First and foremost, this review is part of our “Good Cause Breaks” in which we are holding a group break to support charity. We would like to thank Panini America for the product to review and all of the participants for donating to be part of this group break. All of the proceeds will be donated to the National MS Society, as voted on by the participants.
2011 Panini Limited baseball has been brought back to life by the people at Panini and their shiny new MLBPA baseball license. This product was a solid product by Donruss in the early 2000s and was one of the first multi-hit, single pack products on the market at the time. 6 years later, it’s been brought back with extra hits and some new surprises for collectors.
Let’s get to the review.
The design brings back memories of the last time Donruss put this product out in 2005, especially with the Lumberjacks set. To me, that’s a great thing as Limited was one of my favorite products back then. Even if you look at the video, you’ll see one of the empty boxes from 2005. It also appears Panini is attempting to use some sort of Chrome/gloss technology on some of the cards. Those cards have an interesting look to them when turned into the light, giving the card a little bit of depth and some eye catching looks. Overall, a very good job doing what they can without the actual MLB license. That Braun autograph looks great (besides the white box thing), although the Votto insert looks like he’s in 1906 and Adam Jones looks like he’s in a white t-shirt. They could use a splash of color on their clothes.
I’m a little hard on the checklist because I’m going back to what Limited used to mean in baseball. Limited rarely had prospects, or even rookies for that matter, in their products. It was often full of veterans, superstars, fan favorites, and Hall of Famers. Having one of my two autographs being a prospect was a little tough to swallow as a fan of the product, especially one I had never heard of. I understand the need for content as well and the limitations of the licenses, but I just hope Panini understands baseball collectors are different than any other sport and not everyone enjoys prospects or prospecting. The current MLB talent is pretty good, and the Hall of Famers and fan favorites aren’t bad as well. Maybe I’m just picky, but I’d want less prospect content.
The $100 per box is a little bit high in my opinion, but again, that’s nothing new in my opinions of Panini products. This product would probably sit better in the $80 range, like it sits in the other sports currently. The four hits in the box of Limited is nice, however, the use of little known prospects and plain single jerseys or bats is kind of depressing. Although that is nothing new to the Limited line as well as it’s been that way even 6 years ago. But collectors and cards have changed to where these types of relics are so common now, nobody cares for them anymore unless they are extremely limited. I think Limited should be more of a platform for uncommonly used items. Bases, bat knobs, buttons, logo patches, helmets (thank you), batting gloves, pitcher’s rubber, cleats, stitches from a confirmed thrown baseball, just something different. I think it would add a little value and promote more ideas for memorabilia.
Overall, I think I was tough and fair on my assessment of this product. I may have let my past love of the product interfere a bit, but things have changed in the sports card landscape since the last time this product was released in 2005. The design team did a good job with what they had to work with and I enjoy the semi-new technology from Panini on some of the cards. I know the lack of license for logos does a few things design wise, however, a splash of color on some of the clothes would be useful. The checklist wasn’t overly impressive, and the number of high numbered prospects kind of puts a damper on opening the product for me. There are still some great names to be had though, so don’t let that scare you away too much if you’re like me. The value is a little hard to swallow as well as I feel $100 is a little too much. It should sit a little lower and include some more “Limited” items like those I listed. It would create a more fun and unique product with items that are truly limited across the baseball card spectrum.
Congratulations to our group breakers.