Thursday, September 24, 2015

1984 Sports Design Products Doug West Set

Artist Doug West painted 24 beautiful illustrations for this nifty set of retired baseball greats. Released in 1984 by Sports Design Products, the set came in a clear plastic box that featured the SDP logo on the front. According to the company, 5,000 sets were released and another 250 uncut sheets were issued. A second series of another 24 cards would be released the following year, featuring a similar design on both the fronts and backs.

Cards measure the standard 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" size, and are printed on white cardstock. The player's illustrations fill the majority of card fronts, with names and positions in a blue or red box across the bottom. The SDP logo appears at the lower right. Card backs feature short player biographies and career statistic totals, printed in either blue or red.

Only the best of the best are found in this set, with Yankees catcher Thurman Munson being the lone player not enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The artwork is excellent, but seems to be unceremoniously hindered by the ever-present borders found on cards of the day (Mother's Cookies were just releasing their first borderless baseball cards right about this time). I kinda like the 1960s minimalist industrial feel of the cards, but they look like something the Department of Defense could have released during the Vietnam War. These same illustrations, released today on borderless, canvas cards would truly be breathtaking.

Doug West was only 23 years old when this set was released, and is still going strong in the world of sports art. You can learn all about Doug and his art right on his website

I like these cards and I like Doug West. Having an original release price around $8, a fresh set in the original box is worth around $10 to $15. I can't remember the last time I found one of the 250 uncut sheets for sale, but I imagine it would sell in the $20 to $30 range to the right buyer. Collectors have always given a cool reception to sets featuring retired players, and this set is no exception. With the release being over thirty years old now, these cards should be of interest to baseball fans who are seeking to collect limited editions that were produced before the "junk wax" era of the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

Random Fact: Joe DiMaggio is the only card in the set with a horizontal layout.

Click here to hunt for Doug West sets on eBay
1. Jackie Robinson, Dodgers
2. Luis Aparicio, Orioles
3. Roberto Clemente, Pirates
4. Mickey Mantle, Yankees
5. Joe DiMaggio, Yankees
6. Willie Stargell, Pirates
7. Brooks Robinson, Orioles
8. Ty Cobb, Tigers
9. Don Drysdale, Dodgers
10. Bob Feller, Indians
11. Stan Musial, Cardinals
12. Al Kaline, Tigers
13. Willie Mays, Giants
14. Willie McCovey, Giants
15. Thurman Munson, Yankees
16. Charlie Gehringer, Tigers
17. Eddie Mathews, Braves
18. Carl Yastrzemski, Red Sox
19. Warren Spahn, Braves
20. Ted Williams, Red Sox
21. Ernie Banks, Cubs
22. Roy Campanella, Dodgers
23. Harmon Killebrew, Twins
24. Duke Snider, Dodgers


  1. Now I find myself wondering what sports card sets would resemble if issued by the DoD or maybe by some Soviet state behind the Iron Curtain. Stark, just-the-facts cards with nothing but names, numbers and poorly composed photos in black and white or that washed out 1960s color.

    1. Hmmmm.... I'm thinking the 1969 Globe Imports Playing Cards. Shitty Eastern-Bloc quality and feel, all the way around.

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