Brand: Panini Cooperstown
Insert set: Cooperstown Credentials
Card number: 18
The Cooperstown Credentials cards were inserted two per box in the 2012 Panini Cooperstown set. On the surface, this might be the weirdest insert set in the last decade - and that's saying something! A more investigative look at the card does nothing but confirm exactly how bizarre the card design actually is. Since Panini didn't have a license for team logos, the entire card is devoid of any team insignias (or even the mention of the actual team names). Furthermore, there's no image of the player, team, or even a stadium on the card. Heck, even the set logo is nothing more than a fancy font script.
As for the card itself, the front details Larkin's Cooperstown Credentials (which is a nice tie-in to the set theme but doesn't make for an overly exciting card). The back features a decent write-up of Larkin's career, but again, is quite boring (though it features fewer fonts and colors).
Unlike most cards in my Larkin Collection, this one is tough to pin down. On the one hand, it's definitely ugly - and I hate not having team logos (or photos) on a card. On the other hand, it fits the theme beautifully, something that companies like Topps aren't always great at doing. I suppose it's a good idea that was poorly executed because of the stipulations of the baseball card monopoly... Should we reward Panini for trying anyway or penalize them for forging ahead with a doomed idea? Honestly, I'm not sure - and that leaves me confused!