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Rickey Henderson made his mark with the Oakland A’s, and he built his legend wearing the Green and Gold.

But there was always something about that marriage that felt like a mismatch.

I mean, here you had the single most exciting player of his generation serving up his diamond hot dogs for a club known as much for its frugality and rundown stadium — even in the 80s — as for its 1970s dynasty.

And then, with the advent of the Bash Brothers in the late 1980s, station-to-station and big bombs became their stock in trade.

So, when Oakland traded Rickey to the New York Yankees in December of 1984, it felt right somehow, like suddenly slaking a thirst you didn’t even know you had.

The Man of Steal in the Big Apple seemed as natural a fit as Pete Rose in a home-plate brawl.

Of course, the deal came much too late for the card companies to capture Rickey in pinstripes on his 1985 cards, so collectors had to wait for the year-end sets to partake of that particular spectacle.

We knew we could could count on Topps Traded, and with the unexpected popularity of the 1984 Fleer Update set, it seemed a pretty good bet we’d see Henderson there, too.

But as the season waned, the news broke: Donruss would be joining the late-year-issue fray, not with a traded set, but with an issue devoted to 1985 highlights.

There was no guarantee, then, that Rickey would make the Donruss cut … except that he had set about lighting up Yankee Stadium like it was his own personal marquee.

That blaze was on full display in June, when Henderson hit .416 with six home runs, 17 RBI, 31 runs scored, and 22 stolen bases in 23 attempts.

That 30-day period alone was enough to score Rickey a slot on card #17 in the 1985 Donruss Highlights set, as the American League Player of the Month:

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No pinstripes, but the patented on-base crouch was there, and the card back provided all the gory, gaudy details:

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Then, late in the season, and after a scorching summer, Henderson slid into the Yankee record book with stolen base #75 on the season. That made the Donruss cut at card #42:

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It was what collectors were waiting for — Rickey in pinstripes. And the card back gave us some history on the mark:

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By the time the 1985 Donruss Highlights set made it to dealer shelves late that fall, Rickey had recorded arguably his greatest season ever: .314, 24 home runs, 72 RBI, 146 runs scored, 70 stolen bases, and 9.9 WAR.

He had a great case for the American League MVP award, but lost out to teammate Don Mattingly and Royals third baseman George Brett.

Rickey would eventually get his hardware, in 1990, back with the A’s — a team he’d return to again and again.

In 1985, though, the ultimate showboat took his talents to the Bronx and stood out like a shining star even against a backdrop of the most storied franchise in the game.

1985 DONRUSS #438 KIRBY PUCKETT RC TWINS HOF SGC 98 GEM 10 A6194-005

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1985 Donruss #39 Shawon Dunston RC - G-VG

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1985 Donruss Roger Clemens Rookie #273 GMA Mint 9

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1985 Donruss 70 Kent Hrbek Minnesota Twins PSA 8 NM-MT

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1985 DONRUSS #51 DAVE WINFIELD YANKEES HOF PSA 9 Mint

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