Donruss Champions from @REALjtCarter

One of the things that amazes me most about the card community on Twitter is not just everyone’s generosity but how immediate that generosity is. The most-recent example of this is a package from Jason (@REALjtCarter) consisting of a bunch of packs of Donruss Champions. A week ago another Twitter contact received a similar package and I responded with an enthusiastic “Cool! I never saw these when I was little.” And that was enough for me to get an offer for my own package of cards from someone who I wasn’t even following at the time.

The reason I responded to these cards in the first place was because my general approach to Twitter is to be excited about when people share things; following the first rule of improv comedy is a very healthy way to internet. For a set released by one of the three main card companies of the 1980s to be something I’d never come across is noteworthy and exciting—especially when it’s a set of oversized cards.

It’s hard to tell in a photo but these are 3.5×5″—exactly twice the size of a standard card. I’ve always been a sucker for oversized cards and these are pretty nice in how photo-centric they are.* The checklist is a who’s-who of early 1980s baseball which, while not representing the time period I was a big time fan is a great mix of well-established stars from my youth with aging all-time greats.

*The less saids about the early-1980s offset printing the better.

Carl Hubbell is the only one Giant in the set and I was pleased to see him peering at me from the top of one pack. Somewhat amazingly for 1980s pack collation, I found no duplicates between these packs so I now have 25 of the 60 cards in this set including Wade Boggs, Cy Young, Mike Schmidt, Gaylord Perry, Bert Blyleven, and Rod Carew.

Jason didn’t just stop there though and included three team bags full of Giants cards as well. Most of these were newer cards but there were a couple dozen “old” ones as well. The most noteworthy ones for me are the three Baseball Card Magazine versions of 1960s Topps designs. I’ve seen photos of those but had never come across any real-life samples before.

This entire batch of cards is amazingly solid in terms of not having many duplicates with my childhood collection. I’m pretty sure that 90% of these are new to my collection—including all the Topps cards.

The 1993 minis are fun (I have the 1991 and 1992 sets but didn’t get the 1993 one). Topps Gold is always appreciated as a throwback to the age when parallels were just beginning  and hadn’t been beaten into the ground yet. 1993 Donruss is a set which I didn’t collect much at all so I have just a few representative packs. And that Studio 91 Garrelts card is great; it’s wonderful to see a photo of him without his glasses on. I need to get more of this set since I still like the photography in it.

A bunch of assorted Bowman, Fleer, Skybox, Leaf, Donruss and Panini cards. I still don’t understand Bowman as a brand but I’m happy to get Giants prospects and I’m glad it exists for my Stanford Project. Skybox and Leaf are both mid-90s releases which would’ve been out of my price range at the time if I were still collecting cards. But most everything here are not just cards I don’t have but come from sets which I don’t have any examples from either.

Of this batch I have to admit that the super-shiny silver Leafs catch my eye despite my typical aversion to that kind of shiny stuff.  I also have to admit that as much as I complain about being unable to distinguish the Topps designs from 2009–2014, the Bowman designs demonstrate how much worse that can be. Oh and it’s always fun to come across a Christy Mathewson card

Most of my modern collection is Topps. This is partly due to the amount of upheaval in the other brands in the 1990s and 2000s and partly due to how it seems like Topps duplicates are what everyone ends up with. So I have none of these Upper Deck cards and it’s quite possible these are all the first examples from these sets too.

Looking at these and even the designs which are overkill have me missing Upper Deck in today’s baseball card universe. As much as I’m a Topps guy, I readily admit that Upper Deck had its own style which would be a welcome change of pace today.

And finally to cards which I’m more likely to have dupes of. Though still not as many as would be expected. The 2001 Bobby Thomson card is great. It’s always nice to see 2010 cards and be reminded of that first World Series team. And that Gaylord Perry reprint rookie card is likely as close as I’ll ever get to the real thing. I’m also mostly unfamiliar with the Bazooka cards so that’s a noteworthy addition too.

2012–2014 continues the good Giants memories both with the 2012 and 2014 teams as well as the celebration card in 2013. Not much to say about these except to note that I enjoyed the Spot the Difference card and it took me a bit too long to find that the bat knob was missing on one side.

And 2016–2018 takes us into the full-bleed years. Putting them all together this way confirms how much better the 2018 design and photography are.  The Holiday cards are still bizarre to me even though I think I prefer the snowflakes to the needless smoke design in Flagship.

Anyway all told and including the duplicates that Jason included in this package I only ended up with 15 dupes at the end of sorting.* This is pretty damn amazing out of a batch of ~140 cards and I need to start saving Reds cards to send a thank you package back.

*This is a slight undercount since some cards like the Austin Slater 2017 Update card can fit in multiple albums so duplicates are appreciated.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

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