The 1987 Donruss baseball set was one of the most iconic and popular releases from the baseball card manufacturer in the late 1980s. While the design was not drastically different from previous Donruss issues, the 1987 set featured several rookie and star player cards that have become highly desirable among collectors decades later. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the standout cards from the 1987 Donruss baseball release.

Perhaps the most famous and valuable card from the 1987 Donruss set is the Kirby Puckett rookie card. As the #329 card in the base set, Puckett’s rookie was the first widely distributed card showing the future Hall of Famer. Puckett would go on to have an amazing career with the Twins, winning six Gold Gloves and batting over .300 six times. He led the Twins to World Series victories in 1987 and 1991. Not surprisingly, Puckett rookie cards have aged very well. High grade examples in PSA 10 Gem Mint condition have sold for over $20,000 in recent years. Even lower graded copies still command prices in the hundreds of dollars due to Puckett’s iconic status. His 1987 Donruss rookie remains one of the most iconic and valuable cards from the entire 1980s period.


In addition to Puckett’s legendary rookie, the 1987 Donruss set featured rookie cards or first Donruss cards of several other future Hall of Famers and all-time great players. Dennis Eckersley’s rookie card #198 shows the start of his transition from starter to reliever. Eckersley would go on to have a dominant relief career, finishing with 390 saves and an AL MVP in 1992 with the A’s. His rookie remains quite scarce in high grades. Another premiere rookie was #255 Robb Nen, who broke in as a starting pitcher but became one of the most dominant closers of the 1990s. Nen notched 276 career saves over 12 seasons. The 1987 Donruss set also included the first Donruss cards for Barry Larkin at #249 and Tom Glavine at #235. Both Larkin and Glavine have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame in recognition of their outstanding careers.

Additional star cards from the 1987 Donruss baseball release include #42 Don Mattingly, #53 Wade Boggs, #90 Roger Clemens, and #102 Ozzie Smith. Mattingly and Boggs were perennial All-Stars and batting champions for the Yankees and Red Sox respectively through the late 1980s. Clemens was in his early dominant years with the Red Sox, on his way to an eventual record 7 Cy Young Awards. And “The Wizard” Ozzie Smith continued putting on defensive clinics at shortstop for the Cardinals, winning 13 Gold Gloves over his career. High quality, well-centered copies of these superstar cards continue to attract strong prices from enthusiastic collectors.


The 1987 Donruss set also featured a popular Traded subset showing players that switched teams in the prior offseason. This included #T1 Gary Carter joining the Mets, #T5 Andre Dawson going to the Cubs, and #T13 Eddie Murray landing with the Dodgers. Carter and Dawson went on to have great seasons helping their new clubs, while Murray delivered consistently impressive power numbers throughout the late 1980s. Traded cards fromthis era remain strong movers in the hobby.

In terms of rare and elusive cards from the 1987 Donruss issue, the #1 Barry Bonds rookie ranks near the top of the list. Featuring Bonds in a Pirates uniform before he developed into the all-time home run king, his rookie is supremely scarce in high grades. The #1 slot always features low print runs as well. Many collectors dream of finding a PSA 10 example of this landmark cardboard. Other scarce treasures include the #166 Mark McGwire rookie, the #298 Randy Johnson rookie showing his huge frame, and parallel short prints which featured alternate color borders. While not quite as famous as flagship rookies, these lesser known rookie gems offer top collectors a rare find.


In summarizing the 1987 Donruss baseball release over three decades later, it’s clear this set features some true heavyweight stars of the era inKirby Puckett, Dennis Eckersley, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and others. While the design is not as visually impressive as some later 1980s/1990s issues, this set endures due to the impressive rookie class and memorable rookie/early career cards of soon-to-be Hall of Famers. Example copies in top condition have proven to be great long term investments as well. The 1987 Donruss baseball set remains a set that defined a generation for collectors and one that serves as an important snapshot of baseball in the late 1980s. It’s certainly one of the most celebrated Donruss releases ever produced.

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