Here's another 1980's classic. This time however, we discuss production of a certain Canadian variety, 1986 Leaf Baseball. While in 1986, Donruss was experiencing massive success with the inception of everyone's favorite Oakland Athletic, Jose Canseco. Leaf was following suite by releasing a similar set of cards but under the Leaf umbrella. The Leaf release is somewhat different in comparison to the Donruss flagship in that it features 264 cards in comparison to the 660 from the American Donruss flagship counterpart. Other notable difference are that Jose Canseco is no where to be found in the Leaf set. Cornerstone rated rookies in the 1986 Leaf set include Andres Galarraga and Fred McGriff. Aside from the numbering, the company logo and bilingual text on the backs, these card are basically the same as the U.S. Donruss release.
A vibrant warm blue to compliment a cartooned baseball image combined with the bright yellow title and red, white, and blue MLB logos make this a very attractive and eye-catching release. Even in today's market, of the very few times I have encountered unopened packs of '86 Leaf, this product still draws my attention. The subtle bilingual nature of the text on the wax paper has me looking a second time.
The Base Design:
This pack yielded surprisingly strong super-star power. As you can see, the base design is almost identical to that of its U.S. Donruss release, less the change in the title to, Leaf '86. I have always been a fan of the soft blue and black stripes that make up the border on the fronts of these cards. It will always remind me of the first time that I saw a card in this set. Can you guess which one? Right, the rookie card of the great bash brother, Jose Canseco. This was in the late '80's when the card was fetching a cool $90 on the secondary market. Going back to our discussion, the classic team logos and colorful name plates really bring these cards out into the open. Much like the packaging, the contents remains consistent... colorful and attractive. I have always been a fan.
The backs of these cards are just as poppy. The light blue almost looks fluorescent. Ever since day one, I have always like the added touch of the baseball image that captures the card numbers found on earlier Donruss products. Although very much a thing of the past, this type of minor detail was part of what made this company so great. Although the backs are relatively simple by design, this template was used on many of their releases from '82 to into the early '90's. I can remember looking forward to flipping these cards over year after year to see the new color of basically the same template from the year before. Of the few Donruss releases that featured a blue back, 1986 was the year that hosted the boldest and brightest. Aside from color, the player statistics found in white make them the point of focus on the cards flip side.
Although Jose Canseco is missing from the 1986 Leaf set entirely, it still holds as a nice addition. For a set that was widely distributed among the U.S. market, 1986 Leaf is, by comparison, much more difficult to locate than its U.S. Donruss counterpart. That fact alone should make this product somewhat more desirable. In more recent times however, I have seen boxes of this product sell for as little as $15. If you can do without several of the Rookies found in the U.S. Donruss release and would enjoy a bit of color in your collection, I would recommend this product.