Tuesday, January 12, 2016

1985 Donruss Diamond King #0 (Custom Card)

Card Review: "A" I'm giving this card a letter grade instead of the standard number grade because it's not a real card.  This is a custom creation submitted by Gavin of "Baseball Card Breakdown."  This isn't going to be counted towards my ongoing totals for number of different cards in my collection or number of total cards, but I felt it deserved it's own post.  This card appears to have been done using an '85 Donruss Diamond King (Charlie Lea was the Expo) and the 1988 Leaf Canadian Greats card, which was as close as Wallach ever came to being a "Diamond King."  The write-up on the back of the card sounds very familiar, though I was unable to locate it anywhere else.  I'm not sure if Gavin wrote it himself, borrowed heavily from a couple of sources, or simply pulled it from somewhere else.  In either event, it reads like a legitimate card.

Donruss ran "Diamond Kings" in what I consider to be traditional form from 1982 to 1991.  Despite breaking nearly every Montreal Expos franchise record over the course of that time period, Wallach was never selected as the Expos Diamond King.  I'm not suggesting he should have been the Diamond King every single season, but not selecting him even once is equally absurd.  It may seem ridiculous now, but as a kid, it was a big deal who was selected as each teams DK among my friends and I.  If for no other reason than it meant the potential to collect another card of our favorite player, which was still a finite number each year during the 1980's.  Here is break down of the Expos "Diamond King" each year as selected by Donruss, and my top choices.

1982: Gary Carter
My vote based on '81 stats:
1. Tim Raines
2. Andre Dawson
3. Gary Carter
4. Warren Cromartie
5. Steve Rogers

Carter wasn't a terrible selection, given the strike no one had particularly impressive numbers.  However, I believe Tim Raines should have been the easy choice give that he stole 71 bases in only 88 games.

1983: Steve Rogers 

My vote based on '82 stats:
1. Al Oliver 
2. Gary Carter 
3. Steve Rogers 
4. Andre Dawson 
5. Tim Wallach 

Rogers had a great season in '82 and isn't a bad selection by any means.  I would have gone with Al Oliver who batted a team best .331 and led the Expos with 109 RBI while also hitting 22 home runs.

1984 Al Oliver

1. Andre Dawson
2. Tim Raines
3. Gary Carter
4. Tim Wallach
5. Steve Rogers

Oliver seems like an odd choice and doesn't even crack my top 5.  Dawson had impressive numbers and won a gold glove  and I would have gone with him.  Raines stole 90 bases and would have also been an acceptable option.

1985 Charlie Lea
My vote based on '84 stats:
1. Gary Carter
2. Tim Raines
3. Tim Wallach
4. Charlie Lea
5. Andre Dawson

Carter had monster numbers in '84 and I have to assume Donruss was attempting not to double up on players to justify not going with him.  But even if that were the case, Raines and Wallach were both better options as well, and Dawson certainly could have been the pick based on his recent seasons as a whole.

1986 Andre Dawson
My vote based on '85 stats:
1. Tim Raines
2. Tim Wallach
3.  Bryn Smith
4. Andre Dawson
5. Hubie Brooks

A strong argument can be made for Wallach who won a gold glove and was named to his 2nd All-Star team in '85, but ultimately Raines had a slightly better season.  Bryn Smith also had great stats.  Dawson looks to have finally been chosen based on his career, something never done for Wallach.

1987 Hubie Brooks
My vote based on '86 stats:
1. Tim Raines
2. Jeff Reardon
3. Andre Dawson
4. Mitch Webster
5. Tim Wallach

Brooks didn't even play enough to be eligible for the batting title, appearing in less than half of Montreal's games in '86.  Raines meanwhile actually won the batting title with a .334 avg and stole 70 bases. 

1988 Tim Raines
1. Tim Wallach
2. Tim Raines
3. Tim Burke
4. Dennis Martinez
5. Andres Galarrage
Wallach drove in 123 runs in '87, led the league in game winning RBI's and doubles, and finished 4th in the NL MVP voting, and was named The Sporting News Player of the Year.  Raines had a nice season, and helped the Expos nearly battle back for the NL East division title, but ultimately the whole they dug for themselves while he was holding out for money the first part of the season was just too much to overcome.

1989 Andres Galarraga
1. Pascual Perez
2. Dennis Martinez
3. Andres Galarraga
4. Tim Wallach
5. Tim Raines
Galarraga isn't a wildly egregious choice, but I would have gone with a pitcher given that nobody in all of MLB other than Jose Canseco hit the ball in 1988.  Also given Donruss' trend of making their Expos choice based on recent career rather than the previous season, Wallach would have been a very logical choice.

1990 Bryn Smith 
1.  Mark Langston
2. Tim Wallach
3. Dennis Martinez
4. Tim Burke
5. Bryn Smith
Langston, at least for me, defined the '89 Expos season.  His mid-season acquisition brought as much excitement as any I had ever experienced or have enjoyed since.  That said,  this is another set in which Wallach should have finally been given the call. 

1991 Delino DeShields
1. Tim Wallach
2. Oil Can Boyd
3. Tim Raines
4. Dennis Martinez
5. Delino DeShields
Another head scrather as to how Donruss continued to snub Wallach.  At least they finally got around to using him for the "Team MVP" insert set.

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