Thursday, May 26, 2022

Bootleggin' with Panini, Part 3

What Panini did to the 1989 set. 

I hit up eBay once again to place an order for just one more needed Panini Instant Retro Rookie card. This time, we travel back to the 2019-20 season to look at what Panini did with the 1989 Donruss design. You know, the rainbow-y one with the Ken Griffey Jr. rookies? Of course, the Rated Rookie portion of that Donruss set was all about the purple borders, and Panini didn't take any liberties here. What they did take liberties with was the player name font on the front, a common complaint I have with any retro-inspired modern set. It looks like some sort of weird space font.

The backs are a bit sad, even by Panini standards. There's no picture or really anything to look at aside from a huge logo. There is a nice nod to the color and weird stripe that ran through part of the backs of those '89s. We see that the print run was a tad bit lower than the set that came after it, which is a bit surprising considering that this was the Zion/Ja year.

It turns out that I already had this card in my collection, so I just needed to dig it up out of a box for this feature. Both cards have plain white backgrounds, which are Photoshopped in to the player's Photo Day photos. I'm starting to like last year's 1990-style set more and more after seeing these.

We likely won't see Panini attempt to replicate the 1989 style any time soon. They would have been on track to include them in the 2023 baseball set, but this is their last year producing MLBPA-licensed cards. Will we see Donruss move to more of a college draft type set for baseball next year? It seems doubtful, but who knows?

There is, I believe, one more year of this set. As of right now, though, it looks like the three cards that I need are a bit out of my price range. I'll continue to keep an eye out, though.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Introducing: The New Max Muncy

New Bowman and Donruss cards are today's @CrackinWax #CrackinWaxMailDay special. 
People who are really into Bowman year after year are a different breed of collector than those I am used to dealing with. I don't have a whole lot to say about it, but I would venture to guess that people who are into buying boxes after boxes of the stuff and show off their hauls in spaces like Twitter are probably not team collectors like myself. While I do enjoy following the progress of the few Cardinals prospects that make the set each year, the set does well to represent the seedy side of the card business. Or just the business side.

One of the prospects in this year's set, pulled at random via a break over at Crackin' Wax, is a guy named Mad Muncy. Muncy shares a birthday with the other Max Muncy and was a first round pick of the A's last year. That other Muncy was also an A's draft pick, albeit many years ago. It's a funny world.

Here's a look at the base design, represented by Juan Yepez. It looks very... Bowmany? Yepez has been off to a hot start after making his MLB debut this season. His inclusion on the Wild Card roster last season didn't result in him seeing his first action, but it may have made him eligible for RC cards early this year, which is nice. Topps in particular is making people wait a long time for the first official MLB rookie cards of certain prospects these days.

The prospect cards have a similar design as expected. I ended up with both the "paper" and Chrome versions of last year's second round pick Joshua Baez. Baez is probably the biggest name in last year's draft in the Cardinals system.

Let's move on from Bowman and look at some more Donruss cards. Again, the serial numbered red parallels are pretty easy to get.

The red cards don't look as good as the blue foils, however. That's probably just the result of the '88 Donruss design being imprinted on my brain.

Lars Nootbaar got called back up to the big club recently after he had a 3 HR game in Memphis. Two of the Cardinals three starting outfielders are currently on the IL, but Nootbaar hasn't drawn a start yet.

Goldy has been on fire lately. You love to see it. (Or, at least, I do.)

I know these cards are still super bootleggy. Here's a blue uniform to go with a blue border.

I signed up for two breaks, and was randomly assigned both the Brewers and Rangers to go with my Cardinals. Thus begins the trade bait portion of this post.

Old friend Kolten Wong makes another appearance on the blue foil.

I can't recall ever owning an Isiah Kiner-Falefa card, even though this is his fifth season in the league. That seems odd.

This is a nickname variation of a Hall of Famer.

I'm hoping the Cards can catch those pesky Brewers soon. They host a four game series with the Crew starting tomorrow, so they have some opportunity to gain ground.

The last card headed for the trade boxes is another blue foil and another old friend. Does anyone need any Adolis Garcia rookie cards? I have plenty.

Friday, May 20, 2022

A Bounty of Birds

A whole lot of Cardinals from @beardedmahmood including a couple of personal faves. 
Back in March, I had some cards listed on Crackin' Wax and ended up working out a deal with a member of the community. I sent out my stash of Red Sox stuff and received a really nice bunch of Cardinals needs in return. These represent just a portion of what I ended up with.

Panini's silver Prizm parallels are a tough find and always look nice, even with the lack of logos. Will there be another, final (?) Prizm baseball set this season? Last season's basketball set still hasn't come out yet.

I wasn't as big on the Stadium Club design last year as in some years, but the Chrome (and refractor) versions still look nice. Let's hope DeJong figures something out in Memphis this season, although it's looking pretty bleak.

Here is the gem of the bunch. Anyone who has followed the blog over the years probably has seen me gushing over the old Topps Black bordered parallels. To get one of one of my favorite players is a huge plus.

Speaking of wishing that card things were the way they were, but now they're something else, I always love these framed Diamond Kings cards. Unfortunately, Panini's take on this set falls short, but they are operating with one hand tied behind their back without the MLB license.

Topps brought back the "1st Edition" concept a couple of years ago with their online-only exclusives. The 1st Edition cards from the mid-'00s seem to be fairly obscure. If you can't spot it, the logo is in the top left below the frame.

Another favorite card thing of mine, for reasons I can't quite explain, are the Panini Donruss Independence Day parallels. I have a very small collection of these from the past few years in a box, but this one is heading to the Cardinals binders.

I liked 1993 Topps (though not as much as 1993 Upper Deck.) I wasn't wild about those Black Gold inserts, though. I feel like I'm in the minority on this. That doesn't make this a bad design to bring back as a one-off, though. At least it's not another take on 1987.

Here's another example of old Donruss being better than new Donruss.

In case you couldn't figure out that these 2003 Bowman Heritage cards are in fact parallels, they made them thicker than the base, gave them a full black border and added a facsimile signature. I wish most parallels were this obvious.

Would Nolan Arenado make the list of Most Elegant Players in MLB? What would that list even look like? I guess Panini took its shot. This is kind of an interesting card that looks a bit like those expensive "color splash" inserts they've made recently for other sports.

To round out this excellent collection of Cards cards, here's a few Ginter minis. Two guys have bats, and two don't.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Big League, Finally

Some heavily delayed cards from @CrackinWax in the latest #CrackinWaxMailDay (thanks, Topps.) 
The story goes that manufacturing delays with action figures delayed the Topps budget priced Big League set for almost a year. I'm not really sure what these toys have to do with baseball cards, but apparently one of the new configurations this year (well, last year) included a special figurine along with packs. Because of this, we end up with brand new cards of players who have changed teams multiple times since they went to the printing press. Max Scherzer and Kyle Schwarber are still with the Nationals. Starling Marte is still with the Marlins.

Adam Wainwright gets two cards in the base set, which I can't complain about. Of course, one of the cards commemorates his winning of the Roberto Clemente Award back in 2020.

We also have some Photoshopped Arenado action. Each pack comes with an orange parallel in both hobby and retail configurations. The breaks from Crackin' Wax feature the hobby stuff, of course.

While I always like the concept of Topps Big League, and usually even the base design, the inserts are just never for me. Maybe these will look impressive twenty years from now, the way that Fleer Pro Visions are pretty wild to look at now.

The Cardinals had a ton of Gold Glovers last year, but Yadi wasn't among them for once. Of course, a set from 2021 wouldn't know this.

I also had the Yankees and Orioles as random teams in these breaks, which left me with a few cards for the trade box. Souvenirs just commemorates long distance home runs, I think?

Here's a crime-themed insert. I'm guessing it's just for crimes committed on the field?

Here's a couple of rookie Orange parallels.

And here's a couple more.

I also bought into a 2021 Panini Mosaic break and was able to add a couple more base cards to my team collection. Dylan Carlson probably has the greatest number of rookie cards in my collection at this point, and that number may never be surpassed with Panini losing the MLBPA license.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday Night PWE Round-Up


Cards in small packages including a set filler from @cardboardjones tops off the weekend. 
Let's run through the contents of a few plain white envelopes before we welcome in the dreaded Monday.

First up is some stuff from reader Derek from Ottawa. The Topps Scratch Off set from 1981 seems to be one of those rare innovations that has never been repeated. I know they had some earlier scratchcards from the late '60s that were replicated in recent Topps Heritage sets, but this exact design probably won't see life again until 2030, assuming we're all still on this planet at that point.

Here's one from one of several attempts to get an MLB-themed TCG going. It didn't seem to have worked, but it produced a number of interesting and sometimes hard to find cards.

The best thing about exchanging cards with someone from another country is when you get hooked up with a regional exclusive. This seems to be some kind of educational bookmark. The back essentially looks the same, but all of the text is in French.

Steve from Cardboard Jones has been the best contributor to my 2003 Topps set endeavor over the years, and this latest crop of cards hits the Traded set portion of my want list. Future Cardinal legend Adam Wainwright and Dan Haren's rookie card highlight this group here. Kenny Lofton was also an unforgettable talent on the field.

This group isn't quite as impressive, but Jeromy Burnitz and Jerry Hairston Jr. certainly made an impact in their respective times in the league. Kirk Reuter was perhaps best known for being nicknamed "Woody" after the Toy Story character thanks to lazy Fox Sports broadcasters.

The one and only Elliptical Man sent along some (American) football cards. Brandon Graham has been one of the best Eagles of the past decade and I hope that he is able finish his career in Philly.

Lane Johnson is another mainstay over the past decade. Here's his Topps Chrome rookie card from 2013. You get a lot of weird attire with NFL rookie card photos.

I do really like this striking orange jersey swatch from Ducks star Royce Freeman, even though the photo is totally posed.

Carson Wentz isn't quite on my "do not collect" list (see Vick, Michael), but he's close. I do realize that the Eagles Super Bowl win in 2018 would almost certainly not have been possible without his stellar play during the season before he was injured, but the dude is pretty insufferable. This has a much nicer design that the 2018 Donruss Threads cards, however.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Bootleggin' with Panini: Baseball Edition


A look at the new Donruss baseball set from a @nightcapcards box break. 
The latest, and apparently last Donruss baseball set from Panini dropped recently, offering another somewhat affordable alternative to the usual churn from Topps. The cards are always a mix of cringe/tacky and fun, and this year is no exception.

This year's set features loose tributes to the original 1988 set. The blue bordered "holo" parallels (see Wainwright at the top) look a bit more like the original, but the font used and the always jarring lack of team logos makes these feel like they were produced in some dark alley.

The Diamond Kings subset design varies from year to year, and I feel like this is one of the better ones in recent sets.

Here's the actual base design for the set. It has a bit of a '90s science class feel to it.

And here's the Rated Rookie design. It's not exactly iconic, but it works within the framework of the base design.

The red bordered cards are serial numbered to 2022. Given that I picked up three of these in this break (and added a fourth in another break), I have to assume that these are much easier to come by than the Topps gold bordered base cards that are similarly numbered. If someone wanted to crunch the numbers, I think it would be fairly simple to discover that the print run for this set is much, much smaller than Topps Series 1 (with good reason.)

The red bordered "Retro 1988" cards don't look as good as their blue bordered counterparts.

Here's the third of those red numbered cards.

Hobby inserts are all numbered as far as I can tell. There's a lot happening on this card.

I was also able to snag a "Retro 1988" jersey card in this break. There's a whopping 97 cards on this checklist, so I feel very fortunate that the one pulled was a Cardinal.