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1988 Donruss Baseball

By Patrick Mondout

Donruss, which had transformed itself from a company with the least valuable and desirable cards to the company whose cards were the most anticipated by collectors each years, finally decided to cash in on its "limited production" cachet.

The 1988 Donruss cards were printed is sufficient supplies to ensure everyone who wanted one - and their decedents - would have no trouble finding one. Complete factory sets can be purchased on eBay for less than their 1988 suggested retail unadjusted for inflation. In fact, I just watched one draw zero bids with a starting price of only $4.88 on eBay!

As with the '87 set, it is easy to differentiate between cards that were issued in packs and those that shipped in factory sets. This time, it was the border on the front. Compare the border of the George Brett card on the right with the border on the George Bell card below. The difference is the orientation of the blue portion (top-left & bottom-right for the Brett and cards in packs, and top-right & bottom-left for the Bell and factory sets).

Wax packs featured 15 cards and 3 pieces of a Stan Musial puzzle. They also featured randomly inserted Team MVP cards (see George Bell below). One player from each time was designated a Team MVP by Donruss, which presumably was a higher status than merely "Diamond King." The cards were only available in packs and created interest before everyone figured out that they '88 Donruss cards were overabundant.

Perhaps in a bid to create artificial scarcity knowing that their cover would be blown, the 26 "Team MVP" cards were printed on existing sheets from the 660 card set. That is, they took the place of 26 cards from the set in either an earlier or, more likely, later printing of these sheets. This means that there are 26 short printed cards. It would be a mistake to call them scarce, but they are less plentiful. The "SP" cards include the David Wells rookie.

In addition to Wells, other notable rookie cards include Ellis Burks, Jay Bell, Tom Glavine, Roberto Alomar, Ken Caminiti, Matt Williams, and Mark Grace. This is a respectable group, but not up to the lofty '87 Donruss standards.

A special bonus card of Kirby Puckett was included in so-called blister packs.

A checklist for all 660 cards is available here.


1988 Donruss at a Glance
Back Checklist Wax Pack
Diamond Kings Team MVPs Ripken Family


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Year: 1988

Manufacturer: Donruss

# of Cards: 660 (Checklist)

Value/Price: Check eBay (see links below)

Size: 2 x 3

Image courtesy of Donruss

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

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