I just moved recently and in the process of moving, I went through boxes of cards that had been sitting neglected for years. Doing so uncovered some cool things that I had forgotten about. One of those things is the 1995 Leaf Opening Day set.
The Opening Day set was available to collectors by sending in 8 Donruss, Leaf or Studio wrappers along with $2 for shipping and handling. This is something that you don’t see these days. Heck, until a couple of years ago you had to pay in order to get your redemption cards. Card companies giving away cards is a thing of the past. Heck, it’s a pretty common occurrence these days that you don’t even get all of the cards that you’re supposed to in a wax box.
This eight card set featured the following players: Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr, Mike Piazza, Cal Ripken, Jose Canseco and Larry Walker. Each player was pictured on Opening Day from the 2005 season and contained a factoid about that game in the back.
The pictures on the cards aren’t the greatest that you’ll find, but that’s because there was only one game to select pictures from. Depending on how long it took for Donruss to send these sets out, these could have very likely been the first cards of Jose Canseco with the Red Sox and Larry Walker with the Rockies.
Sets such as this one used to be fairly common. Topps started the whole thing with their Glossy All-Star send away sets. I’ve got sets from Topps, Donruss and Fleer that I’ve mailed away for. Donruss combined this with the redemption card in 2001 at the very least. In order to get the 2001 Donruss The Rookies set, you first had to pull a redemption card from packs of 2001 Donruss, but that alone didn’t get you the set. From there, you had to pay for the set as well as shipping and handling. Any other year, that offer may have been a bust, but 2001 was the year of Pujols and Ichiro. I’m not aware of any other redemption cards of that type, but I’m sure there were probably others.