2017 Donruss!

Finally had a chance to pick up a blaster of this stuff, which I’d been waiting for fairly eagerly since I saw the sell sheets. How’d I do?

Not too bad, I suppose.

If you’re seeing this year’s set for the first time: yeah, they riffed on 1990 Donruss baseball, which was…not many peoples’ favorite card design, but they managed to make it look solid just by making it not look red.

Just for a quick comparison, here’s Bernie Williams’ rookie from that set (sorry for the low-res pic, I just screenshotted it from Trading Card Database because all of my ’90s are upstairs). Now, by itself, it’s a fine looking card. Bernie being on it helps. But if you have to look at 716 of these, you’re probably not gonna be thrilled.

Anyway, Donruss changed their logo, added those diagonal stripes on the border, and rounded the corners of the pictures, but it’s a clear homage.

If this is the first time you’re seeing modern Donruss cards, you may be noticing that they don’t have logos or team names on them. They’re licensed by MLBPA, but not MLB. I will say that this seemed to limit their photography, or just the overall look of the base cards, a bunch this year, if only that it made the cards look kinda monochromatic.

It’s not as much of a problem in their 1983 Donruss homage inserts. The border colors help here. I wish the player name font had been a little more accurate…

(Also from TCDB, for quick comparison. Name lettering doesn’t look as…tense.)

…but otherwise, I’m more inclined to chase the 1983 inserts than I am the base set, after grabbing a blaster.

Some of that has to do with these cards, which are part of the base checklist, being seeded about 1 every 4 packs. There’s a reason why this set is selling for about $160 on eBay, and it’s because it’s very, very difficult to complete. By comparison, the 1983s, which are not part of the main checklist, come in at 2 per pack. After 7 packs, I’m over a quarter way through that set, and I’ve got 2 out of 45 from this part of the base set. It’s an old complaint with modern Donruss, they’ve been doing this every year since the brand relaunched in ’14, but this is the first time I’ve really looked at the numbers.

Then you throw in stuff like base variations (here, they’ve replaced Corey Seager’s name with “ROY” because he won Rookie of the Year), and it just gets to be a headache.

(This one’s already been traded to Night Owl.)

I did get some cool inserts, though. I mean, on a set like this, you can’t complain about these 3 names on numbered cards. Keeping the Altuve, the Trout’s definitely up for grabs (or going to COMC if it doesn’t go before I send out my next shipment), and I’m still deciding on the Machado (I don’t collect him, but it’s a nice looking parallel and it’s low-numbered).

They’re also seeding “hits” in every blaster this year (dunno if this is a new practice or not), and this is what I got. This is available for trade for the time being, too.

So, I’d say it wasn’t a waste of a blaster (or the money), but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it, either. I do like the Altuve card, and the base cards look good, but the short-prints at the front of the set checklist (unlike something like Topps Heritage, where they put them at the back where you can deny they exist) are a psychological deterrent to collecting this stuff seriously. It kinda does the opposite of what Panini wants it to do, I think. People want a run of 1-whatever, not 46-whatever, and they’re generally not willing to drop $3 a card to get there, especially without team logos.

6 thoughts on “2017 Donruss!”

  1. I bought two jumbo packs and enjoyed them. I think the name variation is a cool change versus photo variations.

    The Alex Reyes is cool! I met him at the Newark airport Thursday night!

    1. Ha, innerestin’. Did you get any ink from him?

      And yeah, I enjoyed what I opened well enough, but was not blown away. Kinda like Topps flagship this year. Heritage is the most fun I’ve had opening cards this year, and if you remember, people have been waiting decades to actively hate the ’68 design in Heritage, so Topps sure showed those huckleberries!

      Around here, I’d be limited to opening blasters (more than I like to spend, truthfully) unless I made it to a card store. We’ve got some truly rotten pack searchers in my neck of the woods, who beat the hell out of the inventory and then look at you like “What?” when you call them out on it.

  2. I picked up a jumbo pack of these myself the other day–hadn’t bought anything Donruss since they came back. It was a fun pack to open as I got a number of big names in the base. I am with you, I definitely like the ’83 Donruss cards better than the base, and like you, feel the photography is limited. They should have done some closer cropping with some of the shots for variety a d even throw some headshots without hats. Was thinking maybe I’d try to build set but the SPs are certainly a deterrent and I think the base set is barely 200 cards. This could be a better product with a couple of tweaks–and i still might buy a blaster just for the 83s and trade bait.

    1. The Altuve headshot they used for the All-Star insert was terrific, so yeah, they could’ve done with way more of that.

      Probably my biggest name in the non-inserts was a Kris Bryant ’83, but that, I’ll be hanging onto as I may go for the ’83 set.

  3. This has probably be said over a thousand times, but the missing logos/license really hurt the potential of this set. The price point for a hobby box of this stuff isn’t bad– especially compared to the football and basketball counter parts.

    Nice post!

  4. IMO, Panini keeps killing it with the designs for Donruss, and it’s a damn shame they don’t have a license. I dig the name/nickname/stat line instead of city variations, they’re a fun twist.

    You’re the second one I’ve seen to pull that Altuve! Those are a nice nod to the 1983 Donruss Action All-Star oversize cards. Nice and shiny.

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