Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Donruss ... if you're into that kind of thing

I was out doing some birthday shopping today and decided to finish off the dirty deed by visiting the card aisle to see if 2014 Heritage had finally come to the Northeast.

It hadn't.

So I kind of stood and stared not really interested in the card abundance sprawled out before me. I was about to head to the checkout line without a thing when I spotted something new on the second shelf. I chuckled to myself. "Oh," I said. "2014 Donruss".

The box was filled to the top, not a soul had touched it. I really had no desire to touch it either, but, there is something irresistible about packs stacked to the brim, so I grabbed two of them. I've always got to try something new.

I'll come right out and say this product isn't for me. It's not just the "no logos" thing, but it's also the Donruss thing. The Donruss name is supposed to trigger a nostalgic reaction among collectors. But I was almost 16 when 1981 Donruss arrived and I pretty much treated it then the way I treat Panini now.

If you were 7 when you first got your grubby hands on '87 Donruss then maybe this is your thing. It ain't mine.

But I'm sure there are some Dodgers in these packs, right? ... Oops, sorry, some "Los Angeleses".

Let's see what we've got:


#48 - Allen Craig, St. Louis

That's your standard base card. I'm sure you've seen it plenty of times on other blogs. It's often been described as a cross between 1987 Donruss and 1978 Topps. Here are my thoughts, both happy and sad:


1. No foil to be seen: In fact, the texture of the cards is very similar to the texture of Donruss cards from the '80s, aside from a little more gloss. There is a certain way that a stack of '80s Donruss feels, the way they move and sound as you shuffle them in your hands. And I think a stack of 2014 Donruss would feel the same way.

2. Full names on the back: Continuing a fine Donruss tradition.

3. There is no 3.


1. Why on earth is the border so large? I am not a full-bleed nazi, far from it in fact, but my goodness that is way too much white. I could draw pictures in that border. Detailed pictures. And color them in, too.

2. The wide border contributes to boring cards. The images aren't big enough and the white border design isn't interesting enough. I'm sleepy.

3. The backs skip some other Donruss traditions: No contract status info. Boo! No five years of stats. Boo!

4. No logos. But you knew that.

Is there any need to go on with the pack?

Oh, OK.

#74 - Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles

#67 - Robinson Cano, Seattle

Here's a card that falls under the old-school airbrush rules. Cano changed teams in the offseason.

#15 - Breakout Pitchers, Derek Holland, Texas

Not a bad looking card. It's one of the many inserts in Panini Donruss. There are Breakout Pitchers and Hitters. Thirty-five of each. Sheesh.

#141 - Jose Iglesias, Detroit

#198 - Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore

A 200-card set and they're putting retired players in it who appeared in 1980s Donruss. I don't get that.

#194 - Chipper Jones, Atlanta

At least it says "Larry Wayne" on the back.

#152 - Zack Greinke, Los Angeles

Yay! A Los Angeles!

Let's view the back.


If I had to guess which old Donruss card back that Panini used as a model, I'd give 1986 Donruss the slight nod over 1988 Donruss.

Just basing it on the font choice on the name and the "recent major league performance" line.


#83 - Jose Altuve, Houston

#87 - Hunter Pence, San Francisco

 #84 - Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto

Fun fact: Edwin's middle name is Elpidio.

#5 - Breakout Pitchers, Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle

#162 - Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle

Iwakuma hot pack.

#120 - Jon Lester, Boston

#182 - Starling Marte, Pittsburgh

#139 - Shelby Miller, St. Louis

Is everyone making up their own rookie card logo now? I've lost track.

And that's all the packs of 2014 Donruss that I am buying.

If you've been following the news on this set, you know that out of the 200 cards in the base set, 45 of them are shortprints (the Diamond Kings and Rated Rookies).

That is the saddest news of all. That's atrocious. I don't understand how a company who is still trying to get certain collectors (me, for one) to take them seriously on a baseball level, would short-print almost one-quarter of their base set.

Even if I could get past the no logos or the massive white borders, that would end all thoughts of collecting the set.

I mean come on. It's Donruss.

I'm still trying to get someone to take my 1991 Donruss off my hands.

(Cards will be distributed to respective team collecting buds).


  1. The wrapper itself with Ortiz looks like the best thing this product has to offer. I'll take the Lester if it's up for grabs.

  2. I did collect the 1991 donruss set (and it's done so I don't need any more sent my way). I won't be making that same mistake with the 2014 set - it's even worse with short prints. I wonder why companies take all the things collectors hate about Topps and then copy those (short prints, gimmicks, etc.). Why not copy the good stuff and improve on the bad - THAT'S how you make new fans/customers.

  3. You nailed my thoughts on this set of cards -- this set is just boring, and what's the purpose of including retired played in the set? Are there that many current guys who have Topps-exclusive contracts?

    Maybe in the future Panini should make up logos for the teams that are their own exclusives so that these guys don't look like they are either wearing pajamas or are playing in the "I'm over 50 and far too serious about softball" softball league.

    Then again, they'd have a team name if they were in the softball league.

  4. I can tell that Marte is a photoshopped throwback. However, I find it interesting that choose to shop the waistband:

    1. I wonder if certain team colors are under license, too, since all of the red numbers on the front of Dodger uniforms show up blue in Panini products.

  5. The backs are easily the best aspect of these. As you said, the borders are WAY too big and the rest of the set is fairly boring. I considered buying a pack of Donruss when I was at my local Target today, but I said "eh" and bought a repack instead. I think I made the right choice.

  6. I haven't held one of these in my hands yet, but I like them based on what I've seen on the web. Yeah, the borders are a bit big. And that's the first I've heard of the Rated Rookies and Diamond Kings being short prints. Not happy about that at all. But otherwise, I really really like these cards.

  7. I've got lots of comments but I'm making them in a blog post tomorrow. I mostly agree with your assessment.

  8. This stuff just isn't my cup of tea. At least that means there's more for everyone else ;-)

  9. Based on my experience and 99% of what I've read elsewhere, this is another Panini failure. The sad thing is I would LOVE for them to be worth a damn because they are a local company and I want to WANT something besides Topps cards.

  10. I think I can manage the big borders. It kind of happens a lot in non-license cards.
    Not that bad looking. Panini is getting it good without licenses.

  11. They include retired players so people like me will buy it.

  12. If they're 50 cents a pack, then I could live with it.

  13. It's such corporate bullpuckey that they can't even mention the team nicknames or anything. "Seattle Baseball Club". Bleah. Sounds like the local men's league. Sooner or later they will try to make it more "hip" and sound like the backs of '95 Fleer or something: "Those Seattle dudes..." "those guys in Boston"..."That Baltimore team".
    PLEASE JUST GIVE 'EM A FRIKKIN LICENSE MLB!!!! STOP THE MADNESS AND THE USELESS PRODUCTS. These could be much nicer if they could include everything.

  14. Gaaah! It looks like 1986 True Value couldn't find a mate, just squeezed real hard, and managed to reproduce asexually.

  15. Sucks that they don't even use the team names on the front or back.

    I wonder, do newspapers have to pay royalties to the teams every time a team name appears in either the standings, or in the report of the previous night's game?

    1. Shudder the thought, Jim. Newspapers do not pay royalties for using team names. I don't know of the legal reasons why, but I believe it falls generally under the First Amendment.