Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Donruss Diamond Kings, Cubs Style

A little while back, Emerald City Diamond Gems had a couple posts showing all of the Mariners Diamond King Cards. It was a cool post and it was an idea that I had been thinking about too. Really, I was! In fact, I had just picked up my last couple Diamond Kings a few days before his post.

Any other bloggers out there have an idea that showed up in another blog before you got to it?

Well, I'm still going to go ahead with the post!

When Donruss first came out with the Diamond Kings in 1982, I thought it was a great thing. It was certainly something that Topps had never done and it gave Donruss something unique.

From 1982 - 1991 there was a Diamond King for each team. And they seemed to try and not have any repeat players. Ryne Sandberg was the first two-time Cubs Diamond King, 1985 and 1991. Otherwise, during this run it was someone different each season. Some years it seemed like Donruss was hard pressed to come up with someone....1981 Ivan DeJesus....1986 Davey Lopes.

From 1992 - 1998 the Diamond King cards went from a subset of the base set to an insert. Up thought 1996 there was still one card per team. But in 1997 and 1998 the number of DKs was reduced to only 10 in '97 and 20 in '98. Donruss also saw fit to not include any Cubs either of those two seasons.

When Donruss came out of bankruptcy for the 2001 season, Diamond Kings returned, too. There were 20 DKs and they were inserts, numbered to 2,500 from '01 - '02. For the last three years, the print run of the DKs was limited (2500, 2500, and 2005), but the cards weren't numbered.

Enough of the history....lets see the cards.

1982 - Ivan DeJesus hit .194 for the Cubs in 1981, and that qualified him to be the Cubs initial Diamond King. How messed up is that?

1983 - Much better, with Billy Buck

1984 - Leon Durham

1985 - Ryne Sandberg was the NL MVP in 1984, which made him good enough to be a Diamond King

1986: Lopes wasn't even a regular for the '85 Cubs, how did he get to be a Diamond King?

1987 - Keith Moreland

1988 - Andre Dawson, who was the NL MVP in 1987

1989 - Mark Grace, who was a rookie in 1988 and a Diamond King a year later.

1990 - Mike Bielecki; you might scratch your head with this pick, but in my opinion, he was the ace of the Cubs division winning staff in 1989

1991 - Ryne Sandberg, the first Cubs DK repeat

1992 - George Bell, this is the second time a Cubs DK didn't even play for the team the season he was featured (DeJesus in 1982 was the first)

1993 - Ryne Sandberg III

1994 - Rick Wilkens, he had a career year in 1993

1995 - Sammy Sosa, his first of a team-leading five appearances

1996 - Mark Grace, making his second appearance

There were no Cubs in 1997 and 1998, and no Donruss in 1999 and 2000

2001 - Sammy Sosa card is #1673/2500

2002 - Sammy Sosa III...#2418/2500

2003 - Sammy Sosa IV

2004 - Mark Prior

2005 - Sammy Sosa V

2005 - Kerry Wood, the only season the Cubs had two Diamond Kings

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