Panini’s baseball debut will arrive on Black Friday


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

If you’ve been awaiting Panini America‘s first baseball cards, then your wait just got shorter.

Why? Black Friday will include a little bit extra this year — and it will include the first Panini baseball cards under the company’s new MLBPA license.

How? Panini will be sending Black Friday redemption packs to selected hobby shops around the country as bonuses for customers who purchase certain types and amounts of product on the biggest shopping day of the year, Nov. 25.

Inside those wrapper-redemption packs — well before the arrival of Donruss Elite Extra Edition on Dec. 21 — will be all kind of stuff from the company’s four major U.S. sports licenses — the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and members of the MLBPA. That includes autographs, too.

While details have not yet been revealed in full, you can expect there to be exclusive cards of St. Louis Cardinals slugger and World Series champion Albert Pujols as well as Texas Rangers star — and Panini spokesman — Josh Hamilton in the packs.

Among the non-baseball cards teased by the company? Well, there were Kobe Bryant, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Marshall Faulk and Tim Tebow autographs for starters.

More details will be announced soon.

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. Christian George 1 November, 2011 at 23:39

    The cards look good, like previous EEE, but that Panini logo is terrible and out of place on every release they have had. It takes away from every other part of the card.

  2. Anonymous 2 November, 2011 at 05:00

    […] there were Kobe Bryant, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Marshall Faulk and Tim Tebow autographs for starters. Panini’s baseball debut will arrive on Black Friday | __________________ Shop for Sports Cards and Trading […]

  3. Paul Le Corre 2 November, 2011 at 05:19

    I don’t get the point in releasing cards without the MLB approval. You won’t get ingame pictures (or you won’t see clearly the team logo), you won’t get the team name,etc…
    I got a couple of ’10 UD Packs which just got the MLBPA approval and I was quite disappointed.

    Won’t do it for me.

  4. Jon Chuckery 2 November, 2011 at 10:35

    Anybody else feel like this is a Kellogg cereal or Hostess Ho-Ho release from back in the day…What’s next? We have to use scissors and cut the cards of muffin boxes??

  5. card opinionator 2 November, 2011 at 11:55

    @Jon – Don’t insult Hostess and Kellogg’s like that! Those releases had MLB marks!!!

  6. chrisolds 2 November, 2011 at 12:05

    Richard: You used one of the buzz words — innovation — now i have to ask … what does that word mean to you? Do you have an example of that? What IS innovation in your mind?

  7. Randall Roberson 2 November, 2011 at 12:36

    This set may appeal to the player collector but since I am a fan of my team and only a fan of the players as long as they are Indians this set has no appeal to me. And they are ugly looking cards too.

  8. albert 2 November, 2011 at 12:41

    Did nike get some part of this contract as well? I think these look horrible, baseball pants with nike shirts. Pass

  9. chrisolds 2 November, 2011 at 13:46

    Albert: Nike has the exclusive deal as the manufacturer of the MLB player t-shirts, warm-up shirts … whatever you call them … just like Majestic is the jersey maker and New Era is the hat maker.

  10. charles faires 2 November, 2011 at 16:13

    this is dumb, the reason that MLB limited card releases because there was just to much, so the card companys are going about it in another way, upperdeck know panini. panini needs to stop and think about what they are doing, i mean they have the biggest redemtion in there products, i have redemption from 2 years ago, and i’m sure there are others out there in the same boat. stop trying to get around the system and provide quality not quantity, the money will come.

  11. chrisolds 2 November, 2011 at 16:17

    There’s nothing being gotten around.

    There are two licenses needed to make traditional cards of current MLB players — MLB Properties to show logos and a deal with the MLBPA to show a large number (or all) MLB players.

    Topps has deals with both.

    The MLBPA, to explore additional revenue streams, signed a deal with Panini, too. However, the deals do not go hand-in-hand with each other — so Panini can use the players’ likenesses, but can’t use logos that are owned by MLB.

  12. Lou 2 November, 2011 at 16:46

    These really are terrible. I didn’t expect much and was proven right. I hope they do well but I won’t be buying any

  13. Jon Chuckery 2 November, 2011 at 16:48

    By the way…Has there been any player(s) who will be exclusive to Panini or Topps ala Bonds, Jeter, etc back a few years ago? Wondering if that will be a tool Panini uses to gain interest by signing an exclusive contract with a top star(s)?

  14. Mark 2 November, 2011 at 21:09

    These cards look really bad. I, and I suspect most collectors, want to see players in their uniforms. I’m not sure why Panini bothers making baseball cards of players, with an abstract black background, without their team apparel. I hope this set fails and Panini stays out of baseball cards altogether.

  15. JAH 3 November, 2011 at 07:49

    I think people are missing the point, these are card images that are in Wrapper Redemption Packs – not cards that are going to be in MLBPA licensed product. Read the first paragraph.

    As for manufacturers churning out releases – it’s got less to do with being greedy as someone put it and more about meeting licensing fees with the properties and players associations.

  16. chrisolds 3 November, 2011 at 16:51

    Maybe they are doing the same things because … they sell.

    Maybe it’s the same vocal minority sounding off about the same things … over and over … yet the cards sell.

  17. Jon Chuckery 3 November, 2011 at 18:14

    So Chris, so I’m clear on your point…Customers like me should stop being lemmings and buying stuff we enjoy collecting to send a not to be heard message OR…keep buying products and shut up about wanting to see improvements because we can take it or leave it…Does that about explain it?

    Oh…as for how well the industry is…Forbes magazine reported a drop from roughly 5000 card shops in the country in the early 90’s to around 500 at the time of printing…I’m sure that # is prob even lower…Why not ask them how well the market is???

  18. chrisolds 3 November, 2011 at 18:20

    Jon: Just because you feel a certain way about the hobby doesn’t make it the majority’s stance. If you don’t like it, you shouldn’t buy it, Jon — I know I wouldn’t. However, if you complain about something being lacking — and still do buy it — what does that mean about your stance?

    Shouldn’t you not buy something if you loathe it?

    The shrinking of the hobby was inevitable — when it exploded upon the national psyche and got so big, there was no place for it to go but down.

    Will “collecting” die? Nope.

  19. Jon Chuckery 3 November, 2011 at 18:38

    Actually, what I do is buy only the products I enjoy…and avoid the other crap. And I appreciate the fact you speak for the majority of collectors – I missed the news article where you were voted spokesman…And where did I say I “loathe it”? I seem to remember posting I enjoy buying and collecting but feel there is a lack of competition which drives improvement. Again I spent way more more money in 2005 than now…why? I’ll let you figure it out…

    So…its cool, Chris…at least we know where you stand on the issue…continue to be a shill and enjoy a non-compettitive marketplace with a “all is well” mentality…

    Actually…do us a favor for us “vocal minorities”who “loathe” collecting, Chris…Do a news article here where you give us the “state of the card union” and tell us what, if anything, is wrong with the industry in your opinion

  20. chrisolds 4 November, 2011 at 11:29

    Jon: I’m no more of the majority than you are. However, I think many people think that they are part of the majority when it comes to their hobby interests.

  21. Jon Chuckery 4 November, 2011 at 12:18

    Chris, I’m not the one who labeled me majority, minority, whatever…However, Stevie Wonder can even see what you’re implication was…By the way…have you noticed Chris that the majority of responses you get about new products and when the discussion delves into the industry as a whole, seem to be MAJORITY negative?…Just sayin, ya know!

    To be fair, Chris, as I’m a simple man who only understands simple things, based upon your comments are you saying that because a few people respond negatively here about products and the like that the majority of people are positive about releases, happy with status quo, thinks Topps should remain exclusive, and have nothing to complain about?…Just want to be sure I’m reading the tea leaves correctly on this as I continue to be labeled “minority”, “extreme”, “loathe it”, “hate it”, “complainer”…

  22. chrisolds 4 November, 2011 at 12:59

    Yes, Jon. I am aware — I read the comments many people leave. And most of the time I respond to get them to think about why/how they react and get them to discuss that.

    Why? It baffles me how some people sound and I am curious as to why that is — sometimes they have varying reasons as to why they don’t like something. Sometimes, they don’t. If i disliked the hobby as much as it sounds like some do, I wouldn’t be in it.

    At the same time, if people actually discuss why they don’t like something you get down to certain particular things they don’t like — not everything as a whole. Too often, they sound like they just hate it all.

    However, one collector’s take is not the majority — whether it’s yours or it’s mine. For example, Topps wouldn’t be able to do the same things over and over and over if they didn’t sell — that’s how business works. Topps’ Heritage formula, for example, is the same for next year as it was a couple of years ago. But it sells. Clearly there are a lot of people out there liking what’s made … as they are buying it.

    Do people complain about it? Yep. But it sells. Products don’t survive unless they sell. I think we have had that discussion before.

    What do I know about labeling? Not much, but I was labeled as a shill.

    I’ll leave that at that.

  23. Jon Chuckery 4 November, 2011 at 13:59

    Chris, what you miss is that people arent dissatisfied with card collecting as a concept…people want to buy, sell, and trade (in this case) baseball cards and always will…However, it doesnt mean people like how its run or what options they have…They not giving up on the concept of the industry but are frustrated by how and who are running it…

    Here’s a great example…I live in Atlanta, the home of Delta Airlines (which is the largest airline carrier). In June, airline satisfaction results came out and Delta was listed as the WORST airline in CUSTOMER SATISFACTION. The avg airline scored 65/100 and Delta came in @ 56/100…DEAD LAST…So does one read out of that because they have a majority who think they are OK that they are running a great business and shouldnt change anything? People havent given up the concept of flying on an airplane, Chris…nor have they stopped using Delta as they are #1 in size…But would anyone really say that airline travel and the airline industry is a success?

    If so…man, thats the ultimate glass is half full, looking through rose colored glasses, Kevin Bacon “all is well” approach…

    And see, Chris…labels hurt, dont they??? LOL!! Nanny nanny boo boo!!

  24. Mike McGovern 21 November, 2011 at 04:58

    I know a lot of people don’t like the design, and even more dislike that it’s only an MLBPA license. But I, for one, am craving a true competitor to Topps. I was curious to see how Topps handled their exclusive license. One word…FAIL! Sad part is that it will prob continue since MLB will make more $ off an exclusive license. Now that the year’s almost over, let’s look back at what Topps accomplished (in parenthesis is how many hobby boxes I busted of each product):

    TRIBUTE (1 box)–GRADE: C+
    – One of the better checklists for a premium product, but way overpriced

    HERITAGE (6 boxes)–GRADE: B-
    – Decent. I know its still popular but concept is losing its appeal.

    OPENING DAY (1 box)–GRADE: B-
    – For the kids. Nice attempt by Topps to give kids a cheap product they can collect with their allowances.

    SERIES 1 (2 cases); SERIES 2 (9 cases); & UPDATE (2 cases)–GRADE: B
    – Solid products. My biggest complaint is Series 1 is always priced too high. If they were all priced like Series 2 & Update, I’d be happy. Also, Diamond Giveaway was a GREAT concept. Could use some tweaks, esp. how to trade cards (Wish I could request more than one card or see members’ portfolio, trade directly w/ others, counteroffer, etc.) but otherwise promotion was a success.

    GYPSY QUEEN (14 boxes)–GRADE: A-
    – One of my top 2 products of the year. Unfortunately Topps screwed up shorting auto’s and then the secondary market drove price to unreasonable heights. GQ is NOT a $200 per box product! I know I cant blame Topps for that, it just killed me when I had to stop collecting it. Prices have since dropped, but that’s bc interest has cooled (mine incl)

    BOWMAN (6 Boxes); PLATINUM (2 cases); & CHROME (6 boxes)–GRADE: C+
    – All I’m gonna say is where would these products be w/o Bryce? What happens next year?

    – Can’t really comment. Didn’t open/see enough.

    ALLEN & GINTER (4 cases)–GRADE: B-
    – I pulled some nice hits, but seriously, how many boxes did we open only to find 3 crappy relic cards? Please Topps, I will pay more. Raise the price $10 and give me 1 auto and 2 relics per box!

    MARQUEE (1 case) & TIER ONE (2 boxes)–GRADE: F
    – I’m lumping these together bc they both equally pissed me off. Isn’t it an oxymoron to include copious amounts of CRAP in products named “Marquee” and “Tier One”. Topps slapped a fancy name on these and thought they could get away with charging ridiculous prices. Please don’t fall for Topps’ re-branding of Museum Collection next year. It will be the same garbage. Do Mets fans even like auto’s of Angel Pagan & Fernando Martinez???

    TOPPS FINEST (4 boxes)–GRADE: C-
    – Weak checklist. Cards are starting to warp pretty bad. Very unimpressed.

    TRIPLE THREADS (23 boxes)–GRADE: At $155 it was an A-. At $200, its a C
    – Unity Auto’s and Relics = BIG MISTAKE! Unity cards proved disastrous for sellers as most are worthless (except big names & 1/1’s), and they drove down prices/value of the main hits. Last year buyers realized that buying one card was half your hits. This year they are paying less for the same card bc they look at it like its 1 of 4 hits…which hurts given the price of a box. The failures of Marquee & Tier 1 have pushed TTT’s to $200 a box and although it has a better checklist, there is still plenty of crap. How bad does it burn to open a $200 box of cards and get a Brent Morel “Future Phenoms”, a Hunter Pence Triple Relic, a Billy Butler Unity relic, and a redemption for a Freddy Sanchez Unity Auto??? (yes, that was a real box and I’m still licking my wounds!)

    TOPPS CHROME (6 cases and counting!)–GRADE: A+
    – Product of the Year! At $55 a box this has great value. Cards are beautiful. 100x better than last year w/o warping. The refractors, autos, black heritage chrome and USA Baseball redemptions are all selling well. Im surprised, but I love it!

    All in all, I’d have to give Topps a C+ for the year. Not terrible, but plenty of room for improvement. They don’t have any other baseball coming out ’til Feb…but I still want to open! While Topps Chrome is awesome, it can’t carry me another 3 mos. I’m excited for Elite Extra & Contenders because it will give me choices. I really hope they are decent products to give me something else to rip and hopefully gets Topps to step up their game.

    I enjoy reading your opinions, but those of you who wouldn’t even consider buying a pack may be doing yourselves a disservice by not being open-minded enough to give it a shot and at least see the product live before writing it off.

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