Saturday, May 4, 2019

Here comes the Panini Donruss

I've been trying to hold off a bit on diving into 2019 card product in the quest for Dodgers because I know those cards will be coming to me via various traders more often than other cards.

It's a bit of a struggle for me because the pull of retail is quite strong. It's right there! Down the street! Calling to me! "Niggggghhhht Oowwwwlll! Ohhhh, Niggggghhhtt Owwwwwlll!!!! Freshly stocked caaard merchandiiisse is waaitting for yoooooooooouuuu!!!"

I'm powerless to ignore that call when flagship or Heritage or Ginter reaches retail aisles. And that lack of willpower doesn't bother me a lot because what I don't need is often quite handy to send along to others. But I do realize the benefits of holding back and waiting, especially at this point in the card calendar.

This is what I call the "Card Brands Of No Use To Night Owl Season". There is no retail pull at this time of year. Spring signals the release of Gypsy Queen and Bowman and Panini Donruss. All of it can rot on retail hook vine as far as I care.

Others, though, find a reason to buy it. I know this, because those sets start to appear in my card packages. And I'm grateful because "phew! I don't have to buy any of this!"

Lately I've been seeing 2019 Panini Donruss cards in my packages with greater frequency. Two in particular included that logo-less stuff.

Kerry from Cards On Cards sent me a Panini Donruss-heavy card package recently. The 2019 Clayton Kershaw above was part of it as were these Los Angeleseses:

Panini has chosen a somewhat original design for its '19 Donruss set with fat diagonal stripes that detract a little bit from the slo-pitch softball look of the featured players. Not impressed, though, with the giant gray triangle in the lower right with the cropped city name that is also sideways, as well as the position designation.

Also, it wouldn't be a P-D post from me if I didn't crab about Panini's card back ineptness:

The first thing that drew my attention was that the Rated Rookie backs are different colors (P-D may have been doing this for years but that's how much mind I pay this set, just noticing it now).

Look closer though and you'll notice that the Rated Rookie back is much easier to read than the regular card back. Not only does white type on a dark background stand out better than dark type on a colored background, but THE TYPE IS IN ALL CAPS AND POSSIBLY LARGER PANINI WHY DON'T YOU DO THIS ALL THE TIME?? WE ARE NOT ALL 20 YEARS OLD WITH 20-20 VISION!!!

OK. Let's view a nice, hypnotic, swirly card to calm old night owl down.

Wooooooo! That's my meds right there. I kind of like that.

Not only does it put me in a trance but it's one of those moment-in-time cards that I enjoy so much. There is also brief mention of the combined no-no feat on the back, but it causes me eye strain so I'm not gonna look at it no more.

Cards on Cards also went back one year in time to send me this 2018 Donruss Corey Seager card. Even with as little I know about P-D, my variation radar went off because I believe every card in the set has at least one variation because who doesn't want to collect as many versions of players pretending they're sanitation engineers as possible?

My suspicions were correct, not only because the baseball on the back of the card was black instead of white (the tell-tale variation sign) but also, the differences on the front are so plentiful. Here, take a look at the Seager base version:

See? See? The background is different. And it's night instead of day (OK, Panini, you got me there). And it's a home uniform instead of road. And, and, and, uh ... his arm is different ... and, and ... his one leg is up ...

Seriously, I like my variations to be an entirely different photo, P-D.

One more Panini card and then we'll get to more appealing stuff:

The dreaded Chronicles. This is the base Kershaw. Can't say I hate it, as weird as this set is.

The rest of the cards I needed from the package were cards from companies who (usually) put logos on their cards.

That's a very happy Sandy with a photo from his 18-strikeout performance against the Giants in 1959. The K total broke the NL record set by Dizzy Dean back in the 1930s. I'm so used to getting cards with Koufax showing off baseballs from his perfect game that I automatically assumed this was another one of those. Nice to get card verification of another Koufax feat!

Quite happy to see these. The scans hate 2003 Chrome but these might be the most appealing cards ever made during that decade. So bounteously blue in hand, it's a natural for a Dodger fan to complete. Still need Nomo, Gagne and Izturis to fill out the set.

Another need from one of the many sets that short-prints base cards. Campy here looks just like all of his non-SP'd Dodger teammates in the 2006 SP Legendary Cuts set, except for the serial number on the front. Yay, Campy! Bah, SP'd base cards.

I know, I know, what about the rest of the Panini Donruss cards????? I know you love them so, I'm getting to more. Need to show this Hideo Nomo Donruss card first.

A new Nomo is always a gift. This is from the Inside View insert set in '05 Donruss. Donruss wasn't thinking about how these cards would end up with a super-sensitive card surface (there are a lot of sets like this, circa 1994-2006). Check out all the scratches on this thing! Can't say it bothers me though.

OK, more P-D for the masses:

This is from an envelope from Johnny's Trading Spot. This arrived a few days after a large card package he also sent. You'll see that later. Need to get these out of the way first.

Unfortunately I had all of the above four already. Cards On Cards barely beat him out there. That's why it's good to hold back on 2019 cards, they're showing in droves!!!

The Buehler card is new, though.

A real live card of reliever Caleb Ferguson? Good for you, P-D.

The retro cards in Donruss this year take on the '85 Donruss design, which was a great look for Donruss then and fairly nice today. Good fortune for 2019 P-D. Not so good for 2020 P-D when it will probably rerun that headache-inducing Max Headroom '86 Donruss design.

This card looks pretty damn bitchin' by itself. Now imagine if they had the power to throw that "LA" on the cap. This would be one great card. Oh, what could have been, Donruss!

Finally from Johnny, Max Muncy in regulation and variation form.

Here is where I feel like a meanie about all my P-D bashing. Donruss IS making cards of Max Muncy more frequently than Topps is. Muncy dashed the hopes of Padres fans everywhere last night. That's worth about five more Muncy cards in the next set as far as I'm concerned. Can't have too many Mad Max cards.

So, there you go. I'm not sure how close I am to finishing off the team set of 2019 Donruss. Probably not close at all (definitely not close if you figure in all the variations and parallels). But it's good to know I have at least a dozen Dodgers without bothering to look for it in my nearest Target/Walmart. I know I could just go online and buy the entire '19 Donruss team set but I can't think of anything less fun in the card world than doing that.

If everything falls right, I will be hauling in some much-wanted older cards in the coming weeks. I owe the ability to do that in part to ignoring the card aisle for nearly a month.

Many thanks for sending the '19 cards my way. I've already seen some 2019 Bowman Dodgers arrive, too. Gypsy Queen? I guess nobody's buying that.


  1. I was about to email you to find out if those cards actually made it to you, because the USPS never actually scanned it to indicate it was delivered.

    I bought another Panini Donruss pack tonight. I don't know what's wrong with me.

  2. Even if Panini had an MLB license... I don't think I'd spend any money on 2019 Panini Donruss packs/boxes. The front design just doesn't do anything for me... and the backs aren't any better.

  3. I know that Panini has to do what they have to do to make baseball cards. But I have always thought it illuminating that trademarks also extend to the red color of the uniform # for the Dodgers.

  4. Why don't they just get an MLB license, already.What's the hold up?

    1. Topps pays extra to MLB for an exclusive license, recently renewed even.

  5. Some of their products are nice looking and have potential but like you I don’t sweat it if I don’t get everything they put out

  6. Yeah, nobody is buying GQ because it's fugly.

  7. There is a variation Buehler "Buehler's Day Off" in the nameplate area. Only 50 total variation cards. You are closer to complete than you think.

  8. I've been sent a couple of Tony Gwynn Don Russ cards from a friend who got them in a box break. You're right about waiting around. Can't see the point in buying them myself.