Did you know that there is a 1989 Donruss Traded set?
Right, I know … nobody cares about 1989 Donruss.
But, really — did you know there is a 1989 Donruss Traded set?
Because I don’t think I did. I mean, I probably knew about it back in 1989, but maybe not. After all, 1989 Donruss didn’t really matter much even back in 1989. Not with Upper Deck revolutionizing — revolutionizing, I say! — the hobby, and not with Fleer F-Facing all over the hobby.
And not with a blah design.
And especially not coming on the heels of a massively overproduced 1988 set that we already knew was massively overproduced and that made us figure all of the 1989 Donruss stuff was overproduced, too.
So nobody paid much attention to what Donruss was doing.
But then, the other day while I was perusing the far reaches of the internet looking for a Barbaro Garbey wrist band or a Kelly Gruber dinner plate or some such, I came across the 1989 Donruss card of Tom Brookens.
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And, let me tell you, Brookens looked none too happy to see me.
Dude was glaring out of from under his Yankees cap, in his Yanks midnight blue jersey.
Wait … Yanks?
I remember Brookens as a member of that fabled 1984 Detroit Tigers team, and the Tigers teams around that one. Don’t you?
So I went off to check my handy Tom Brookens Baseball Reference page and … wouldn’t you know it? Brookens did play for the Bombers, in 1989.
And then with the Indians to close out his career in 1990.
Yanks card explained!
These are baseball cards we’re talking about here, and they show everything a year in arrears. And Tom Brookens was still a Tiger in 1988, the year which should have been reflected on his 1989 Donruss card.
I did a quick search and, sure enough, Brookens did appear on a 1989 Donruss card with the Tigers, card #508, to be exact.
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So what gives with that 89D Tom Brookens, NYY edition?
You already know the answer if you’ve read this far, but more Googling yielded the answer — after a few years of nibbling around the edges, Donruss finally joined the 1980s and issued an honest-to-Gossage Traded set.
No Opening Day treats, as in 1987.
No Highlights, as in 1985 and 1986 and 1988.
Nope, in 1989, Donruss rolled out a 56-card Traded set, chock full of players who had been, well, traded (or free agented) too late to reflect their new teams in the base 1989 set.
Big D hit it big, too, thanks to Nolan Ryan, who had indeed free agented in December of 1988, jettisoning his Astros rainbow for Texas Rangers garb.
And, of course, Big D hit it big with Angry Tom Brookens, on card #53.
Why was Brookens so sour, though?
Who knows … maybe he was devastated by not being able to stick around for that 59-103 juggernaut Detroit fielded in 1989.
Or maybe it was the realization that being traded straight-up for Charles Hudson as the 90s dawned wasn’t that great of a harbinger for a long and continued Major League tenure.
Whatever the cause, that glare is a pretty decent built-in defense mechanism.
I know I won’t be crossing that Traded card anytime soon.
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