The 1985 Donruss baseball card set was the third complete set released by Donruss and marked a significant year for the fledgling baseball card company. After debuting with a 400 card set in 1982 and improving to a 640 card release in 1984, Donruss took their product to new heights with their 1985 offering which featured a whopping 798 total cards and complete rookie cards for future Hall of Famers such as Barry Larkin and Greg Maddux.

Some key highlights and features of the 1985 Donruss baseball card set include:

Roster Size: The massive 798 card roster made the 1985 Donruss set the largest complete baseball card release up to that point, surpassing Topps who featured 660 cards that same year.

Design: Cards featured a photo on the front and stats/career highlights on the back. The borders were color coded by team and photos tended to be cropped tightly on the subject. Overall the clean, simple design was well received compared to some of Donruss’ earlier, more experimental designs.


Rookies: Debut cards for Greg Maddux, Barry Larkin, David Justice, and B.J. Surhoff were included, marking the beginning of their accomplished MLB careers. These would become some the set’s most desired “chase” cards in later years.

Star Power: The likes of Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, Roger Clemens, Jeff Bagwell, and Cal Ripken Jr. all had prominent showcase cards as some of the game’s biggest stars at the time.

Variations: The set featured several die-cut and foil stamped parallel subsets such as “Diamond Kings”, “Star Stickers”, and “Super Stats”. These added to the excitement of the product but also the complexity for collectors.

Production: Donruss utilized brand new state-of-the-art printing technology at their plant which allowed for sharper photos and increased total print run compared to prior years. The increased quality and availability further grew the company’s fanbase.

In addition to the main 798 card base set, Donruss also released several supplemental series:


Traded Set: 200 additional cards featuring players who were traded mid-season. Many of these players appeared twice, in their new and old uniforms.

Managers/Coaches: 22 card subset highlighting MLB skippers and bench bosses.

Team Checklists: Collectable checklists for each MLB franchise, 26 total.

All-Star Stickers: 15 card foil sticker subset of 1985 MLB All-Stars.

Diamond Kings: 22 card high-gloss parallels of the game’s elite players.

While the 1985 Donruss set initially retailed for $1 per pack with 11-13 cards, appreciation for the historic release and star rookie class has ceased demand in the secondary market in recent years. Complete 1985 Donruss sets in Near Mint/Excellent condition now command prices well over $1,000. Key individual rookie cards such as Maddux and Larkin have even eclipsed $10,000 value points for high-grade copies.

The massive 798 card count and inclusion of such memorable rookie hits as Maddux, Larkin and Justice cemented the 1985 Donruss offering as a true landmark release and one of the most beloved and valuable sports card sets ever produced. It represented Donruss’ coming of age in the trading card industry and built excitement that would lead to the company being a formidable competitor to industry leader Topps for years to come. The vintage 1985 Donruss baseball cards remain a vital part of the hobby’s history and a showcase of some of the brightest young stars’s early career highlights.


The 1985 Donruss baseball card set broke new ground, advanced the company’s product, and included career-defining rookie cards that have become icons within the collecting community. Its massive size, star power, and embrace of cutting-edge printing technology established it as a true seminal release that still thrills fans and garners admiration over 35 years later.

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