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2004 Donruss World Series Baseball Review

For my first box break in over 2 months, I decided to go with a box of 2004 Donruss World Series, a product that delivers a multitude of hits in each box and pays tribute to Fall Classics of the past in each pack!

Box Details: 24 packs per box, 6 cards per pack, $99
From: Dave and Adam’s Card World

Base set: The base set is comprised of 175 cards and contrary to what the name might say, features players from all 30 Major League teams. The front of each card bears the logo used for the 2004 World Series and lists the name of the player’s league. The back of each card lists the player’s 2003 stats and includes a small blurb about their career. These cards are followed by 25 signed rookies, numbered to 1000 or less. I pulled 110 of 175 base cards (63%) without any duplicates.

Blue (100 cards, 1: pack): Inserted at a rate of 1 per pack, the World Series Blue set is filled with players who have contributed to a World Series-winning team. The blurb on the back describes each player’s postseason heroics and is accompanied by their stat line for the given Series. A handful of players (Canseco, O’Neill, Morris, R. Jackson) appear in the set twice. I pulled 24 different Blue cards in this box (again, no dupes!). My pulls included Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Steve Carlton, Cal Ripken, and Willie Stargell.

Holofoil Parallels (varied numbering):
All 175 base and 100 Blue cards are mirrored by 4 different specially colored (purple, silver, gold) holofoil parallels. These parallels have print runs of 100, 50, 25, and 10. I pulled an Eric Chavez (009/100), a Blue Tim Salmon (12/50), and a Barry Zito (10/10), that I honestly didn’t even know I had until I thoroughly went through the base cards.

The inserts’ names speak for themselves so I’ll just list them.

Face Off (20 cards, numbered to 500): Ivan Rodriguez/Mike Mussina (111/500)

Fans of the Game (5 cards, 1: 21 packs): Apolo Anton Ohno

October Legends (20 cards, numbered to 500): Frank Robinson (315/500)

Playoff All-Stars (20 cards, numbered to 500): Edgar Martinez (269/500)

World Series MVP’s (15 cards, numbered to 1000): Mike Schmidt (355/1000)

As far as “hits” go, there are autographed and/or game-used variations of all 175 base cards, as well as the 100 Blue cards.

Regular Game-Used Variations:
Bats (numbered to 100)
AL/NL (numbered to 250)
Jersey Number (numbered to player’s jersey number)
Autograph print runs range between 5-25

Blue Game-Used Variations:
Bats (numbered to 50)
AL/NL (numbered to 100)
World Series (print runs range between 55-103 based on year of World Series listed on card)
Autograph print runs range between 5 and 50

If that weren’t enough, each of the inserts I posted above (except Fans of the Game) has a game-used variation numbered to 100 or less and an autographed version (except Face Off) as well. Anyway, here were my “hits.”

AL/NL Jersey: Darin Erstad (204/250), Ryan Klesko (198/250)
Bat: Omar Vizquel (097/100)
Autographed Rookie: Ivan Ochoa (016/487)
Base Autograph: George Foster (23/25)

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: A+

The box states that inserts fall in every other pack on average. I pulled 13 altogether AND I had no duplicates. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Condition: B

Overall, the cards came out very clean with the exception of some noticeable scratches/dings on a couple of base cards (I even mentioned an example of this in the video).

Pulls: C

Let’s face it. There was nothing too exciting about this box. The George Foster pull was nice, but a different color ink would’ve made the card a little nicer (as would the lack of a sticker, but this is Donruss after all). Ochoa has only 1 big league season under his belt, 2005, when he hit .200 for the Giants. Everything will be available for trade.

Value: B

The price on these boxes has finally come down to the $100 level, a good $30-40 lower than their original cost. You can certainly do a lot worse than a dozen inserts, five of which are hits, for $100. However, it is important to remember that a product offering so many relics will contain lots of filler, as was the case with this box. Still, with an autogamer checklist as impressive as this product has, it’s probably worth a one-time shot.

Final Grade: B

2004 Donruss World Series Video Break

The full review and scans will be posted Thursday evening, but for now, enjoy!

Here’s the link because for some reason, the video won’t embed properly.

Old School Hits: 1998 Donruss Signature Significant Signatures (Contest Prize)

ryansignificantRandomly inserted into packs of 1998 Donruss Signature were Significant Signatures inserts, which featured beautiful on-card autographs of legends such as Yogi Berra, Eddie Mathews, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, and Phil Rizzuto, just to name a few. Each card was limited to 2,000 copies, with the exception of Rizzuto, who only signed 1,000.

However, not all the cards were directly inserted into packs. Redemption cards were created for Sandy Koufax, Ozzie Smith, and Nolan Ryan. The redemptions (which had to be redeemed before the year 2000) were for special signed REFRACTORS with a print run of 2,000. However, some time after the product’s release, non-refractive versions of these three cards were found. They featured different photographs from their refractor counterparts, but still looked very sharp in basic foilboard. While Koufax and Ozzie once again had 2,000 cards out there, there were only 1,000 of the non-fractor Nolan Ryan card.

Oh, and if you’re reading this Jason, this Ryan is your prize for winning the contest. Congratulations and enjoy!

Mailday Flairicana!

With a title like that, I suppose you’d assume that I acquired a Ric Flair autograph from Donruss Americana but that isn’t the case. However, I did acquire my first-ever autograph from the Americana line, a Private Signings card of John C. McGinley numbered to 50.

McGinley, a veteran of film, TV, and Broadway has been one of my favorite actors for a long time. He has appeared in tons of films such as Platoon, Wall Street, Se7en, The Rock, and Office Space but younger fans would immediately recognize him as Dr. Perry Cox from the hit show, Scrubs. Check out Mr. McGinley’s impressive resume at the IMDb.

The second part of this mailday features a pair of cards from a set I’ve been chasing for well over a year (closer to two actually). Those that have been paying attention to this blog know what I’m talking about…

With only 250 possible sets available, completing the Row 0 set from 1998 Flair Showcase has certainly been quite the challenge! With the acquisitions of two of the higher-tiered cards: Nomar Garciaparra (126/250) and Scott Rolen (184/250), I am now only three cards away from completion.

The three that I am missing are Mark McGwire, Frank Thomas, and Livan Hernandez.

2002 Donruss Studio Baseball Review

Well, July has arrived so what better way to start the month than with a box of 2002 Studio! In 2002, Donruss put a patriotic twist on its Studio line with Old Glory in the background of every base card/parallel, a revamped Spirit of the Game insert set, and actual game-worn flag patches used in the wake of 9/11. Let’s bust this!

Box Details: 18 packs per box, 5 cards per pack, $35
From: Baseball Card Exchange

Base set: The base set is comprised of 200 short set cards, followed by 50 serially numbered rookies. Each card features a background with an American flag backdrop and some small city skyline photos placed on some film strip. In this box, I pulled 77 of the 200 short set cards (38.5%) without duplicates.

Rookies (/1500): Cards number 201-250 consist solely of rookie cards, all of which are numbered to 1500. There is no difference in appearance between these and the regular base cards with the exception of the word “Rookie” in the bottom right corner of the card. There were two rookies in my box: Kyle Kane (0773/1500) and Jason Lane (0011/1500). It should be noted that this set was extended by 25 cards in Donruss’ special The Rookies product. These 25 cards (cards 251-275) were also “rookies” numbered to 1500 and featured Mark Teixeira, Freddy Sanchez, and Chone Figgins among others.

Studio Proofs (/100): Studio Proofs is the name of the lone parallel found in this product. Mirroring the entire set, these cards feature a small holographic logo stamped on the front of each card and serial numbering out of 100 on the back. I pulled a card of Nick Neugebauer (086/100), who made only 14 Major League starts in his career, all for the Brewers.

Studio Stars (50 cards, 1:5 packs): Everyone remembers the 1995 Studio set, right? You know, the cards that looked like credit cards? Well, they returned in insert form in 2002 and were available in three separate variations. The most common variation was seeded 1 in every 5 packs. As was the case in 1995, a Gold parallel also existed and was serially numbered to 250. The third parallel was brand new for ’02, a Platinum parallel numbered to just 50. This box yielded regular inserts of Frank Thomas, Tony Gwynn (who seems to follow me everywhere), and Carlos Delgado. I was also lucky enough to pull a Platinum card of Randy Johnson (41/50).

Spirit of the Game (50 cards, 1:9 packs): Spirit of the Game is a patriotic-themed 50-card insert set which depicts players holding their caps over their hearts (scroll down for scan). This set has multiple game-used variations:

Hats Off – Nearly half of the set is covered in this partial parallel which features game-worn hat swatches from players such as Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Beltran, and Andruw Jones. Each card is limited to 100 copies with the exception of Kazuhisa Ishii, whose card is limited to 50.

MLB Logo Variation – 17 cards have MLB Logo swatches embedded in them, each card a 1 of 1.

Flag Patch Variation – Only six cards featured an actual flag patch from a jersey worn by the player post-9/11. I witnessed a local shop owner pulling the Kerry Wood card back in ’02. If I remember correctly, these were jumbo cards randomly inserted as a box (maybe case?) topper. Seeing how there are only six cards out there, finding a scan of one of these is virtually impossible.

I did not pull any game-used cards in this box but I did pull inserts of Mark Prior and Carlos Lee.

Diamond Collection (25 cards, 1:17 packs): Diamond Collection inserts are found at a rate of one per box and feature an old-time black and white background. My pull was Pedro Martinez. All but one of the cards in this set is accompanied by an Artist’s Proof game-used parallel. Each of those features a swatch of game-used jersey or base and has a print run of 150 or 200 respectively. In true Artifacts/Piece of History fashion, the regular inserts have a team logo where the swatch would be.

Masterstrokes (25 cards, 1:17 packs): The second one per box insert is a Studio classic, Masterstrokes. These are painted inserts that look like they belong in the Topps Gallery line except they’re a little nicer in my opinion. My pull was of Lance Berkman. These inserts also have the Artist’s Proof game-used parallel, most of which feature a combination of a bat and jersey swatch numbered to 200. The cards of Ichiro, Albert Pujols, and Derek Jeter feature base and ball swatches and are limited to just 100.

Studio Classic (25 cards, /1000): Reminiscent of the inaugural 1991 Studio set, the red-bordered Studio Classic cards are some of my favorite inserts of all time. Check out that Lou Gehrig (0691/1000). I dare any baseball fan to tell me that doesn’t kick ass. Anyway, this set is filled with Hall of Famers and also has its share of parallels and autographs. There is a First Ballot parallel which has a print run based on the last two numbers of the player’s HOF induction year. For example, a Gehrig would be numbered to just 39. Autographs make up a partial parallel to this set as well. However, none have a print run higher than 20 and they’re all silver sticker autographs like the next card I’ll talk about.

Private Signings (varied numbering): Like I mentioned in my last post, over 200 players have autographs in this set with no print runs topping 250. With all the huge names in the set, I pulled Victor Martinez (168/250). I was happy with the pull, especially when considering how much filler is in this set (seriously, check eBay for these).

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: A+
I got exactly 90 cards in this box without a single dupe. Perfect!

Condition: A-
The cards came out of this box very clean (especially for having black at the bottom of each card), greatly surprised to see so few dinged corners, etc.

Pulls: A
I was very satisfied with the pulls in this box. According to the wrapper, inserts are found in every third pack on average. This box obviously contained a lot more. A low-numbered Randy Johnson and an autograph of a player who is still an active star brought the grade up a bit.

Value: B
There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of sites holding boxes of 2002 Studio and the few that do carry them are asking $60 and up, which is a bit steep considering that there are only 90 cards in a box. The fact that there are only 18 packs in a box and only 5 cards per pack is probably the worst part of this product. The content inside was great, it’s the box configuration that needed work. Still, 2002 Studio, with its patriotic theme, added a nice twist to a product that generally was the same every year.

Final Grade: A