With Panini giving us a list of all the Panini Contenders SPs for their baseball product this season, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to post my review of that same product. 2011 Panini Contenders baseball is the first time Panini/Donruss has come out with a Contenders product line and it is full of what you’d expect…prospect autographs. Just like the other Contenders products, the product seems like it will be known for prospect autographs. With 6 autographs per box on average, you will hit a ton of these. So if you are into prospecting, this newest product from Panini may be the perfect product for you to rip open so you can collect those future star autographs.
But that all depends on my review, right? As I said, 6 autographs per box will come in this product along with some parallels and inserts of both major league talent and minor league prospects. There are a few MLB star autographs thrown in the product as well, so you may get lucky and pull a major league star. The bottom gallery shows what we pulled from our box…now for the review.
I actually really like the base designs in this product. The prospect cards have a wood grain border and look like baseball cards of old, with a modern twist. The Draft Tickets and the Season Tickets cards also look really good and I like the lighting effects on the cards with the baseball lights kinda showing in the back of the card. Not to mention, the parallel versions of these cards with the shiny and sparkly background look really cool and are on a thicker card stock. I’m not psyched about the inserts though as like some other products, I just don’t think the space is utilized the best. I’ve always thought this about Panini/Donruss products over the years, but for some reason it stands out a little more in this product. Overall though, solid.
My issue with the checklist lies with one thing, I don’t know who half these players are. I mean, I’m not a prospector. This is just not geared towards the really casual collector. The casual collector would want pretty much all major league talent. This provides some major league talent, more than say Elite Extra Edition, but I would like to see more. I know the MLBPA license is new and you want to start using it and it’s hard getting all those pictures done the first year, so you should be given a little pass. Otherwise, this product is almost just like Elite Extra Edition but with a few more MLB players. Please don’t create something like Bowman, Bowman Draft, Bowman Chrome, Bowman Sterling, Bowman Black, Bowman’s Best, Bowman’s Bowman, etc.
This product is $50 more than Elite Extra Edition and you’re getting just about the same number of autographs. The only difference between the autographs in this product is that you might hit a veteran if you’re lucky and the autograph print runs are lower. Is it worth the extra $50? Well you can compare this review to Elite Extra Edition and see for yourself. The autographs with their SPs will hold more value over time and the addition of MLB autographs is nice for those lucky to pull them. I think the value is kinda there, it just depends if you are into trying to collect prospect autographs. I think if maybe they add some lower parallels to each prospect and/or their autograph, it will add some good value. I’d even go as far as taking the suggestion of having some rookies only having a rookie and no autograph or vice versa, like Bowman Chrome used to do. I’d use that successful formula if you are looking to compete.
Overall, this is a great first step for Panini with their first Contenders product. The design is very good, but the inserts could use a little work filling up the space, especially since we all know that the duals and inserts won’t be having game used relics in them. You can do a lot more knowing that, and I didn’t see that. The checklist could be improved to be more like the other sports versions of Contenders, however with this being the first year for their MLBPA license, I can kinda give them a pass because of the way they are choosing to do photography for their cards. If you are looking for value, it’s there if you are a prospector. Casual collectors may have trouble wanting to put down $120+ for a product with players they don’t really know. They’ll like the 6 autographs per box though, so that’s a plus.
As always, thanks to Panini for providing this box for review. I will be using some cards from this break for the Blogoversary, so check that out in April. Until then, why don’t you join this contest?
Check out the cards we pulled!