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Old 12-17-2016, 12:17 AM
mrmopar mrmopar is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 840

I have always really like 83 Donruss and would vote it #1. It was the first year that I bought them in packs in any quantity as it was not that hard to find them and I enjoyed a new level of quality that 81/82 didn't have. The photos were much better, sharp/crisp and there were some nice action cards. 83 also introduced us, although in a much more boring and plain way than subsequent years, to the rated rookie designation that would become a very popular subset for many years to follow.

I also like the next 4 years worth of design (84-87), but I think a big part of liking 84-86 was more because they were impossible to find retail (especially 84-85) and it wasn't until much later (aside from getting a factory set like I did each year) that I even had any amount of 84 singles.

I could take or leave the remaining 6 years, mostly because 81-82 were just poor quality and 88-91 were overproduced and had designs that I don't much care for at all.

Here are 5 that really stick out in my mind, not necessarily for the player selection, but just how the card itself looks to me. I could pick the top rookie from each set, but those cards didn't always appeal to me.
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Looking for: 1974 TCMA Billy Loes Autograph Card
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Old 12-17-2016, 03:06 PM
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KingFisk KingFisk is offline
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My favorite is 1986. Those slick borders and parallelogram pictures...And great rookies like Canseco, McGriff, O'Neill..

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Old 12-17-2016, 07:55 PM
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Jason Jason is offline
Jason Wells
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Richmond,Va
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1990 for me as well.
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Old 12-17-2016, 09:59 PM
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pherbener pherbener is offline
Paul Herbener
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Pa.
Posts: 775

I always thought 1984 was the best. Clean big images and a bit harder to find then the rest. I do wish there were more rookies in it though.
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:57 PM
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Bigdaddy Bigdaddy is offline
Tom J
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: VA
Posts: 494

1984 - Don Mattingly and Strawberry, need I say more?
1983 - the first year that Donruss finally put it all together
1987 - great players and good photography and design
1986 - good design, but photography could be discolored
1990 - great photography and I liked the design, just not so much the red color

and last but not least -

1981 - oh my, tons of errors, gum sticking to the cards, blurry photography, terrible distribution in the packs, two and three of certain players for no apparent reason, thin card stock, etc. Fleer's first effort in 1981 was much better.
Working Sets:
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  • 1964 Topps Giants auto'd - 50/60
  • 1965 Topps - 419/598
  • 1972 Topps - 749/787
  • T206 SLers, Virginia League 7/12
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Old 12-21-2016, 11:52 PM
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sbfinley sbfinley is offline
Steven Finley
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Nashville, Tn
Posts: 1,182

84 and 86 are the classics, but 1991 was the first year I really got into collecting and I opened so much Topps and Donruss that year.
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Old 12-23-2016, 03:18 AM
Rich Klein Rich Klein is offline
Rich Klein
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Plano Tx
Posts: 3,447

1984 was the set which changed Donruss "for the better". The difficulty of finding the cards, the gorgeous design and the two key rookies (Mattingly and Strawberry) made this one of the sets of the 1980's.

Now, Topps had a nice 1983 set, but the card world evolved quickly after the 1984 set, including the prominence of the "Rated Rookies" cards.

So between the importance of the set and the design, 1984 is by far the best and most important Donruss set of that time period.

I will also say, I just received a donation in which there was a significant amount of 1992 Donruss cards in the pile and the 1992 sets is in my opinion, very underrated as to the non monetary aspects. Clean design, lots of space for the pictures, great information on the back with a second player photo. And, while the value may never be there except for the tougher inserts, that set is going to be 25 years old next year and deserves some recognition as well.
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Old 12-23-2016, 02:34 PM
Troy Kirk Troy Kirk is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 95

I have to disagree with Rich on 1984 Donruss, I have always disliked that set because Donruss cut off supply early on that set, artificially creating a card shortage for the first time. The card companies have been manipulating collectors ever since.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:14 PM
bbcard1 bbcard1 is offline
T0dd M@rcum
Join Date: Jul 2009
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The amazing thing about 87 cards in general is that it was at the top of the hype and it was virtually impossible to open a pack that didn't make you a "profit."
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Old 12-25-2016, 11:11 AM
Rich Klein Rich Klein is offline
Rich Klein
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Plano Tx
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Originally Posted by bbcard1 View Post
The amazing thing about 87 cards in general is that it was at the top of the hype and it was virtually impossible to open a pack that didn't make you a "profit."
That fact and inexpensive tables at many local shows, helped to create a whole new generation of dealers and store owners, a few of them are still active to this day
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