1990 Donruss Baseball Review

1990 Donruss Baseball Review

Staff Rating:
0 / 5.0

Good: Can be thrown away or recycled, the perfect balance between "crap" and "suck", Quad Harold Baines Error, Errors and Corrected Errors, Set contains actual Major League Baseball Players

Bad: The Burden Of a Generation, You can never throw away all of them, crappy card design, millions upon millions print run, may or may not contain asbestos

Bottom Line:
The "Red Menace" as they would later become known as kicked off the worst decade in sports card history. With the drop of 1990 Donruss, the sports card "Cold War" officially began. If only the folks at Donruss realized the burden an entire generation would have to carry! No matter how many times you think you've properly disposed of a "Red Border", 5 seemingly appear out of thin air to replace the one you just destroyed. Is it spite or perhaps Magic? I am inclined to rule out "magic", as "magic" is usually fun and interesting.

If you enjoy the worst things in life, then 1990 Donruss is "livin' the dream". With a box price of around $5, I would highly suggest that you not make eye contact with the product. The last thing we need is more 1990 Donruss in circulation! As long as the box remains sealed, we will at least be able to semi-control the problem until a once in a generation genius comes along and solves the issue for good.

Design: .0133/5
The base set design strikes a perfect balance of "crap" and "suck". The bright red color scheme is like taking a laser pointer to the eye. That's not to say there isn't some cool design in this vintage relic of baseball americana. The error cards, though not intentional, "suck" but I am less inclined to say they are both "crap" and "suck".

Checklist: 5/5
Now this is a Checklist you can get behind! Over 700+ baseballers in a single set!  They even have error versions and corrected error versions within the same base set, behold the beauty of "after the fact" printing. Uncorrected error fans fear not, there's a "mystery pack" worth of those too!

Below are a few of the trading card treats one can expect from a box of 1990 Donruss:

  • Scott Garrelts ERR 217A (Born 10/20) and 217B (Born 10/30)!!!
  • Pedro Guerrero ERR 674A ("Recent Major League Performan") and 674B ("Recent Major League Performance")!!!!
  • Andy Nezelek ERR 523A (Wrong Birth Year) and 523B (Right Birth Year)!!!!!
  • Harold Baines 660A (AS Error), 660B (AS CORRECTED/ERROR), 660C (ERROR/CORRECTED), 660D (Black Line Behind Star On Front) - The Ever Elusive QUAD ERROR!!!!!!!!!!!

Value: -2/5
The hardest part is deciding whether you want to put the entire base set together with or without the errors. "Theoretically", the set value with the errors nearly triples from $3.00 to perhaps $7.25. Anytime you can have fun and only lose $30 putting a set together is a win-win scenario, especially if you don't believe in a "no-win scenario".

Errors are usually worth something due to rarity, but when you print hundreds of thousands of millions of that error, there  is no value to be had. But that's the neat part, it means more "case hits" to go around! As a matter a fact, I bet there's over 1,000,000 undiscovered "case hits" just waiting to be ripped in the basement of the worst investment mind in America. But will he sell?

Enjoyment: .02/5
It's hard to enjoy a product that wreaks like a perfect mix of crappy cardboard, mold, dust mites, and a hint of something I can't put my finger on (perhaps asbestos?). Once you get past all the detractors, you'll find that 1990 Donruss offers even more detractors than you first realized. Which is fun if you like semi-surprises and learning more about things, albeit a baseball card or book about baseball.

Box Break:

1990 Donruss Baseball Review 12
1990 Donruss Baseball Review 16

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Brett is a former contributor to The Cardboard Connection.

User Comments

  1. So true! You really had to be a part of it to understand it althoughyour reviewdoes it great justice. The early 90’s ruinedcard collecting for me. I am just now getting pulledback into it. Thansks.

  2. Don’t forget the Juan Gonzalez error card with the backwards “19”!

  3. But was it really an error? Maybe it’s part of a 20-year old 1990 Donruss “code” that has yet to be solved and the first person to solve it gets the entire 1990 Donruss set and a card of themselves in 2020 Donruss Elite Extra Edition.

  4. Brett, you didn’t publish my completely legitimate comment that I prefer these cards to 2010 topps tribute with its snipped up jerseys?

  5. Sorry, what happened is that there was a technical problem with the post and I had to transfer the article to the new post. I couldn’t figure out a way of transfering your comment without pretending to be you. If you want to make the same comment, i will approve ASAP.

  6. lol I kinda think their cool…there’s worse designed cards for sure…those may suck but I think they kinda grow on a person cause they suck lol

  7. So what sucks more…..1990 Donruss or 1991 Fleer?

    Man did the 90’s suck for card collecting…. At least I had my Nirvana and Pearl Jam CD’s to keep me entertained…..

  8. It all comes down which color scheme is more offensive to the eye, bright red or bright yellow. 1991 Donruss was pretty horrible as well. On a side note, the first CD’s I ever bought were Nirvana Unplugged, Pearl Jam Ten, and GNR Appetite For Destruction.

  9. Ah, it’s all good; thanks for clarifying.

    I guess I just don’t understand what’s so interesting about cut up jerseys, bats, etc. But you know how it’s hard to dissociate your fond early memories of cards or music or whatever? I mean looking back, yes, the 1990 Donruss design was pretty terrible, but a lot of us grew up with it and still have good memories of it.

  10. I have a john smoltz card with tom glavin’s picture on it. can anyone tell me what it is worth? its a 1990 donruss

  11. God, worst set ever possibly. I have a set. Should I just throw it out or actually spend 5 minutes to pull out Griffey Sosa etc. At this point, who in their right mind would actually buy this crap… ever?!?!?

  12. I remember being a young lad back in the early 90’s and being soooo excited to bust open some old baseball packs that had future hall of famers in them!! Well, that was a severely crushed dream with the 1990 donruss baseball set. It sucks so bad, that there has to be some higher power based conspiracy theory behind this set! I’m working on a theory that links the DaVinci code with this craptastic set, i’ll keep you posted on what I find. Godspeed.

  13. i have a 1990 donruss cb/12 card off john smoltz with his name and statics on card and tom glavins picture on front of card is this card commin iin this set.

  14. How does a company like Donruss go from the high of the 1984 set to the lows of the 1988 and 1990 set? I really believe companies from this era had some secret side bet to see who could produce the ugliest looking cards ever made.

  15. 1990 donruss can’t be any worse then the dreaded 1991 Fleer (the old yellow monster.)


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