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

1990 DONRUSS CHICAGO WHITE SOX SAMMY SOSA RC #489 BGS 8.5 NM-MT+
$6.00

1986 Donruss Rookies Barry Bonds Pittsburg Pirates RC PSA 7
$7.99

1983 DONRUSS CAL RIPKEN JR. CARD #279 WITH GAME USED ROOKIE BAT BGS 9 9 9 5 GU
$42.88

1987 DONRUSS KEVIN BROWN #627 (8) CT PSA 9 ROOKIE RC LOT + 117 NON-RC CARDS
$27.88

1999 FLEER UPDATE JOSH BECKETT ROOKIE RC LOT #U122 & GU JSY CARD #D 100 DONRUSS
$24.88

2002 DONRUSS DIAMOND KINGS OLIVER PEREZ BGS 9.5 GEM MINT W 10 RC POP: 12
$14.88

COMPLETE SET -1987 DONRUSS "THE ROOKIES" (BASEBALL)- 56 CARDS - MADDUX RC
$8.99

007949043 - 1987 Donruss Barry Bonds #361 Rookie BGS 8.5 N MINT+ Card Pirates
$12.99

2008 Donruss Threads Mike Giancarlo Stanton Rookie Auto 465-Wow-Sizzling Hot
$225.00

1990 DONRUSS SAMMY SOSA ROOKIE GRADED MINT 9
$5.50

1991 DONRUSS JEFF BAGWELL GRADED MINT 9 ROOKIE CARD
$5.50

BARRY LARKIN 1987 FLEER #204 + DONRUSS #492 (21) CT ROOKIE CARD RC LOT GLOSSY
$29.88

2004 DONRUSS THROWBACKS #243 FREDDY GUZMAN ROOKIE CARD BLUE #5 10 - SD PADRES
$8.05

1987 DONRUSS THE ROOKIES SET Greg Maddux McGriff McGwire Rookie
$15.00

CURT SCHILLING 1989 DONRUSS ROOKIE #635 BGS 9 W 9.5 MINT LOT OF (8) ONLY TRUE RC
$49.88

CURT SCHILLING 1989 DONRUSS ROOKIE RC #635 LOT (2) BGS 9.5 GEM MINT + BCCG 10
$27.88
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Ryan Cracknell

E-Mail Author | 
Ryan's 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. Ryan can be found on Twitter @tradercracks and Google+.

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