Monday, March 26, 2018

Two Hobby Boxes of 2018 Panini Donruss (Part 1)

A week or two ago, I bought a pair of hobby boxes of 2018 Panini Donruss.  I don't normally buy Panini products for myself, but for some reason I was drawn to this year's edition of Donruss (probably due in big part to Barry Larkin having multiple cards in the set).

My two boxes were definitely hit and miss (as you'll see)...and that pretty much sums up Panini at the moment.  Yes, some of the base cards are quite nice (the Xander Bogaerts above in particular) but then there are other cards that are simply begging for team logos (such as the Sonny Gray below).

I did manage to pull Larkin's regular base card and his split card (shared with Gary Sheffield of all people). 

This year, Panini jammed the Donruss set with an obscene number of alternate cards (some featuring alternate photos while others feature nicknames or even color edited photographs).  They are kind of annoying for sure (you need to reference a checklist to know exactly what alternates are out there, especially since a few players have TWO different alternate cards).  Luckily, Panini did two things right with their alternates:  1)  The alternates aren't seeded at a more difficult rate than a regular base card and 2)  The alternates all have black baseballs on the back (except for the final grouping which has white baseballs).  The alternates are super easy to spot when you flip the cards over to sort thanks to the color coded baseballs.  In my case, I actually ended up with 100% of the alternate card versions after sorting through my two boxes.  Most of the alternates are kind of dumb, but I admit that the Aaron Judge "12th Judicial District" card is kind of cool and I liked Joe Morgan's "Big Red Machine" label on his alternate card too.

Moving on to the inserts and parallels, I found a few neat cards including a single black back parallel of Xander Bogaerts. 

The blank backs don't interest me much despite them apparently being a fairly tough pull (I only had one in two boxes).  I'll probably (maybe?) try and track down the different Larkin variations but otherwise I'll leave those alone. 

Speaking of variations, I also pulled one Father's Day parallel (numbered out of only 49). 

That is Cody Bellinger...and it's just the start of the Dodgers "hits" in my two boxes.  In fact, I think any Dodgers fan would have loved my two boxes...but as a Reds fan, things weren't nearly so good.  I guess that's the gamble you take when you buy boxes though so I can't complain too much. 

It's not all doom and gloom though because Panini does load up each box with a fair amount of numbered parallels and inserts.  For example, I ended up with a single Press Proof parallel (not of a Dodger) numbered out of 99.

The Press Proof cards look pretty nice - and I guarantee a binder full of them would be quite slick (though undoubtedly expensive to actually put together)!

Moving on to the inserts, we start with another Cody Bellinger (as well as a Nolan Arenado) - this time an Out of this World insert numbered out of 999.

The Out of this World cards fell one per box for me...and at 999 of each copy - and with 12 cards in the set in total...  Well, the math would suggest that Panini produced a crap ton of Donruss!  For those that want to see the math, if we assume that the Out of this World cards are hobby only (I have no idea if that's true) then we have 1 OotW card per box x 999 copies of each card x 12 different subjects = 11,988 hobby boxes.   Now, presumably the inserts are not hobby only (and since they are numbered, I imagine Panini keeps a few back to serve as replacements for damaged/missing cards for people).  Still, that seems like a lot of boxes, doesn't it?

Next, we turn to another set numbered out of 999 - though this time I only got one in my two boxes total.

The Dominator card is actually pretty boring if you ask me - sure it's shiny but otherwise there isn't much substance to it.  The checklist for this set is only 10 cards, but looking through the list I think I would have preferred almost anyone else other than Kluber to be my one representative (especially since a Red was actually featured in the set)!

  • 1 Mookie Betts - Boston Red Sox
  • 2 Jose Altuve - Houston Astros
  • 3 Joey Votto - Cincinnati Reds
  • 4 Max Scherzer - Washington Nationals
  • 5 Justin Verlander - Houston Astros
  • 6 Corey Kluber - Cleveland Indians
  • 7 Nolan Arenado - Colorado Rockies
  • 8 Corey Seager - Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 9 Shohei Ohtani - Los Angeles Angels
  • 10 Mickey Mantle - New York Yankees

It's been a couple of cards since I featured a Dodger and you might have thought I was exaggerating about the sheer volume of LA cards.  Well, I wasn't.  Our next insert is a Mound Marvels card of Clayton Kershaw (also numbered out of 999).

The Mound Marvels set only has six cards in it (no Reds of course since their pitching is and has been atrocious for a number of years now).  Therefore, while I was sick of all the Dodgers, I think Kershaw was probably the best pull from the set (unless you believe in Ohtani as being a superstar because he's in the set as well).

The only insert set that truly didn't interest me at all when I saw the sell sheet was the American Pride set.  This is a set full of guys I've never heard of - so wouldn't you know it that I pulled two cards from the set (both of which are parallels of the insert set).

The silver Swaggerty card is numbered out of 349 while the blue Shewmake is out of only 249.  Neither guy means anything to me, though that may just be my baseball rookie ignorance speaking.  At least the card design isn't bad on these.

My second to last insert was a Mookie Betts #/249 blue Foundations parallel card.

It's got a kind of neat futuristic vibe to it.  There are nine cards in this set (including Ohtani which Panini jammed in just about every insert set that they could). 

Finally, we end with yet another Dodger - this time a gold parallel (#/99) of Corey Seager of the Dodgers.

I'm telling you, a Dodgers fan would have been through the roof with the contents of my two boxes!!

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the remaining parallels (the stat line parallels and the teal border parallels) as well as the hits (each box promises three hits in some combination of autograph and relic).  As a hint to what's to come, we aren't done with the Dodgers yet...and did I mention that Panini liked to throw Ohtani into every set they could?!


Collecting Cutch said...

The one thing I love about Donruss is the stat line parallels. I really like the Out of World insert.

night owl said...

From now on I'm hiring you to buy all my cards. You always pull the Dodgers. I'm lucky if one every 40 packs is Dodger friendly.

P.S.: I will take anything you're willing to send.

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