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1982 Donruss Baseball

By Patrick Mondout

Donruss' first set of cards was better than expected, but there were problems. Many were addressed in this second set, which weighed in at 660 cards.

First and foremost, the cards were printed on thicker cardboard, consistent with what Fleer and Topps had been using. Second, there were far fewer errors1 (a notable error that was corrected was the Phil Garner reversed negative; see below). Lastly, the backs of the cards were greatly improved with a format more like what we had come to expect from Topps and now Fleer.

One welcome and unique new feature was the first ever subset of 26 Diamond Kings. One player for each team was selected and a portrait was painted by noted Philadelphia sports artist Dick Perez of Perez-Steele Galleries. There was even a special card of Dick himself (see below).

If you've ever worked with watercolors - which was the medium of the Diamond Kings - you know what an achievement these cards were. After about six years of these subsets, collectors became lukewarm towards them. But at first they were warmly received and helped show that Donruss could be innovative. (Read more about the Diamond Kings and Dick Perez here.)

The cards were distributed in 15 card packs for a suggested retail of 30 (down from the 18 cards offered the year before - but then they were thinner). As Topps had won an appeal in the original Fleer case, neither Donruss nor Fleer were allowed to include gum (or other "confectionary" products) with their cards. They were also not allowed to sell them at retail locations by themselves (that is, without some other product - such as the stickers that Fleer chose to include in their packs). Therefore, Donruss included very thick cardboard puzzle pieces with each pack. There were also factory sets for the first time, though none were sealed as would later become the practice.

The Bambino!

Babe Ruth was the first subject of the annual Donruss Hall of Fame puzzles. Donruss was required - as a result of the '81 appeals court decision - to put something other than gum in each pack. Each pack contained three pieces of the 63-piece puzzle, that could be punched out to complete the painting.

The major rookie card is obviously Cal Ripken. Others include Kent Hrbek, George Bell, Dave Stewart, Steve Sax, Terry Francona, Brett Butler and Lee Smith. The first Donruss cards of Fernando Valenzuela, Kirk Gibson and Harold Baines also appear.

A checklist for all 660 cards is available here.


1982 Donruss at a Glance
Back Checklist Wax Pack
San Diego Chicken Pride of the Reds Bronx Bombers
Garner Error Dick Perez Diamond Kings


1. Donruss managed to get Andre Dawson's middle name wrong for a second consecutive season - a new record. For the record, it's Nolan, not Fernando.



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Year: 1982

Manufacturer: Donruss

# of Cards: 660 (Checklist)

Value/Price: Check eBay (see links below)

Size: 2 x 3

Image courtesy of Donruss

'82 Donruss Sets!
'82 Donruss Singles!
'82 Donruss Unopened Packs!
'82 Donruss Lots!
'82 Donruss Cases!

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