Wednesday, January 13, 2010

From Donruss consultant to Hall of Famer

Which member of this year's Hall of Fame class was the most influential in the baseball card industry? It is not Andre Dawson, Whitey Herzog or Doug Harvey but Daily News writer Bill Madden, who was inducted into the writer's wing. According to the website (which believe it or not has a lot interesting articles about baseball cards) it was Madden who, as a consultant for the new baseball card company Donruss, suggested in 1981 that they have a group of cards with paintings instead of photos; thus, the Diamond Kings were born.

It was also Madden who "rated" the Rated Rookies beginning with the inaugural list in 1984. A few, like Joe Carter and Tony Fernandez, became big stars, while most, like Mike Jeffcoat, had more run-of-the-mill careers.

In addition to the 20 "Rated Rookies," Donruss included dozens more "unrated" rookies in the rest of the set. Among those not rated in the top 20 by Madden was Don Mattingly, who would go on to become the iconic rookie card of the set. What makes Mattingly's omission the most surprising is that Madden was the Yankees beat writer at the time - you would think he would know the players on the team he was covering! Instead, he was rated lower than Doug Frobel, Mike Fuentes, Mike Brown and Chris Smith.


  1. Fascinating stuff. :)

  2. So the point of this post is that Bowman Scout has a better track record than Rated Rookie Bill Madden? ;)