The 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan card did it’s best to prop up a pretty horrid set.

After all …

If you were a Nolan Ryan fan the summer after he traded one Texas team for another — and, really, who wasn’t?? (OK, Robin Ventura might have an argument here) …

… and if you could stomach the bloodbath borders and blood-spatter accents …

… and didn’t mind that there were more copies of your cards in the world than there were copies of your DNA in your body …

… well, then, 1990 Donruss just may have been the set for you, because The Ryan Express was all over the thing.

First, there was Ryan’s base card, at #166:

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That one featured the obligatory Donruss card back, showing just five years’ worth of stats, plus career totals.

And Ryan’s gave us some info we might not have known (you know, unless you’d seen the back of his other Donruss cards) …

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Yeah, Lynn is a “junior.”

Neither here nor there, but interesting … Nolan himself seems to think so, too, on card #659.

See?

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That’s the card that celebrates Ryan’s 5000th strikeout, which he notched on August 22, 1989 (the victim was … Rickey Henderson).

And the back of this card gives us the full monte:

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Pretty nifty, even if Big D’s 5000-palooza didn’t quite measure up to Topps’ own tribute.

But Donruss wasn’t done, because they decided to give Ryan the Diamond Kings treatment, supersized to christen him the King of Kings on card (#665):

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Potential religious indiscretions aside, this is a pretty sweet looking card — at least the Dick Perez painting that’s the centerpiece.

The card back gives us some narrative, per usual for Diamond Kings:

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Not sure the “Amazing One” stuck as a new Ryan moniker, but Donruss gave it the old puzzle-piece try.

And, just to keep things interesting, those last two Ryan cards — #659 and #665 — were issued with their backs swapped during at least some of the print run.

The PSA Population Report seems to think there’s not much difference in the abundance of any of the four front-back combos, and none seem to carry a huge premium

Millions of cards is millions of cards, after all.

And, while there may not be millions of different 1990 Donruss Nolan Ryan cards, there’s enough to satisfy even the most ardent of — ahem — “Junior” fans.

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1990 Donruss Learning Series Nolan Ryan #24

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Ken Griffey Jr 1990 Donruss Diamond Kings ERROR 1989 On Back #4

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