummer, former backup catcher for the Redlegs. I made two, and as payment for services (?) rendered, he sent me the 1985 Donruss Mario Soto Diamond Kings card.

Thank you, Night Owl for the suggestion. Thank you, Johngy’s Beat for the card!

Now to figure out what to replace that “Most Wanted!” slot with…

Who wants to lend me a couple of C-notes?

Better yet, my birthday is coming in a few months…


Dick Perez, a Hall of Famer in my book

Cooperstown honors baseball players, umpires, managers, broadcasters, writers, etc. Why not an artist? Dick Perez was the artist of the Donruss Diamond Kings from 1982-1997, and they were consistently my favorite cards of any set each year. I had dreams of growing up to be an artist like Perez, working for a baseball card company and producing “art cards” for them. Unfortunately, as with most of my dreams, I gave up on that a long time ago. Read the rest of this entry

Fun cards (original artwork)

One of my heroes growing up was Dick Perez, the artist of Donruss’ Diamond Kings in the 1980s. I was always doodling as a kid, drawing baseball players and football players all the time. I even made one of my own “Diamond Kings” (although I should have called it a “Gridiron King”) of Bengals star running back Ickey Woods. The following year, I went to the Bengals training camp in Georgetown, Kentucky, and got it autographed (along with a ton of other cards and a Sports Illustrated with Ickey on the cover). Click on the thumbnail below for a (much) larger scan…

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