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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1987 Donruss: Kings Wild

Eric King played the last season with the Giants at AA Shreveport, The Associated Press wrote in 1986. An off-season trade sent him to the Tigers. He started the season at AAA Toledo. He then started his major league career 3-0.

"I don't know why they traded me," King told The AP that June, "but I'm sure happy about it."

King went on to finish the season 11-4 with an ERA of 3.51. He also became "the big surprise of the Tigers' '86 season," according to the back of his 1987 Donruss card. King went on to play seven years in the majors, only matching that 1986 campaign once.

King's card came in my sixth 1987 Donruss Christmas pack. The fifth and sixth packs yielded a total of two Hall of Famers, three future major league managers, two Diamond Kings and, most importantly, two future CMC set members.

Among the future major league managers was a player that was involved in that Eric King trade, Bob Melvin. Melvin went the other way, to the Giants. He also went on to manage the Mariners in 2003 and 2004 and the Diamondbacks from 2005 to 2009.

Two other future managers in the packs were Bob Boone and Kirk Gibson. Boone managed the Royals from 1995 to 1997 and the Reds from 2001 to 2003. Gibson took over the Diamondbacks in 2010.

Speaking of Kings, there were two Diamond Kings in the packs, the Angels' Wally Joyner and the Cubs' Keith Moreland. Joyner, Donruss noted, replaced Rod Carew "and played the game like few rookies ever have.." He was also the first rookie voted into the American League All-Star starting lineup. "He is a young, vibrant, exciting Diamond King."

Donruss called Moreland a "consistent workhorse" for the Cubs. "He comes to play, makes the plays, is an excellent clutch hitter, and has the versatility to play right field, third base or catch."

The two Hall of Famers in the packs were Rickey Henderson and Wade Boggs. Henderson was with the Yankees. Donruss noted he had eclipsed his own Yankee stolen base mark in 1986 with 87 stolen bases.

Boggs, Donruss noted, tied Hall of Famer Chuck Klein's record for most games in a season with at least one hit in 1985.

Of the two CMC set members in the packs, I've covered one, but haven't covered the other. The one I've covered is Terry McGriff. I covered McGriff back in April. At one point, he was among those looked at to replace Johnny Bench.

The other CMC set member, Dennis Powell, I haven't gotten to yet. He was a member of the Dodgers in the Donruss set, pitching in 27 games in 1986, going 2-7 with a 4.27 ERA. Donruss noted he was used as a spot starter. He made Los Angeles in 1985 after going 9-0 at AAA Albuquerque.

This last card is of Oil Can Boyd. I'm including it because Donruss gives its answer to the question about where Dennis Ray Boyd's nickname came from: "Picked up his unusual nickname in college where beer was called 'oil.'"
1987 Donruss Pack 5
24 Keith Moreland Diamond King; 50 Kirk Gibson; 51 Oil Can Boyd; 119 Shawon Dunston; 153 Rich Gedman; 164 Eric Show; 184 Jim Deshaies; 185 Steve Bedrosian; 196 Frank Viola; 208 Greg Mathews; 252 Wade Boggs; 343 Rudy Law; 477 Jim Traber; 499 Dennis Powell; 512 Terry McGriff; Puzzle 43-45

1987 Donruss Pack 6
1 Wally Joyner Diamond King; 143 Billy Sample; 161 Oddibe McDowell; 228 Rickey Henderson; 233 Bob Boone; 239 Bob Melvin; 240 Billy Jo Robidoux; 250 Eric King; 277 Mike Easler; 366 Mike Morgan; 367 Willie Upshaw; 384 Craig Reynolds; 385 Greg Gross; 412 Ron Reonicke; 501 Chris Bando; 520 Scott McGregor; Puzzle 37-39

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