not sure if it was don or russ who came up with the concept of 'diamond kings' for their sophomore release, but i was happy to see the subset when opening packs back in 1982. that year, it gave me an extra card of my favorite player (steve garvey) while opening my eyes to cards that were meant to be art - as in, purposefully using aa painting as opposed to bad airbrushing trying to make an altered photograph look semi-real. remember, at that time, i had seen some stuff like the 1978 topps greg minton card. soon, fleer and upper deck were featuring art cards as part of the base set, and it was not a big deal anymore.
anyway, the diamond kings eventually became inserts and were therefore more difficult to track down. 11 years after their inaugural release, the reigning national league rookie of the year was featured, and it took me about 27 years to obtain that card.
eric karros looks pained. now, i wasn't actively looking for that card until i put it on my most wanted list sometime last year, and i finally added it to a comc or sportlots order sometime later.
2005 was a big year for donruss and their diamond kings, as they issued a huge set with a ridiculous number of parallels. here's one of steve garvey's parallels that i picked up sometime in the last few months
that is a 'green frame' parallel (trust me), numbered to 50. here's the back:
glorious text on the back as it mentions the game on april 16, 1983 wherein garvey surpassed billy williams on the all-time consecutive games played list. yours truly was at that game, and i've recently been putting together my "games i've attended" mini-collection. so, you will see more about that game in a future post.
over the last few years, panini has continued the diamond kings brand, and in each of the last two releases, they've included steve garvey on their checklist. unfortunately, they are limited in their print runs, and in 2019, his cards were of the redemption variety. i was able to secure three redemptions for two different print runs; the purple, numbered to 10
and the holo blue, numbered to 25
the checklist also notes that there is a "base" version that is unnumbered, but i did not see any of those redemptions hit ebay. this year, the diamond king garvey cards are pack inserted, and there are only two varieties. the purple, which is numbered to 20
and a one-of-one. as you can see above, i managed to pick up the purple card, but the one-of-one went to fellow garvey collector mrmopar. congrats curt!
as the title of this post mentions, there are other kings than diamond. case in point, here is a 2012 panini golden age steve garvey mini card that i purchased
it is the fourth variant that i have, and this one is the 'ty cobb" back variation
i was not sure if cobb was the king of the smoking tobacco world, or if he had his own line of tobacco and it was the king of the smoking tobacco world, but recent (2018) developments have shed light on this topic. apparently, there was a product that featured cobb although it was not widely distributed, nor did it stay on the market for long. so, cards with this particular back are rare.
another type of diamond king to show off are some of the cards i've received in the recent 'diamond 9' giveaways at the diamond king blog! kevin has been offering up some great cards, and i've been able to send him a few as well.
some of the cards he has sent me include this 1997 topps finest brett butler refractor
i was also able to claim a 2005 donruss champions j.d. drew parallel
which is serial numbered to the number of time drew landed on the disabled list
kidding, of course. it just felt like 75 times.
another card for the dodger collection that i claimed was this 2011 bowman platinum blake smith xfractor
i have claimed a few non-dodgers, including a 2008 upper deck baseball heroes card featuring vladimir guerrero
for my big daddy vladdy collection, plus a couple of braves cards. this 2006 topps chuck james black parallel
and this 2011 topps lineage jason heyward stand-up insert
were added to a couple of trades that i've made recently that were borne out of a comment on another blog. i will have a post dedicated to those trades in the future, but it won't do the trades justice.
thanks kevin and don and russ and dick perez, and even ty cobb i suppose. kings all around!