Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Even More of the 1980 Donruss Set that Never Was

All-Stars, Leaders, Traded, World Series and Diamond Kings

Dave Winfield went 1 for 5 with one RBI and a run scored in the 1979 All-Star game. He grounded into a fielder's choice. With Gary Matthews on first and Mike Schmidt on third, Matthews was out at second and Schmidt scored. In his second at bat he doubled to the right field gap. He scored on a Gary Carter single.

Lynn's only at bat was a two-run homer off Steve Carlton scoring Don Baylor. That gave the American league a 3-2 lead in a back and forth game that was decided in the 9th inning. In the top og the 9th, Jim Kern (who was the 1979 Rolaids Relief Man award winner) walked the bases loaded. He was pulled for Ron Guidry who walked in the winning run. The NL won their 8th straight ASG 7-6.

For the 1980 All-Stars I borrowed the look from the 1990 Donruss MVP.  I added All-Star text to the background similar to the MVP. Although the 1990 is much more similar to the base. I ditched one of the banners to give it a cleaner look.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Donruss ever had League Leader cards.  If they did, they weren't in the familiar Topps format. But for the sake of this imaginary set, I've created just that. I chose to do them in the Topps style from the '70s with a single card with the AL and the NL leader.

I picked this card because the Brothers Niekro actually tied for the most wins in 1979 with 21 wins each. Of course with knuckleballers you take the good with the bad.  Joe also led the league in wild pitches. Phil led the league in homeruns surrendered. In the AL Mike Flanagan had a career high 23 victories.  He also had career highs in shutouts  with 5 and strikeouts with 190. He was the AL Cy Young award winner.

Even though these guys led their respective leagues in homers, neither look too happy here.  Maybe because both of them also led their leagues in strikeouts.  Yup, Dave Kingman smashed 48 dingers and whiffed 131 times. In the AL, Gorman Thomas hit 45 round-trippers but fanned an incredible 175 times.

As for the traded cards, I reversed he players names and team names and tried to create a "traded" icon in the same vein as the "Rated Rookie" icon. A couple of big name trades here. Nolan Ryan was a free agent who signed a 4 year $4.5M with his hometown Astros.  He became the first player to earn more than $1M a year.  The Angels GM, Buzzie Bavasi reportedly commented that Ryan "could easily be replace by two 8-7 pitchers", referring to his 1979 record of 16-14.  

In 1980, Rusty Staub was competing with Warren Cromartie for first base. The Expos ended up dumping him for two nobodies at the end of  spring training. Rusty ended up sharing time as DH, first base and outfield for the Rangers. He hit an even .300 in a somewhat limited role. He was traded to the Mets the following season for the second time.
In some sets, Donruss did include World Series cards. But they weren't quite the same as we were used to with Topps.  They were visually similar to the player's card except with a World Series logo on the front. The back would detail their World Series feats.  I kept mine similar to Topps but included the World series logo.  In this particular card you can see Ed Ott easily tagging out Eddie Murray after a laser throw from Dave Parker.

It wasn't until their second issue in 1982 that Donruss included their Diamond Kings subset. But I've got one for the 1980 set. While Donruss relied on Dick Perez for their art, I tried to use photo effects to recreate the style.  Here is "Stretch" McCovey on a 1980 style Diamond Kings card.

As usual, I am taking request for cards based on this design. So if there are any players or even subsets you'd like to see in a future post, leave a comment.


  1. Nice set of cards. And, as always, you tease us with the WS cards. ;)

  2. I love this series.
    Maybe a few of the World Champion Pirates and the Indians?

  3. I love All-Star cards and those are great. My favorite though is that World Series card. Pivotal moment in the series and great photo. Fun post.