A quick hobby quiz for those who were around in 1993: What was the third most sought-after rookie card in the 1985 Donruss set? Roger Clemens and Kirby Puckett are obviously #1 and #2, but who is the third? It isn’t Eric Davis. Danny Tartabull and Doc Gooden are both pretty close. Brett Saberhagen and Jose Rijo are left in the dust.
The answer is Terry Pendleton. It’s a bit of a trick question, as error cards were among the most sought after and the card with the name “Terry Pendleton” on it was a late-season correction to a card that mistakenly labeled the Cardinals third baseman as “Jeff” Pendleton. That isn’t to say that collectors didn’t seek out Pendleton rookies. His Topps and Fleer cards were considered to be on par with that year’s cards of popular players like Cal Ripken and Ryne Sandberg. Pendleton was only a year and a half removed from beating Barry Bonds in the National League MVP race and was an integral part in World Series teams in St. Louis and Atlanta. He would eventually go to the World Series on an average pace of once every three years.
While Pendleton had won a batting championship in 1991 and logged favorable stolen base totals, his biggest contribution came on defense. He was a top-tier defensive third baseman through the 1990 season and maintained a reputation for fielding late into his career.