Panini readies Contenders for Feb. 22 release

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America released the basic box breakdown information and additional preview images for its forthcoming 2011 Playoff Contenders baseball card set on Friday, the second of its MLBPA-approved products and the first to have a deeper MLB player presence inside.

Now scheduled to arrive on Feb. 22, Contenders will include six autographs per 24-pack box with two of those featuring 0n-card sigs. It also will include the first Panini signatures of spokesman Josh Hamilton and NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw.

The autograph checklist will include more than 150 prospects — with 50 of those signed on-card — while every 12-box case will include 72 sigs. Meanwhile, each base card and prospect will have a 1/1 Championship Ticket as well as a 1/1 press plate.

Also to be found will be Sweet Signs baseball sigs — trapped leather cuts — featuring past greats such as Stan Musial, Cal Ripken Jr. and Will Clark, while also showcasing some prospects. Lastly, there will be Future Stars Signatures cards featuring prospects primied to make their mark.

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.



  1. Dave Elkjar
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Gee, I wonder if the Law department at Upper Deck is drafting the lawsuit over “Sweet Spot” copyright infringement as we speak. “Sweet Signs” Panini? Really? Could you not have changed the design just a little bit more?


  2. Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Better yet … are those college uniforms on the cards, meaning they’ll be sued by Upper Deck, or minor league uniforms, meaning they’ll be sued by Topps? I see a lot of logos visible …

  3. Shawn Campbell
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Come ON , ripping of UD sweet spot,Changing it to sweet sigs, this is why people are dropping the Hobby , NO creativity , bland inserts and WAY TO MANY redemptions, so glad they aren’t worried about getting me back as a customer !!!!

  4. Joe
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    2010 Elite Extra had the same thing except for it was called Private Signings. 2004 Fleer Sweet Sigs did and the first year Topps Sterling was release they also did it. No lawsuit then and they, meaning Upper Deck, was actually relavent at that time.
    Anyway, I am looking forward to this product. I hope it is worth the wait.

  5. CP30
    Posted January 21, 2012 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    at least panini changed the design of their sweet signs card, ITG just completely stole upper decks sweet spot design, check out ebay item #160709656081, it looks exactly the same as upper decks design, only changed the name to “between the seems”

  6. George McFly
    Posted January 21, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Perhaps instead of stealing the design for the Sweet Signs, why not have redemption cards for autographed baseballs, instead of gutting them up.

  7. Posted January 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    more sweet spots auto cards that will fade, kind of like a vidieo that will run out of battery juice, to become usless, oh well
    i like the signed baseball, but fear that they will fade

  8. Danny
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    um……….we are now in 2012
    i product in the 1st 2 weeks a january i can understand, but the end of feb 22??????????????

  9. Mark
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Please just go away, Panini.

  10. Aardvark Ratnick
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Yup both Panini and ITG are empty headed and just steal ideas from the geniuses at UD. They both make horribly designed valueless garbage.

  11. Carnie
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    McFly, they don’t “gut” baseballs for the SS cards. They are just pieces of leather-like material that are made just for the cards.

  12. Danny
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    lets look at at it this way
    elite extra ed 6 autos per
    contenders 6 autos per

    elite 140 prospects and 50 autos
    contenders 150 prospects 50autos

    both are are on foil cards

    the only difference is a sprinkling in of some vet autos in tee shirts

  13. Joe
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    “the geniuses at UD.” Are you kidding. All of you make it like UD was so great and never stole ideas from other companies. UD VINTAGE is a rip off of 1971 TOPPS design. The UD SWEET SPOT is a rip off of the 2000 SHOWECASE SWEET SIGS. Besides, after UD screwed little kids of their money with the Yu Gi Oh counterfeit case how could anybody want them back. Please, let UD go away.

  14. Robert Braxton
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Hell no.

  15. Kevin
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I just found out that over half the product will be redemption. No Thanks.

  16. Caleb Kruse
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    you know what I love panini products better than upper deck this one should be good, and redemptions dont bother me

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