In the world of baseball cards, Tom Donohue is one of those guys.

You know how it goes …

Some people just know how to make the most of the opportunities that come to them.

Like the guy who shows up late to an interview for the job you’ve wanted forever, has his time cut short by a fire alarm, and then ends up on the local news when he saves a cat from certain destruction at the hands of a storm drain while everyone is waiting to go back inside.

Right place, right time. Maybe he gets the job, maybe he doesn’t but he’s definitely the man of the moment.

Donohue is like that — you know, in baseball cards.

See …

After the California Angels made him the ninth overall pick in the January 1972 Draft, Donohue spent seven long seasons climbing his way up the minor league ladder.

Finally, after two years at Triple-A Salt Lake City, Donohue got the call to Anaheim to start the 1979 season. It was an up-and-down campaign in which he hit .224 with three home runs over the course of 38 big league games.

He also ended up back in Salt Lake City for part of the season.

It was not an auspicious big league beginning for a 26-year-old hoping to make a career of the thing, but Donohue was a catcher. And there is always the need for a receiver who can call and catch a game without allowing a blackhole to take hold behind the plate.

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And so Donohue was back with the Angels — the big league Angels — in 1980.

He brought a friend along with him, too. OK, I mean, maybe he didn’t really bring the friend along, not bodily, but it showed up, anyway.

Yes, while Donohue was squatting in American League ballparks that summer, collectors were pulling his rookie card from packs of 1980 Topps baseball cards.

It’s a pretty good looking card, too, showing Donohue in a sort of classic batting follow-through in his Angels home uniform and a blazing blue sky behind him. Made it seem like bright days were ahead.

And they were, sort of . Donohue played his home games in southern California, after all.

And he stayed in the Majors all season long.

But the brightness sort of ended there, as Donohue managed just a paltry .188 batting average and .459 OPS in 230 plate appearances across 84 games.

He played his last game on October 5 that fall … turned 28 in November … and never set foot in the majors or minors again.

Ah, but the Donohue sunshine wasn’t quite over, because you never know when a team will come calling for catching help.

And because 1981 was the year Topps lost that stranglehold on their cardboard monopoly.

And because all those card companies were hedging their bets and filling their rosters the best they could.

So, Donruss, Fleer, and Topps all took a look at the Angels’ roll from 1980, and their own available photos, and … well, Tom Donohue ended up with three brand spanking new cards that lasted all through that split-season, strike-torn 1981 campaign.

And they’re still out there today, reminding us that, sometimes, it’s all about grinding away, year after year, until — suddenly! — you’re in the right place at the right time.

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Hobby Hots

Looking for a little wall bling from your holiday treats this Christmas? How about an uncut sheet from the heart of The Tom Donohue Era …

That’s an uncut sheet of 1980 Topps baseball cards, in case you couldn’t tell. Wouldn’t that look great on … well, just about anything??

Check out the full eBay listing here (affiliate link).