Monday, April 29, 2013

You've Come a Long Way, Baby: 2002 Diamond Kings

In my collection: 2 regular

Griffey looks: a little weird

Is this a good Griffey card? Yes.  A nice design, a new artist, and a very unlikely set in general.

The set: Over a 20-year span, Donruss Diamond Kings grew miraculously from subset to insert to non- existence and finally to it's very own brand.  In that time it survived a bankruptcy, a new owner, two years of utter non-being, and several different artists.  Diamond Kings as their own brand would last four years.

How did this unlikely evolution occur?  Long story short, Donruss had been owned by Pinnacle who declared bankruptcy in 1998.  It was thought that the Diamond King may be gone forever until Playoff, a football brand, picked up the Donruss brand the same year.  After two years of non-production they got their MLB license in 2001 and went positively buck wild, creating numerous variations of the Diamond King that year.  The decision was made to expound on that and give DK's them their own set for 2002.

One pretty cool aspect of this card is that they show you all the previous appearances by that player in a Diamond King set like it was a bona-fide MLB designation.  Also, there's a little blurb about the artist right there on the card - something I remember Donruss only doing once before for previous artist-in-residence Mr. Dick Perez, and it was on a checklist.

Let's see that Griffey:

I really like the design here.  The new DK logo looks great in silver foil.  The card has a bit of thickness to it as well as a slight canvas texturing.  All that combined with the understated framing of the portrait make for a pretty good-looking card. 

Now this is still a Diamond King we're talking about, so we mustn't suspend criticism entirely.  I will admit that Griffey looks a little weird - his left eye is a bit droopy like that of a stroke victim, and the proportions of his face seem a little off.  Still, the lighting and shadow are great, the pose and background look good, and the detail is solid.  Overall, I've seen worse Diamond King cardsAhemYeah.

It's owners were very proud of the storied (and polarizing) Diamond King brand, so in addition to all the regular set variants and solitary insert, there are a buttload of promotional variants.  Here's all the Griffeys from 2002 Diamond Kings I still need:
#86 Framed White
#86 Framed Grey #/400
#86 Framed Black #/100
#86 Beckett promo Silver
#86 Beckett promo Gold
#86 2002 Hawaii Trade Conference
#86 2002 Hawaii Trade Conference Parallel #/20
#86 2002 Hawaii Trade Conference Blue Border (#/1 or #/5)
#86 2002 Chicago National Sports Collectors Convention #/5
#86 2002 Chicago National Sports Collectors Convention Framed White Parallel #/5
T204 #RC25 #/1000

I have no intention of nabbing all those Griffeys.  I only include them here as I am a fiercely anal completist (don't tell any of my friends I referred to myself as "fiercely anal" - I'll never hear the end of it).

In closing. Mondays suck.  Have a great week.


  1. (purchases billboard in Junkie's hometown - posts "fiercely anal" comment)

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand done.

  2. It's amazing how much better the DK's got once Donruss stopped hiring 12-year-olds to paint them.