Thursday, December 19, 2013

2014 Donruss Baseball Preview

Update 2-7-14 - Added a few new teaser photos from Panini's blog.

I was actually excited to see that Panini was bringing back the Donruss name with it's new lower end baseballs set in 2014. Like a lot of other collectors I was a little disappointed that they decided to have a very reduced base set of only 200 cards.  It's one thing Panini has yet to try to do with it's MLPA license and that's try to put out a real flagship set.  I'd pondered why Panini didn't try to do what it did with basketball and just put out a Panini Baseball.  And I suppose Panini has the option of putting out an even lower end set with Score Baseball, but bringing back the Donruss name also allows to bring with it the Donruss heritage. That means, Diamond Kings, Rated Rookies, Elite inserts, Dominators, ect, ect.   Maybe this is just Panini getting it's toes wet. Panini has put out some nice higher to mid range sets featuring Hall of Famers, and Panini has put out it's own version of Chrome too.  I guess we'll have to see how big of a hit these cards are, but Panini has done a pretty admirable job with it's baseball products considering they can't use MLB logos or team names.  Lets have a look at some of the teasers Panini has put out via their blog.

 I like the base design.  I think the picture could be a little wider to add a little more of the background in. The base design looks like a homage to the 1987 Donruss Set with a little 1978 Topps thrown in.

You get 24 packs per box and 8 cards per pack that come out to 192 cards per box.  The base set is 200 cards and according to the Panini's blog the first 30 cards are Diamond Kings and the next 15 are Rated Rookies. The other 155 cards are vets, that's only about 5 cards per team.  So out of the 192 cards, you get at least 19 inserts based on the above box break, I didn't include the Diamond Kings and Rate Rookies since they're numbered into the set or the Box Topper.

The Diamond Kings look almost identical to the 1984 DK issue. In years past the DK's were reserved for those guys that made the All-Star team.  This time Panini has issued a card to a player from every team.  And it also looks like they've gone away from the art card, opting for photos.  Maybe Perez has retired?

Panini has also brought back Studio as an insert. I was never a big fan of Studio at least the early issues. But the mock up of the Puig card looks pretty nice.

Panini has also added this Hall Worthy insert. It kind of harkens back to the Heroes of the Hall inserts, but looks nothing like them.

There are also a ton of other inserts Panini hasn't provided images for yet  like the No-No's, Breakout Hitters and Pitchers, Press Proofs, Stat Line, Career Stat Line, Rate Rookie base, and The Rookies, but we've got a few months and Panini is always good about putting out teasers and drool galleries on their blog.

You get 3 hits per box with two autos and one relic.
The relic cards are pretty ho-hum, but I wonder if there will be other levels to them.

There are at least three autograph issues in the set.
The Power Plus Signatures, which I think there is also a base insert version of these.  This set is obviously taken from those 1985 Action All-Star  over-size cards.

There are also these Donruss Signatures.  I have no idea if this is based on an old issue, but I don't remember ever seeing anything like this before.  But not my favorite of the bunch either.
And last image we got teased with were the Elite Signature cards

Back in the 90's the Elite inserts were some of the most sought after cards in the hobby. Featuring some of the first serial numbered cards and the hottest stars of the day, pulling an Elite was like striking gold.  
Panini mashes two inserts together here with the Elite and the Signature Series.  As the Signature Series cards were like diamonds.  And were some of the first ever inserted autograph cards and they were a tough pull.  

Overall I like the designs. This seems like to me a mix between a flagship product and a vintage heritage like product.  Something old mixed with some new things.  And while I don't think I'll be buying boxes and boxes of this stuff, I'll most likely pick up a few packs to try it out.  Anyone else excited for a little Topps competition?


  1. I just read about this set coming out a couple of days ago and was very excited. Seeing the cards is even better. Now if only they would bump it to a 660 card set like the old days and maybe bring back the MVP insert sets as well. I already like this better than 2014 Topps.

    1. The overall response I've seen around the web has been pretty positive save for the small set size. I'd have been happy if it had been closer to 500, but you're right a full 660 set would have been even better. I'm interested to see Panini's packout post over on their blog. I really would like to see what a few of these cards really look like and not just the mock up's.

  2. My first thought when I saw the Cabrera base image was that the side borders are too wide. Wasted space. Otherwise decent design. The Diamond King is based on the 1984 design.

    1. Yep I agree on the borders 100% and your right that's totally an 84 design. Nice catch. I actually just looked that up too before I wrote the post, I'm not sure why I put 83 down, anyways I've changed it.

  3. If only Panini could get a MLB license, until then, no dice.