Thursday, August 12, 2021

my favorite cards of the year - 1986 edition

i recently introduced my mini collection focusing on my favorite cards from each year that i've been a collector. the basic gist is that i wanted to create a space for the cards that i most appreciated having in my collection in the year that they were released. these were cards that i acquired in the year that they were issued, and that i considered to be my favorites at the time. i have disallowed (most) cards that are already in other mini collections in order to avoid having a mini collection consisting of more steve garvey, double plays, and dodger stadium cards.

in 1986, fleer went from gray borders to blue, donruss from black borders with red stripes to max headroom, and topps did a black and white play on their 1975 design. i recall that i was most interested in donruss that year, but both of my favorite cards were from fleer. go figure.

favorite non-dodger card: fleer nl west sluggers superstar special dale murphy, steve garvey, dave parker
the non-dodger card i was most excited to own in 1986 was jose canseco's donruss card, but this one was my favorite. i know i'm breaking one of my rules for this collection by including (another) garvey card, but this one at least features another couple of players.  the reason i liked this card so much is that it includes three players with whom i was very familiar, and three players that i thought were locks for the hall of fame. there were four mvp awards won by these three players, along with a number of all-star selections. garvey was definitely in decline, but i wasn't willing to accept it at this point and i thought that he fit right in with murphy and parker, even though the back of the card made it pretty clear that he was no longer in their category.

the photo used on the card comes from the 1985 all-star game that was held in minneapolis (hubert h humphrey metrodome background!), and these three (along with jack clark and ryne sandberg) represented the national league in the first home run derby. the back makes no mention of that, which is probably ok since garvey only hit two homers. murphy hit 4, and parker won the event with 6. i also liked this card because it made it clear that murphy and parker were pretty big dudes.

favorite dodger card: fleer pedro guerrero all-star team insert
just like in 1984 with donruss' living legends cards, my dad and i were perplexed at the 1986 fleer all-star team cards. inserts? what a crazy idea back then. once we saw the first one (dave parker), we were eager to find another one in our box. i believe we wound up with two of the twelve cards - the parker and dwight gooden. i was able to find pedro's card at our card shop later in the year, thankfully. of course, i was hoping that garvey was included in the set, but don mattingly got the nod as the first baseman, and you couldn't argue with that in 1986.

next up, 2014. stay tuned!


  1. Replies
    1. ha. it sure was - cincy and atl in the west but chicago and st. louis in the east.

  2. Glad I wasn't the only one perplexed with those 1984 Donruss bonus cards back in the day. I was always wondering how much rarer they were compared to the average base card or if they even are rarer.

    Like most years... I would need to give it more thought before commenting on my favorite card from 1986, but the 86T Tony Pena and Dwight Gooden are two cards that come to mind.

    1. i was enamored with the 86f gooden in action card, too.