One of the strangest quirks of this hobby is two-fold. First, many collectors say they only want to collect league-licensed releases which have team and league logos and trademarks. Secondly, products featuring leading baseball prospects are always very popular. So, even after Donruss-Playoff (now Panini) lost their MLB license at the end of the 2005 season, they have continued to issue Elite Extra Edition as a way to have cards issued of younger players before the reach the majors.
Of course, the benefit is that it enables Panini to have a stock of future major leaguers’ autographs acquired long before they demand bigger paydays. And if Panini ever does regain their MLB license, these autographs and player relationships can only put them in good stand going forward. As the hobby world now stands, Panini does have a Players Association license, which enables them to use photos of players, just no logos. And so, 2014 Elite Extra Edition is back, having been released earlier this month.
Panini was able to include new Cuban sensation Rusney Castillo along with prospects Dalton Pompey, Bradley Zimmer, Aaron Nola and Kyle Freeland. Those are just a few of the better prospects, but there are a lot of others.
My local card store *Triple Cards in Plano TX) reported selling nearly 200 boxes at $104.50 per box while leading on-line outlets are between $90-95 per box. He’s had to restock after selling out his original order.
Boxes, which contain 20 packs of five cards per pack, actually have a minimum of the stated six autographs in the box and some collectors have pulled as many as ten autographs from a “hot box”. The store owner also mentioned for the most part, if you only received six autographs in the box, then the likelihood was you received better prospects.
The base cards are a similar look to years past with a red foil which surround the player photo. The player’s name, organization and position are at the bottom while the backs have a cropped version of the front photo, biographical information, an informational blurb and statistics.
Here’s what we pulled from the box we received from Panini:
Base Cards: 75 of the 100 cards in the set with five duplicates. We did not notice any of the supposed variations of cards #1-10. We received six of first ten so if the other four are short printed, finding them shouldn’t be too difficult.
Status Purple (#d to 150); Jordan Luplow
Status Blue (#d to 100): Spencer Turnbull
Elite Series: Alex Blandino, Dylan Davis, Derek Hill
Expectations: Sean Newcomb, Max Pentecost
Autographs: Daniel Alvarez on-card (#d to 499); Aramis Garcia on-card (#d to 499); James Norwood (#d to 799); Joey Pankake (#d to 799); Mark Payton (#d 799); Mark Zagunis (#d to 799)
Autographs Red Ink (#d to 25): Logan Webb (on-card)
USA Signature (#d to 199); Austin Bergner (on-card)
There are autographs of some former big league stars and future Hall of Famers mixed in to EEE, but most are low numbered. Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, John Smoltz, Chipper Jones and Tom Seaver are on that checklist but obviously all of the eluded us.
EEE is a prospecting product and with that many hits and Topps’ baseball products for 2015 still not on the market, it provides a current baseball option for collectors. When your average cost for a hit is about $10 and there are long-term possibilities, if you can live without logos, it’s not hard to see why it’s been popular.
Check out singles, lots, sets and boxes of 2014 Elite Extra Edition Baseball on eBay here.