First impressions: 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Some of the first behind-the-scenes glimpses of real, printed cards from Panini America’s first MLBPA-approved baseball card set, 2011 Donruss Elite, have arrived.

Now, it’s time for some first impressions before the product’s arrival next week …

No logos? So what? Look at that Ichiro card. It’s better than others I saw, but it’s not as bad as many collectors’ knee-jerk or default reactions/preferences will likely make it out to be. (Also will be more of a moot point on mem cards in later products.)

Rated Rookies are back — though apparently only as part of the MLB veteran presence (guys who already have played an MLB game). Starlin Castro, Michael Pineda and Jeremy Hellickson are among them. It’s a short list, though.

What’s the base set made of? Well, there are 25 MLB veterans numbered 1-25 on the packed-out checklist. Then there are 190 prospect base cards — numbered 1-190. So are there two base sets? Is there one? What’s a Rookie Card here? This looks more like the Bowman structure … but does it need to be?

It’s Elite, so expect foilboard. While most of you probably don’t mind, this writer hates fingerprints on cards (unless there’s a mem swatch involved).

MLB vets who are in … Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols (listed as an Angel), Justin Verlander, World Series hero David Freese … they’re all inside.

Structure is the same. Or close enough. Fans of past Elite editions will be comfortable with this one. It’s all about prospects and autos — at least six per box, sometimes more in Hot Boxes.

Inserts and texture. There’s a good use of textures in designs here — from the dirt and baselines of Best Compared To, to the wood touches on Back To The Future and the glove and frames for Yearbook.  There should be some good visual variety found in the boxes. The Building Blocks cards stand out as well.

Should be fun to see more of this stuff next week. Let us know what you think via comments and  our polls.

First impressions: 2011 DEEE

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Your take: MLB logos

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Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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  1. steve-o 29 December, 2011 at 21:16

    go figure……instead of making it plain & simple with one numbered base set (Bowman Chrome boxes…..crashing in price-because of 2 things; over-production & confusion in what exactly makes up a set ???)…..did the hobby need another set that confuses the basic set builder like myself ?!?! I’d have to say…….NO !!!!

  2. JeffB 30 December, 2011 at 01:03

    Lots of things to like about this set BUT…..NO MLB LOGOS! Kudos aside, no logos reminds me of all of the “food issue” cards of the 80’s & even the 2010 UD Baseball set. I may buy some singles here and there, but no packs/boxes.

  3. all things collectible 30 December, 2011 at 14:12

    looks the same as every year. I think it is a good product for the prospect collectors. I do wanted if it would cost more with the mlb logos or are the companies just keeping the cash they saved on not having it to themselves?

  4. Mark 30 December, 2011 at 19:30

    Wanting to see baseball players in their baseball uniforms is not a knee-jerk reaction–it is a normal expectation by baseball card collectors. This set will not succeed because collectors don’t want to see players in logoless uniforms on cards with abstract backgrounds. I hope Panini never gets a full baseball license so they can’t litter the market with their dozens of below-average card designs.

  5. Tom B 3 January, 2012 at 07:25

    For as much as I liked 2011 Elite Football, this design is really boring to me. It seems to be the same as every other version of EEE that has ever come out. And while that might not necessarily be considered a bad thing, and while the glossy effect is nice (and I really do like it), I’m just not excited about this product.

    Of course, not being much of a Prospect hunter/collector, this set really has little value to me, so maybe my opinion is slanted by that fact…but seeing Ichiro’s back does not make me want to run out and plop any cash down for a box…

    So, will this version have no-name Basketball autos in it, too? (I know I have at least one EEE Auto that is basketball from a few years ago). More importantly, will there be Autos of the 25 Vets?

    Again, from a prospecting side, six autos per box is pretty nice, but I am staying away.

  6. Extremely Disappointed 5 January, 2012 at 10:48

    How many times do card companies have to try to put out sets of players with no logos and Photoshopped uniforms before they realize collectors HATE this??? EEE WAS my favorite set. I loved seeing the players in their college and high school uniforms. Congratulations Panini, you’ve created the high-end equivalent of an early 2000’s Royal Rookies set!!!

  7. Extremely Disappointed 6 January, 2012 at 14:39

    You’re right, Chris. Unfortunately, the almighty dollar speaks louder than I do!

  8. Steve 7 January, 2012 at 10:51

    Design is well done, love the layout and the placement of the autos. I would buy this product in the future if it had MLB logos but in it’s current form, I will have to pass.

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