Panini Inks MLBPA Deal For Trading Cards

Wow! This came out of left field.

Panini America, the world’s largest producer of trading cards, has agreed to terms with the MLBPA to start producing baseball trading cards. This makes Panini the only trading card manufacturer with licenses in all four of the main sports in the United States.

The first product set to release is 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition which will release in December which will be followed by 2011 Contenders baseball. This product will include new Panini autograph signer Josh Hamilton will who be signing for Panini as well as featuring him on product packaging.

Honestly, this comes at a great time and I am absolutely pumped. Competition really drives the market here in America and finally having a licensed company compete with Topps is something great for the hobby. (I’d be saying the same thing if someone else got an NBA license too!) I like what Panini brings to the table and this should make Topps step up their game a little bit.

Welcome back Donruss. We missed you.

Topps Finalizes Autograph List for 2011 Bowman Draft Picks

Yesterday, Topps rounded out their list of the 34 autographs that will be available in 2011 Bowman Draft Picks baseball. 33 of these 34 players were selected in the first round, including the supplemental first round.

Since I’m not a huge prospector, I can’t really name many of these players on a personal basis. But considering 33 of the 34 players were first round draft picks, I think that speaks for itself if you aren’t a prospector like me. That’s practically the entire first round so Topps did a great job securing all these players for the product. Anyway, let’s get down to the names here.

Bubba Sterling – Kansas City Royals

Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles

Archie Bradley – Arizona Diamondbacks

Taylor Guerrieri – Tampa Bay Rays

Tyler Anderson – Colorado Rockies

Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs

Matt Barnes – Boston Red Sox

Trevor Bauer – Arizona Diamondbacks

Jed Bradley – Milwaukee Brewers

CJ Cron – Anaheim Angels

Kyle Crick – New York Giants

Jose Fernandez – Florida Marlins

Michael Fulmer – New York Mets

Tyler Goeddel – Tampa Bay Rays

Sonny Gray – Oakland A’s

Larry Greene – Philadelphia Phillies

Jake Hager – Tampa Bay Rays

James Harris – Tampa Bay Rays

Travis Harrison – Minnesota Twins

Taylor Jungmann – Milwaukee Brewers

Francisco Lindor – Cleveland Indians

Brandon Martin – Tampa Bay Rays

Kevin Matthews – Texas Rangers

Brandon Nimmo – New York Mets

Blake Snell – Tampa Bay Rays

George Springer – Houston Astros

Corey Spangenberg – San Diego Padres

Robert Stephenson – Cincinnati Reds

Trevor Story – Colorado Rockies

Blake Swihart – Boston Red Sox

Dan Vogelbach – Chicago Cubs

Keenyn Walker – Chicago White Sox

Kolten Wong – St. Louis Cardinals

Joe Panik – San Francisco Giants

And that’s the list. For you prospectors out there, which players on this list have the biggest upside? Don’t worry, I have no interest in prospecting, I just want to know how the baseball future looks.

Look for a full preview of 2011 Bowman Draft Picks here from Sports Card Blog in the coming weeks

Review: 2011 Topps MLB Sticker Collection

I went to the store the other day for some bubble mailers and I saw some of these 2011 Topps MLB Sticker Collection packs and the sticker book that comes with it and thought, why not? For $1 per pack and $2 for the sticker book it was a cheap thrill that lasted longer then opening most boxes because I had to peel the sticker and find the spot for it to go.

Then I was thinking, hey, it’s a sports card product right? Why not review it? So I brought out my trusty camera, took out my sticker book, and snapped some photos for those who may be interested in trying to put this set together whether you 8 or 50 years old. Just don’t stick a card in the wrong spot in the sticker book, so you have to know your numbers to be able to do this correctly. Or those who can’t put stickers inside the lines like I apparently can’t in the photos below. It’s my big hands! I swear it to you!

Base:

Teams:

Legends:

Design:

While the sticker design looks average at best, the foils looked great. The team and legends stickers are foil cards and not only look better, they feel like better quality stickers when you peel them and place them in your sticker book. And speaking of the sticker book, I actually really like the design of that myself. The interior pages are colorful and provide a great color photograph of a star on your favorite team.

Checklist:

Now this is a big checklist, but is it too big for a sticker book? It contains all the stars of your favorite players at 9 per team, all the team logo stickers, and 9 legend stickers. As this product is mainly focused towards children, will they be trying to complete the set this size? Either way, it’s great for low end set collectors as it provides a challenge to put together or great for kids.

Value:

How can you not give this value a 5 stars? $1 per pack of stickers gives you a ton of stickers and $2 just for the book itself isn’t bad either. There isn’t any frills or anything with this product like other sticker products, but it doesn’t really need it for what the product is and who the target audience is. It may be harder to get the older crowd involved in stickers, but sometimes you gotta go back and just do something for the kids and this does a great job of bringing kids back into collecting.

Overall:

Is it just me or do you feel kind of weird walking into a store and grabbing packs of stickers and a sticker book at 25 years old? This product is definitely designed for kids, but I can see adults picking up this product as a fun set to put together whether they stick the stickers in the book or just collect the stickers. At $1 per pack and $2 for the book you aren’t going to break the bank putting this set together and the foils really stand out, although they are harder to get. I would of liked to see maybe a foil variation of the base card to mix things up a bit, but overall, a solid product.

Poor Pedroia, he has no Red Sox to be stuck on him.

Preview: 2011 Topps Chrome Baseball

Every year collectors transition from Topps flagship to Topps Chrome. Basically, it’s the same product but with the famous Topps Chrome technology. With Chrome technology you get the shininess of the cards plus all the different refractors and this is no different than in the past.

Every box will feature two on-card rookie autographs. There are 20 different rookies and you can find these in up to 6 different refractor versions plus a printing plate version. You may also find more of the Topps 60th Anniversary autographed cards featuring 3 different players and an inscription, usually congratulating Topps on their 60th birthday.

Other than the autographs you can find a 220 card base set with 170 top veterans you found in Topps Series I and II as well as 50 rookies. You can find these in 7 different paralleled refractors as well as the printing plates.

The inserts this time around, which Topps has been lacking on in the past are Chrome Heritage cards based on the 1962 design and Vintage Chrome based off the 1996 design (I wasn’t aware 1996 was vintage, but I still liked that design).

Also, only found in hobby boxes, are black bordered parallels in which some of them have autographs of the 20 rookies, giving you more chances to pull rookie autographs. And lastly, there will be randomly inserted redemptions for autographs from the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. These can also be found in 6 parallels and printing plates.

After all of this, personally I would wait for Topps Finest baseball.

You can find this product in stores on September 7, 2011, for a price around $65.

September 2011 Trading Card Releases

September is right around the corner just in time for some great sports card releases. From the high end to the low end, September is packed full of products. As always, the rating is based on how excited I am for the product. So let’s get it started:

Baseball:

2011 Topps Chrome baseball – September 7, 2011 – $65 – 7/10

A pretty decently cheap price for the same cards as Series I and II but with Chrome technology and 2 autographs a box. Nothing earth shattering here though, I’d rather wait until Finest comes out.

2011 Topps Heritage Minor League baseball – September 21, 2011 – $66 – 5/10

OMG BRYCE HARPER AUTOGRAPHED CARDS!

Basketball:

2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic basketball – September 28, 2011 – $118 – 7/10

Upper Deck brings the college court back again with this year’s SP Authentic basketball. With new exclusives to their basketball products, this looks to be a solid product by Upper Deck, and if the lockout continues, could hold more value over the long term if Panini decides to not make any products this season.

2010-11 Panini Elite Black Box basketball – September 14, 2011 – $250 – 9/10

Panini’s newest high end basketball product comes out hot and ready to go. A great looking set that reminds me of the old Upper Deck Black, Panini Elite Black Box looks great with beautiful hard autographs from all of the game’s top stars. This is another great original product from Panini.

Football:

2011 Panini Absolute Memorabilia football – September 14, 2011 – $155 – 8/10

A 1 hit per pack product that brings you some of the nicest patches and autographs of the season with the new on-card rookie autographs. As always, a hit with football collectors and this year should be the same once again.

2011 Panini Timeless Treasures football – September 14, 2011 – $91 – 9/10

I really like the look and quality of Timeless Treasures this year. Bringing the old and new players together in this product is great and some of the designs are top notch. I’m happy to see this product brought to the gridiron and I think Panini did the product great justice.

2011 Topps Platinum football – September 7, 2011 – $88 – 7/10

I am kind of disappointed by the looks of things and I really hope that I missed something on the sell sheet. I don’t like the college jerseys with the logos edited out and that is killing me on this product. Add in some checklist issues with very little veterans and tons of rookies and I’m not real excited about this product.

2011 Topps Prime football – September 28, 2011 – $86 – 8/10

An underrated product last season, it returns with some solid hits and a pretty nice design overall. A great product to hold you over if you are waiting on Topps Supreme.

2011 Upper Deck SP Authentic football – September 13, 2011 – $112 – 8/10

I really like this product except for one thing. Those autographed patches may look absolutely horrible with the retro design. I hope it was just the mock up in the sell sheet because the more I looked at it the more I didn’t like it. Maybe they will look better in person. But I still think this will be an above average product.

2011 Upper Deck University of Oklahoma football – September 20, 2011 – $45 – 5/10

Hockey:

2010-11 Panini Dominion hockey – September 14, 2011 – $380 – 9/10

Finally, the long wait comes to an end. The first high end product from Panini in the hockey arena is finally going to be showcased to the public after a delay by the NHLPA. Will this be The Cup Killer?

2011-12 Upper Deck Artifacts hockey – September 20, 2011 – $92 – 8/10

One of Upper Deck’s first all out hockey products of the new season is back and looks just as good as it has ever been. A great looking design as always, new players on new teams, new rookies and rookie redemptions, and some sweet patches and autographs in this hit per pack product.

That’s what we got for September 2011 sports card releases. I will be updating this page as I do more previews as it looks like I have a ton of previewing to do that I’ve missed. So stay tuned for lots of previews!