The San Diego Chicken: A Baseball Card History

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1982 Donruss San Diego Chicken

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

There are mascots and there’s the San Diego Chicken. When you think of baseball in the 1980s, the Famous Chicken is up there with the likes of Darryl Strawberry, Dale Murphy, Nolan Ryan, Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken and Dave Winfield, to name a few. And he did so simply by entertaining crowds.

But as famous as the San Diego Chicken is, he doesn’t have as many baseball cards as you might expect. In fact, other than a few very recent rarities, it’s possible to get a full run of major San Diego Chicken cards without having to spend much money or effort.

In case you need a primer on the San Diego Chicken’s accolades, here they are straight from the beak:

And if that wasn’t enough, sit back and remember the joy of The Baseball Bunch where he starred with Johnny Bench:

The first San Diego Chicken cards date back to 1979 and 1980 with a couple of Padres team issues. Donruss included the mascot in their sets from 1982 to 1984. These are his most prominent and easy-to-find cards. Since then, there have been a couple of sporadic cards but not much.

That changed with 2016 Donruss Baseball where the San Diego Chicken played a big part. First, there’s the base set and its many parallels. Getting the most attention, though, are the memorabilia cards featuring pieces of his costume. These are proving to be strong sellers on the secondary market thus far.

In case you’re looking to build a collection of San Diego Chicken cards, here’s a checklist of what’s cataloged in the Beckett Baseball Card Database.

San Diego Chicken Baseball Card Checklist

1979 Padres Family Fun #4

1979 Padres Family Fun San Diego Chicken

1980 Padres Family Fun #18
1982 Donruss #531 ERR – No Trademark
1982 Donruss #531 CORR – With Trademark

1982 Donruss San Diego Chicken
1983 Donruss #645

1983 Donruss San Diego Chicken

1984 Donruss #651

1984 Donruss San Diego Chicken

1984 Padres Smokey #4

1984 Padres Smokey San Diego Chicken

1985 Dallas National Collectors Convention #7
1992 Triple Play #138

1992 Triple Play San Diego Chicken

2003 Donruss Anniversary 1983 #19
2003 Donruss Recollection Autographs #48 /10
2016 Donruss #151

2016 Donruss San Diego Chicken

2016 Donruss Black Border #151 /199
2016 Donruss Pink Border #151
2016 Donruss Press Proof Gold #151 /99
2016 Donruss Printing Plates Black #151 1/1
2016 Donruss Printing Plates Cyan #151 1/1
2016 Donruss Printing Plates Magenta #151 1/1
2016 Donruss Printing Plates Yellow #151 1/1
2016 Donruss Stat Line Career #151 /42
2016 Donruss Stat Line Season #151 /400
2016 Donruss Test Proof Black #151 /25
2016 Donruss Test Proof Cyan #151 /49
2016 Donruss Test Proof Magenta #151 /10
2016 Donruss Test Proof Yellow #151 /5
2016 Donruss San Diego Chicken Silhoutte Materials #1 /82

2016 Donruss Silhouette San Diego Chicken

2016 Donruss San Diego Chicken Silhoutte Materials Green #1 /25
2016 Donruss San Diego Chicken Silhoutte Materials Prime #1 /10

2016 Donruss Silhouette Prime San Diego Chicken

2016 Donruss San Diego Chicken Silhoutte Materials Autographs #1 /82
2016 Donruss San Diego Chicken Silhoutte Materials Autographs Green #1 /25
2016 Donruss San Diego Chicken Silhoutte Materials Autographs Prime #1 /10

In addition to these, you might find the iconic mascot as part of the background of some other cards, such as this 1992 Upper Deck Cecil Fielder:

1992 Upper Deck Cecil Fielder

Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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