1985 was a great year for Donruss and Leaf. A black border is always cool, and black and red always trumps black (case in point: compare Steve Carlton’s card and Reggie Jackson’s cards from the 1971 set. Carlton is way cooler not because he’s less of a jerk than Jackson (actually, that probably depends on who you ask), but because of the black and red). Anyway, one of the best cards from the black and red Donruss set in Mike Schmidt. He’s in a classic little leaguer pose in the ridiculous Phillies striped jumpsuit uniform, and his skin is definitely not a healthy color. It looks like Mike got called out of the tanning booth to take this photo. Or maybe the Phils weren’t paying him enough in the off-season and he had to drive a pick-up truck out in Wyoming and hustle cattle and couldn’t afford sunscreen.
If you can believe it, this card is even cooler with the green Leaf symbol in the upper left corner (to signify Leaf, the Canadian equivalent of Donruss, much like O Pee Chee to Topps, even though Topps owned O Pee Chee and Leaf owned Donruss), both because it’s from the oddly numbered Leaf set (because where are you going to find packs of Leaf?) and because it’s a tragic circumstance: here’s Mike Schmidt, iconic third baseman for the Phillies, sunburned into retirement with an aloe leaf just out of reach, as if it’s taunting him.
Okay, that’s a stretch, but it’s still a great card.