I have to start somewhere, so for January, I'll 'begin at the beginning'. That's right, the originals, the 1982 Donruss Diamond Kings!
Me being THE Diamond King, I have tons of inside information to share on this set! Never before revealed trivia and minutia! For example, Dick Perez of Perez/Steele galleries was the man who created the art for the 1982 Diamond Kings set. See? Your learning already! OK, that was lame. But I bet most of you didn't know that Donruss didn't even pick the players for the set, but Perez and Frank Steele chose, based on the previous years performance? Awesome! I want to do that! THEY were the ones that determined to have exactly one player from each team too.
That brings us to the players featured on the 1982 series. Keep in mind that they were chosen by Perez/Steele...
1 Pete Rose - First DK ever!
2 Gary Carter - Nice looking card, one of my faves in this set. Gary's having a tough time with brain cancer right now...
3 Steve Garvey - more on him later
4 Vida Blue
5 Alan Trammell - Another of my faves from this set
6 Len Barker
7 Dwight Evans
8 Rod Carew - awesome! I miss his weird batting stance.
10 Phil Niekro
11 Richie Zisk - Him and Alvin Davis were the only Mariners worth knowing for a while
12 Dave Parker
13 Nolan Ryan
14 Ivan DeJesus - He looks like a strongman. Nice drawing.
15 George Brett
16 Tom Seaver
17 Dave Kingman - I love this one, plus it's the only one that is so off center that his head covers the banner
19 Mike Norris
20 Carlton Fisk
21 Ozzie Smith
22 Roy Smalley - I don't know why I like this one so much, but I do. Smalley could have been in Alvin and the Chipmunks
23 Buddy Bell
24 Ken Singleton
25 John Mayberry
26 Gorman Thomas - Classic Gorman! The name Gorman Thomas makes me think 'drunk and happy'. Oh, and strikeouts.
One selection that is questioned all the time is Garvey for the Dodgers. 1981, if you weren't around, was the year of Fernando-mania! He was totally the man! Maybe Perez and Steele didn't put much stock into rookies? Fernando made it into the next year's DK's, but I bet he loses sleep to this day over not being in the originals!
The layout and design of the cards is EXTREMELY close to that of the 1983 Diamond Kings. So close, in fact, that the 2 sets are often mistaken for each other. Also, all of the backgrounds are horizontal stripey patterns except for the Mayberry and Thomas plus 1/2 of the Carew and Smith. I wonder if that was a deliberate decision or what?
The 82 set also features the 1st Diamond kings error - No surprise there, Donruss had errors coming out their noses in those days! This time it was a simple misspelling. Allen Trammel was spelled with one too few L's. Allen Trammel. Like all errors, this one is still worth hundreds of dollars today! Or not?
I'll try to get next months Diamond Kings post before the very end of the month!