Card of the Day: 1990 Donruss Billy Hatcher

Today’s Card of the Day features a first-time player in a second look at a set. Outfielder Billy Hatcher played just 27 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates after being acquired late in the 1989 season. He was traded just before the start of the 1990 season. That was a popular time for baseball cards, so despite his brief stint with the club, he ended up on quite a few cards. I just went with the 1990 set that hasn’t been covered here recently, and I came up with the Donruss set, which was last seen around these parts in December of 2021. When I clicked on that article from last December so I could add the link, I saw that it was also the first time I featured the set. Neal Heaton received that honor. So here’s short-time Pirates outfielder Billy Hatcher on card #616 from the 1990 Donruss set.

Here’s the front of the card:

These cards really have a 1990 era look to them. I don’t even know what they were going for with that border design, but it feels like you could say that about the early 90s in everything you see from that time period. They also really stand out now because of that bright red border. Anytime I’m scrolling through Ebay looking for card choice options for a player from this era, the 1990 Donruss set always draws attention because of the borders.

I’m a big fan of those 1989 uniforms, especially the road grays. If they could have got a good shot of that sleeve patch on this card it would have made it even better, especially since Donruss didn’t use team logos on these cards. It was a bit lucky that Donruss was able to get Hatcher pictured on a card, since he joined the team so late in the year.

Here’s the back of the card:

Every time I look at one of these Donruss cards from 1982 through 1991, I can’t believe how they just phoned in a decade worth of back designs. What makes it even stranger is that they barely switched up the colors through the run, basically just using different versions of blue and yellow/orange, and some of those are tough to tell the difference.

Besides the unoriginal design, I’m not a big fan of the five years maximum they put on stats, with no minor league stats if a guy had fewer than five years in the majors. Another reason I don’t like their stats set up is what you see here with Hatcher. You don’t know what he did during his time with the Pirates, other than he was there for about 6-7 weeks. What I do like about these cards is that they included the contract status for players, which is how you know how long Hatcher was with the Pirates in this case. I’ve mentioned it before, but it is worth repeating because it just came up a month ago. For some reason it is difficult to find out the contract details for some players during this era. I have stopped searching on Newspapers.com and gone right to Donruss cards whenever that situation comes up now.

If you’re interested in this card, there are currently 61 auctions for the card up. They printed a lot of cards in 1990, so everything from that year is easy to find cheap. Multiple sellers have this card for $1 delivered. There are five autographed copies, priced between $3 and $28. Doesn’t seem like a tough decision if you’re choosing to get one of those autographed cards. Hatcher has a nice autograph, but this is a tough card to autograph due to the dark background and the team name/number interfering with the signature across the chest.

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