Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Variations on a Theme (aka Five Packs of 2018 Donruss)

Despite the fact that Panini doesn't have an MLB license, Donruss is one of my favorite releases of the year, mainly because every time you open a pack, there's usually something neat included (parallels, numbered cards, etc.). I had to stop by the card shop for a friend to see if they had any more bowling coupons as she was taking her son and a bunch of his friends bowling for his birthday. The coupons were all gone but I just had to make a purchase. There were two different pack prices on the box, $3.49 and $3.99. I asked the shopkeeper about it and he said "well, I'll just let you have as many as you want at $3.49". Fine by me. I grabbed five packs plus two Pokemon packs for my son to put in his Easter basket and headed home.

The first card of the first pack and it's Nolan Ryan. Pretty cool! Two other things that make this a really neat card, at least to me. First, it's a throwback 1984 design and the other is it's Nolan Ryan pitching as a Met against the Reds at Riverfront Stadium. How can I tell it's Riverfront Stadium? Check out the color of the seats in the background. Riverfront was the only stadium I knew that had blue outfield seats above the right field wall. I managed more of these 84-style cards but thought this was the best one by far.

A handful of base cards. Donruss is finally getting to the point where I can actually differentiate the respective sets. The first few issues looked pretty much identical but last year with the 1990-ish design, Panini finally got out of the basic designs and put a little more effort into it. This year, it's a completely crazy and wild design. I dig all of these cards, especially the Cozart card and it lists him with his new team and the old school uniform on Odubel Herrera.

The lone Reds card, if you could call it that, from the packs. With the background and no official logos, it looks more like Tony Perez and Davey Concepcion at an old-timers softball game.

Can't say I'm a big fan of the Diamond Kings design this year. I much preferred the old school style of Diamond Kings in previous releases.

The thing with Donruss is the variations and the parallels and, oh boy, do we have those this year. First there's the "nickname" variations. The only one of these I've ever heard of is "Iron Man" on the Cal Ripken card. I honestly think the other two are made up.

Here we have a parallel of the same and a parallel of the Kirby Puckett variation as well. We now have parallels of the variations, are you keeping track yet?

This Bryce Harper is numbered 01/25 ... you'll just have to believe me as I tried to take a picture of the serial number as proof but it was pretty much impossible. This must be one of the Mother's Day Ribbon cards.

I though this Jose Abreu was weird because it's in black and white, it turns out it's just a variation of the base card. My head is now officially spinning because of all these.

So, thoughts on this year's Donruss ... it's, well, different. I don't mind the base cards and the 1984 style cards but the crazy parallels, variations, and parallels of variations I could do without. Normally, Donruss is one of my favorite issues of the year (I really enjoyed last year's cards) but I think I might have to stray away from most of these this year, unless we're talking the 1984 style cards.


  1. The 84D Nolan Ryan card is pretty cool. And I gotta admit there are some really nice action shots in this lot. But in general, I won't be purchasing any packs of this stuff.

  2. i've liked Donruss the last couple of years but this design kept me from buying. If the cards were all retro 84 style, I'd have been all over it. the Tuve foil is nice, and you did well pulling Harper!

  3. Why are there no names on the "Stars in Cincinnati" card? Seems off to me.
    I think all the variations are fun!