1990 Donruss Best of the NL: Braves Team Set (and a checklist)
It's been months since I left off documenting the 1990 Donruss Best of the National League set. I had been showing it team-by-team, and have covered the Pirates, Dodgers, Padres, Astros, Cubs, and Cardinals so far. It's a 144-card set, and with 12 teams then in the National League back then, it sounds like each team would have 12 cards. There are, however, two checklists, and so two of the teams only have 11 cards each. The Braves are one of the 11-card teams, so to round them up to 12, I'm including one of the checklists.
Dale Murphy was, of course, the Braves' aging slugger, who would soon be dispatched to the Phillies. It's too bad that Murphy's production fell off like it did, since he seemed like a Hall-of-Famer in the early 80s. Then we have Lonnie Smith, a sentimental favorite, who was a rookie when the Phils won the 1980 World Series. He went on to win the World Series with the 1982 Cardinals and the 1985 Royals as well.
The Braves of course were a near-dynasty in the 90s, but in 1990 they were still gearing up for that run. In 1989 and 1990, they finished in 6th place in the NL West both times. They were known for their pitching in the 90s, and they were starting to get that in place, with Glavine and Smoltz. Greg Maddux would join them in 1993.
I posted another 1990 card of Nick Esasky, which has him with the Red Sox. He spent the whole 1989 season with the Red Sox and the whole 1990 season with the Braves, so this Donruss set was put out late enough to catch the change. He only played 9 games with the Braves, but Donruss still considered him to be part of the best of the NL, showing something about the quality of the Braves at that time, I think. I mainly think of Oddibe McDowell as a Texas Ranger, where he spent most of his career. He was with Cleveland for part of 1989, and Atlanta for the rest of 1989 and all of 1990. He batted .304 with them in 1989, but fell to .243 in 1990.
Ron Gant was a mainstay of the Atlanta offense from 1988 through 1993, with a .303 average and 84 RBI in 1990. Jeff Treadway was their second baseman for a few years in the late 80s and early 90s, with some decent years such as batting .283 with 59 RBI in 1990.
Jeff Blauser had a longer run with the Braves, playing with them from 1987 through 1997, and then playing a couple more years with the Cubs. He led the NL in being hit by a pitch 16 times in 1993, and made the All-Star team twice. Greg Olson (not the pitcher Gregg Olson) had a brief MLB career, with the Twins in 1989 and then with the Braves from 1990 through 1993.
Finally, we have third baseman Jim Presley, who I posted recently in my Donruss Super Diamond Kings. Similarly to Nick Esasky, he switched teams for 1990, and Donruss caught that in time for this set. Presley was third on the Braves in RBI in 1990, behind Ron Gant and David Justice.
Then, as I mentioned, before, I am throwing in a checklist so that all my posts in this series feature 12 cards. Thanks for reading!