If you’re looking for a good, solid baseball card of a baseball star in his prime, and one that represents its era to a T, you couldn’t do much better than the 1990 Donruss Bo Jackson card (#61):

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Nestled between Chet Lemon and Doyle Alexander in the checklist, this card is just 14 downstream from the set-opening run of Diamond Kings and Rated Rookies that defined — no, screamed — “Donruss!” for decades (sort of still do).

Heck, Bo himself led off the entire set as DK #1.

But, back to that base card …

Here we have the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Raiders superstar, kicking up his leg in the afternoon sun, ready to crush whatever offering the unseen pitcher dished up … or try to, at least.

As you can see from the back of Jackson’s card, he had found his full power stroke in 1989, crushing 32 home runs in 135 games, while also building on his strike stroke, whiffing 172 times:

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Bo had made the All-Star Game cut that summer (1989), starting in left field for the American League squad and leading them to a 5-3 win by virtue of a leadoff home run (followed immediately by a Wade Boggs dinger), a stolen base, and two RBI.

That would garner Jackson MVP honors in the Midsummer Classic.

Alas, he would never return to All-Star action, never play as many games, never hit as many home runs … never strike out as often.

In 1990, while this card was still “live,” Bo appeared in just 111 games for the Royals, though he did still manage to hit 28 long balls.

Then, in 1991, he suffered the devastating hip injury in a Raiders playoff game that put an immediate end to his NFL career and instigated a three-year exit from baseball, as well.

In the spring of 1990, though, when Donruss red bled from wax packs across the land, Bo Jackson was riding high on the diamond, and we all had our sights set even higher for him.

Heck, the Donruss set itself was flush with Jackson cards: Diamond King (#1), base (#61), All-Star (#650), MVP insert (BC1) … plus various parallels, tests, and previews.

You might even say it was a (ahem) Royal Flush.

I’m here all week.

And Bo is here forever, firmly plastered all over the one set that, maybe more than any other, embodies the ostentatious gluttony of the early 1990s hobby.

In all their gory glory.

(You might also like our complete rundown of Bo Jackson rookie cards.)

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