Donruss will lean heavily on future prospects for its Threads baseball card issue this fall–but Pete Rose will help drive the marketing. Two rather historic Rose jerseys have been sacrificed for the launch.
Donruss, left out of the mainstream baseball card market when Major League Baseball cut its licensee list to two, is still cranking out baseball products. The company’s upcoming Donruss Threads issue debuts in October and will include game-worn jersey cards and autographs of Pete Rose.
Rose, whose 4,256 career hits rank No. 1 all-time, joins Donruss exclusive Rick Porcello, the first-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2007, for autograph and memorabilia cards in the Threads product. In recent years, Donruss has purchased two Rose game-worn jerseys including a 1973 Cincinnati Reds road jersey worn during the 17-time All-Star’s only MVP season.
"Having Pete Rose and Rick Porcello in the set is significant," said Donruss Brand Manager Ben Ecklar. "The all-time hits leader and arguably the top pitching prospect in the minor leagues. Threads will have both."
Porcello had been the only first-round draft pick from the 2007 MLB First Year Player Draft not to have signed certified autographs until Donruss signed him to a deal that was announced in early July. Donruss has obtained a jersey and cap Porcello wore in the 2006 Cape Cod Classic as well as a fielding glove and cleats he wore during minor league play with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. The 19-year-old is in his first full professional season since graduating from high school last year, and has spent the season pitching at Class A Lakeland where he was the starter and winner in the 2008 Florida State League All-Star Game.
Rose’s presence in trading card products since 1989 can best be described as sparse, with a market hungry for autograph and memorabilia cards. In addition to the ’73 Reds jersey, Donruss also has secured a 1981 Philadelphia Phillies home jersey Rose wore on June 10, 1981 when he collected his 3,630th career hit which at the time tied him with Stan Musial on the all-time hits list.
Both jerseys are autographed by the Hit King, meaning some collectors could receive a game-used swatch with part of a signature.
Threads Baseball will include some of the elements used in its NFL trading card line including Rookie Class custom nameplate letters autographed and serial numbered.
Threads Baseball also will feature some first-time inserts such as Baseball Americana which highlights such American baseball icons as Rose, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Nolan Ryan, Abbott & Costello (Who’s On First?), and actors such as Gary Cooper ("Pride of the Yankees"), John Cusack ("Eight Men Out") and Burt Lancaster ("Field of Dreams"). Some of those will include memorabilia, an autograph or dual memorabilia/autograph cards.
"With Threads Baseball, we’re striving to touch on all relevant aspects of the game – rookies, veterans, Hall of Famers and personalities," Ecklar says. "And we believe Threads will deliver a great deal of each."
Mays and Porcello will be featured on Threads Baseball packaging.
Donruss Threads on eBay