By 1992, there was no doubting Cal Ripken, Jr., when it came to the baseball diamond.
Not after he had followed up his 1982 American League Rookie of the Year award by leading his Baltimore Orioles to the 1983 World Series title, winning AL Most Valuable Player honors along the way.
And not after he had become baseball’s modern ironman, playing in more consecutive game through 1991 than anyone, ever, besides Lou Gehrig.
And certainly not after Ripken had put up his greatest season in 1991, winning another MVP award and all but silencing critics who insisted his pursuit of The Iron Horse was sapping his numbers, cheating the Orioles out of the best version of Cal.
The man was a true king of the diamond, which made his appearance in the 1992 Donruss Diamond Kings set seem all the more appropriate …
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For the record, that was Cal’s third DK card, having already graced Dick Perez’s canvas in 1985 and in 1988.
The 1992 Diamond King issue was also the one that changed the artistic franchise forever. Since their inception in 1982, the DKs had led off each year’s Donruss set and had been part of regular packs, just like all the other base sets.
In ‘92, though, Big D revamped their look and approach, issuing a whopping 784-card set upgraded in design and material quality to meet the increasingly sophisticated expectations of the day’s collector. They also pulled the Diamond Kings to the side and made them an insert set.
Those “new” DK cards aren’t especially scarce these days, and you can usually find Ripken for a couple of bucks (or less) in nice raw condition.
But Donruss wasn’t done with their changes …
From 1985 through 1991, the card maker had also issued their Diamond Kings in a parallel “Super” version that allowed collectors to obtain 5” x 7” versions of the Perez creations for the price of some wrappers and some coinage.
The plan was to (maybe) do the same in 1992, but the impetus to keep going was apparently not as strong as the desire to just stop.
So, after several sales samples made their way out the door, the 1992 Donruss Super Diamond Kings were never to be seen again … at least until they started making their way into the hobby.
As of this writing, PSA has graded a total of 89 of the cards, with nine of those being Ripkens. On the rare occasion a Ripken comes on the market (eBay affiliate link), you can expect the price tag to run into four figures, at the very least.
And if you just *have* to have a Super Cal but either can’t wait or can’t stomach the cost?
Well, maybe you could just grab a regular old 1992 Ripken Diamond King, get up Super close … and pretend.
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