Donruss Baseball Card Designs Through the Years

Donruss Baseball Card Designs Through the Years

The hobby changed in a big way in 1981. That was the year Donruss and Fleer joined Topps as the major manufacturers of MLB cards. Donruss baseball enjoyed a run of nearly 20 uninterrupted years as one of the sport's premier brands.

Throughout the 1980s, Donruss baseball sets were very consistent. The main designs maintained a lot of the same elements save for switching to black borders every now and again. Once the 1990s hit and there was a demand for better quality, Donruss baseball rose to the challenge. Starting in 1992, there was higher quality card stock even for the low-end release.In 1994, the brand got its first taste of foil stamping.

However, by this time, base Donruss baseball was getting lost in an increasingly crowded landscape. The focus was shifting to more premium brands and insert-driven configurations.

1998 was the final year of Donruss' first run. It disappeared for a couple of years before being resurrected by Donruss-Playoff in 2001, They  had purchased the brand from the now-bankrupt Pinnacle Brands. 2001 Donruss Baseball does have cards for the two "lost years," but these were inserts and not a full-on release.

Donruss-Playoff continued to release Donruss sets through 2005 when their MLB license was not renewed. But the brand wasn't dead.

It returned for a third run in 2014, this time as a Panini product.

Here's a look at all of the Donruss baseball base designs released between 1981 and 2014. It showcases just how much things changed over the years.

Visual History of Donruss Baseball Cards

1981

1981 Donruss Baseball Tim Raines

1983

1983 Donruss Tony Gwynn

1985

1987

1989

1991

1993

1995

1997

2001

2003

2005

1982

1982 Donruss Cal Ripken Jr

1984

1984 Donruss Don Mattingly

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2002

2004

2014

Top eBay Listings

1989 Donruss Baseball---Packs---Lot Of 10---15 Cards Pack---Griffey, Smoltz RC's
$6.00

2014 Donruss 201 Masahiro Tanaka Rated Rookie Card RC - NM-MT
$15.00

1987 DONRUSS THE ROOKIES ROOKIE CARD OF BARRY BONDS CARD IS VG
$11.95

1987 DONRUSS RED BORDER ROOKIE CARD OF BARRY BONDS CARD IS VG
$11.95

Montreal Expos Tim Raines Signed 1981 Donruss Rookie Auto Card
$19.99

1986 Donruss The Rookies #11 Barry Bonds RC Gem Mint 10 by Precision (not PSA)
$49.99

2008 Donruss Threads CHRIS CARTER AUTO RC # 499 Autograph Brewers MINT #52
$32.00

2008 Donruss Threads #149 Rookie Autograph Yohermyn Chavez 999 Auto Card 0m0
$10.23

2008 Donruss Threads Gold Signatures 116 Hector Correa 100 Auto Rookie Card 0m0
$9.24

2008 Donruss Threads #143 Rookie Autograph Jharmidy DeJesus 465 Auto Card 0m0
$10.23

ANTHONY RIZZO CUBS 2008 DONRUSS DIAMOND KINGS AUTOGRAPH ROOKIE CARD #080 500
$89.99

4 Card RYAN HOWARD MLB Baseball Donruss Fleer UD ROOKIE Lot - PHILLIES w HAMELS
$9.99

1990 donruss #489 SAMMY SOSA chicago white sox rookie BGS 9.5 (9.5 9.5 9 9.5)
$20.00

1987 DONRUSS #361 BARRY BONDS RC NM-MT
$9.99

2008 Donruss Threads 162 Rookie Class Autograph Chris Johnson 280 Auto Card 0m0
$30.25

1987 Donruss Complete Factory Sealed Baseball Cards Set McGwire Bonds Rookie
$19.80
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Ryan Cracknell

E-Mail Author | 
Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff. His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

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