I was at my local card shop the other day picking up a few cards for a fellow blogger when I saw some new product sitting on the front counter. The Tony Gwynn on wrapper is what really caught my eye and I asked the owner about the set. He replied that Panini scored the first memorabilia of three Hall of Fame players (Roger Bresnehan, Gabby Hartnett and Bob Meuse) and they were in this product along with some of the all time greats and current prospects. Then he paused and hooked me with the following, "Kris Bryant has an auto in there, too." He knows my kryptonite is Cubs prospects.
I picked out two packs and he wished me good luck. He knows the only packs I usually buy are Opening Day because I don't have a ton of money to budget on cardboard featuring baseball players. Yep, $4.99 a pack. And I bought two. He must have thought I just won the lottery or something to go all crazy like that.
I actually have the other pack, unopened, staring back at me as I type this post. I'm saving it for a day when I need a bit of a silver lining, and I'm hoping the next one packs the same kind of wallop as this one.
The checklist for Panini Classics is 200 cards strong and while the last 50 cards contain rookies, who made their debut in 2014, the first 150 cards is littered with legends and present day stars.
What about the team name? It can be found directly beneath the player's name on the back of the card, but it's not visible on the front of the card. Or is it?
From what I've read, each 8-card pack is supposed to have two rookies. A
box contains 24 packs, which means if the collation is good, then one would
crack open 48 of the 50 rookie cards in a box.
I'm not familiar Chris Taylor, a shortstop for the Mariners, but I know Odrisamer Despaigne pitched well enough down the stretch for me to stream him on one of my fantasy league teams. Two west coast rookies. It is, what it is.
I'd like to add that I like the sepia background behind the players and, believe it or not, I think Panini is getting better at choosing its pictures to hide the fact it doesn't have an MLB license.
Here's two of the legends I pulled:
Well, we're at five cards and this pack has been less than earth-shattering up to this point, but that's okay, because it was a Cubs HOT PACK and I've saved the best for last! (Three out of eight cards makes it a hot pack, right?)
Hey, it's Mr. Cub!
The sepia is nice for the base cards, but what it really does is make this insert set really pop:
There are four main insert subsets, including the Stars of Summer (as seen above) as well as Legendary Lumberjacks, Home Run Heroes, and October Heroes. I'm quite happy with my Starlin Castro, thank you very much!
The set's checklist has many other smaller inserts which are autographed and relic based and each box guarantees two autographs and two memorabilia cards. In the middle of my pack was a thicker card:
Numbered 15 out of 99, I pulled Classic Lineups card with three hall of famers who played for the Cubs. Chuck Klein only spent a couple of seasons in Chicago, but hey, beggars can't be choosers! The piece of fabric for Gabby Hartnett is pretty frickin' sweet. Supposedly, it's part of the first line of Gabby Hartnett memorabilia cards. Nice!
How many times have you had a hot pack of your favorite team? It's my first.
How many times have you pulled a sweet hit which actually has a place in your collection? Also a first.
I was so stoked after this pack!
Overall, Panini Classics is a nice product, but there is some room for improvement. The material Panini used to print the team name on the front of
the cards should have never made it past the drawing room. I don't want
to hold the card at a certain angle to see the team name, especially in
a set which has prospects I'm just being introduced to. Speaking of which, I like the idea of having legends sprinkled in with today's stars, but I'm not sure how I feel about the prospects eating up 25% of the checklist. The prospects aren't classics by any stretch of the imagination at this point in their careers, and five years from now we'll be lucky to have a handful of them in the All-Star game. I like the sepia background, but I have mixed feelings about how it looks with black and white photos. Lastly, I'd like to see the other insert sets in hand, but I really like the Stars of Summer.
I paid a little more than I normally do for the pack, but I think I still came out on top. There was no Kris Bryant auto in this pack, but that's okay . . . I'm pretty sure it's waiting for me in pack number two.
Thanks for stopping by and reading!