30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Super Bubblegum Sluggers

When it comes to Donruss baseball cards, they'll forever be associated by me as the company who teamed up with Dick Perez and produced amazing puzzles and Diamond Kings subsets for over a decade.

They also produced two separate pack released products: 1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes and 1984 Donruss Champions.  Both of these sets feature beautiful paintings of baseball legends by Mr. Perez and are two of the coolest oddball sets from the 80's.

I always wondered why Donruss and Perez didn't continue producing sets, especially since the hobby was starting to boom during that era.

Well... a few months ago I found out that they did.

In 1985, Donruss produced a set of eight oversized cards featuring Perez's artwork.  Unlike the other two oddball issues, these cards were not issued in packs.  Collectors found them on the backs of Super Bubble and Color Bubbles bubble gum boxes.

Both brands featured the exact same checklist, artwork, and resemble the boxes of Bazooka bubble gum I'd buy at Long's Drug Store when I was a kid.  Here's a look at the entire set:

#1 The Sultan of Swat

#2 The Splendid Splinter

#3 The Iron Horse

#4 The Big Cat

#5 Stan the Man

#6 The Commerce Comet

#7 Hammerin' Hank

#8 The Judge

Since these were printed on boxes of bubble gum, these are a lot larger than your standard trading card.  They measure 3.5" x 6.5" and unfortunately there are no statistics printed on the back.  The only information provided is found on the front:  the player's name, their career slugging percentage, and the card number.

If you're interested in purchasing singles, you can find them on eBay for a couple of bucks.  I waited around and eventually picked up both of my sets for $28 delivered.  In terms of storage and display, they aren't very collector friendly.  I originally planned on cutting them out, but for the time being I've left them intact as complete boxes.

Okay... it's your turn.

Are you a fan of Perez's artwork?  Are these oversized cards, your cup of tea?  Would you keep them intact or cut them up?

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!


  1. I think some of Perez's work is very good, and other work is pretty bad. These cards look pretty nice. There are some Diamond Kings that look terrible, though.

    You know me -- I love oddballs, so of course these are my cup of tea.

    As for cutting them up or keeping them intact, well, I still have a bunch of wax boxes with cards on the bottom that are still intact. I tend to leave things in one piece.

  2. I agree with Tony.. Most of the Perez stuff is very well done. Love the T. Williams

  3. I love Perez. One large part of my collection is an incomplete (but still building) run of Diamond Kings singles from '82 to present. I have this set as well, intact on the boxes like yours. Of course any oddball is more fun, including the oversized cards.

    When I was a kid I'd get all the wax box bottoms from the stores that I could, but I tended to cut them out. And I wasn't very good at it. Topps put cards back on the bottom of boxes somewhat recently and I got some of them, but I think I trimmed them to the full bottom size as an uncut sheet instead of keeping the entire box.

    These will be kept intact; I think if I so desired I could reassemble the boxes and display them like that on a shelf. A small bit of rice or something in the bottom of the box will help keep it from falling over.

  4. I love the concept, appreciate the execution... but I'm underwhelmed by the checklist. Yes, yes, I know, "Underwhelmed?!? They're HOFers! STONE THE HERETIC!", but with the possible exception of Frank Robinson, none of the subjects get me excited. But, as I said, I love the concept.

    Since they' would be somewhat awkward to store no matter what you do, I would leave them intact.

  5. I'm kind of indifferent to the artwork, although I love oddballs, so I would be interested in them. I would also leave them intact.

  6. I like a lot of Dick Perez's work though there were some DK artwork that was disappointing but not to often. I used to like the tallboy style cards like the Fleer NBA Jam Session cards from the 1990s but I do not care for them now, the same with minis.

  7. I think I would keep them intact. As far as the artwork goes those look pretty nice.

  8. Tony - Terrible Diamond Kings? Sounds like the topic of a future post. Off the top of my head, I can't remember any I thought were super bad. However, we're all human so I don't doubt that Perez has some he'd like to have back.

    Mark - That's one of my favorites too.

    Ryan - If I ever buy my dream house, then I'll definitely display these in my man cave. Btw... I received the box. I'm currently on Spring Break and have been in and out of the house. But I'll be busting it open soon. Thanks again for helping me out.

    shlabotnikreport - I know they based it on the career slugging percentage leaders at the time and they missed out on a few key names on the list (Jimmie Foxx and Willie Mays). However had they added them, Frank would have been probably dropped since he had the lowest slugging percentage of the lot.

    Swing & A Pop-up - Looks like most of us can appreciate a good oddball.

    Corky - Loved the tallboy sized cards of the mid 90's era... and minis are even better. What changed for you? Storage issues?

    Matthew - The verdict is in. Intact wins by a landslide.

    1. I had picked up some of the Tall Boy sleeves for my binder but I think what started my conversion to not liking them any longer was that they just weren't making many sets. Fleer released a couple for baseball and basketball Tall Boy sets in the mid-90s and Topps made a Star Wars Widevsion but that was it. I guess I just lost interest but I do still have some of those cards left in my collection but they are in the bottom of a storage bin.

    2. Yeah, I was kind of bummed that we never saw anymore Tall Boy sets either. I missed out on the opportunity to buy some Ultra Pro plastic boxes that were specially made for the Tall Boys If they ever caught on again, maybe they'd make more supplies specifically for them.

  9. It's missing some "Say Hey" but those look very nice, art-wise. I can't see not keeping something you collect intact, but that's just me.

    1. Yeah... it would have been nice to see Willie in the set.