by Chris Harris
A little over two months ago, Panini America reacquired their Major League Baseball Players Association license. Since then, baseball card collectors have been anticipating what they planned on doing with it. Last week, Panini released some information for their first PA-licensed baseball set in six years. But curiously though, 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Baseball will feature very few of those MLBPA members.
2011 “D-Triple-E” will feature a 175-card base set with only a token number of Major League players (25). As has been custom for this brand ever since its introduction in 2004, the remaining 150 cards will be of prospects and draft picks – and will be heavy on autographs. Each 20-pack box of Elite Extra Edition is expected to include as many as six autographs while every fifth box will be designated a “Hot Box” and yield ten autographs.
For those of you scoring at home, that’s 136 autographs in every 20-box case.
Fifty of the prospects, including 30 players selected in the first round of the 2011 First Year Player Draft, will sign a limited amount of on-card autographs; however, most autographs will be of the sticker variety. Among those signing include first overall pick Gerritt Cole, as well as #3, #4, #5 picks Trevor Bauer, Dylan Bundy, and Bubba Starling. Other notable signees include Dante Bichette, Jr. (son of the former Major Leaguer) and former Villanova University football star Matt Szczur.
2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Baseball is scheduled for release on December 21.
But collectors won’t have to wait until then to get their hands on Panini's first licensed baseball cards in six years. They'll just have to camp outside their local hobby shop on Black Friday, November 25.
With their first-ever "Black Friday" wrapper-redemption program, Panini is attempting to bring the mega cardshow experience to the local neighborhood card shop. The details are vague, and the full checklist has yet to be released, but card collectors will have the chance to pull Panini's first Major League baseball cards since 2005. But that's not all. Autographs and game jerseys from some of the biggest stars the four of the five major sports Panini has licenses with will also be seeded among these special packs.
Among the cards that Panini is teasing are autographs of Tim Tebow, Kobe Bryant, Marshall Faulk, and Ryan Nugent Hopkins.
Chris Harris blogs about the hobby at stalegum.com.