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First Pitch: An Early Glimpse Inside Panini America’s First Two MLBPA Products

September 23, 2011

Panini America and the Major League Baseball Players Association commanded the collecting world’s attention last Thursday with the industry-rattling announcement that the two sides have agreed on a multi-year trading card agreement.

Today, Panini America officials keep the buzz going by revealing some preliminary details surrounding their first two MLBPA-licensed products: 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Baseball and 2011 Playoff Contenders Baseball.

Elite Extra Edition is a name that’s widely embraced by America’s most passionate prospectors and the 2011 version, due out December 21, will only strengthen the product’s proud reputation.

Some preliminary highlights include . . .

  • 50 on-card autograph signers, including more than 30 first-round picks, featuring first-overall pick Gerrit Cole, 2011 Golden Spikes winner Trevor BauerDanny Hultzen, Dylan Bundy, Bubba Starling, Anthony Rendon, Archie Bradley, Matthew Purke, Jackie Bradley Jr., Kyle Parker, Leonys Martin and Josh Bell.
  • In all, there will be more than 150 prospects signing for the set.
  • The first Panini America appearance of MLBPA stars such as Josh Hamilton, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Michael Pineda, Eric Hosmer and Jordan Walden among others.

“The compilation of EEE will be familiar to collectors, but there are some tweaks to the program, including more on-card autographs than ever before,” says Panini America Brand Manager Mike Payne. “EEE still is the most comprehensive baseball draft product on the market and stretches beyond just the obvious names in the first round or a few that spill into the second round – names we do have, by the way.

“By going beyond the first round, EEE has introduced the first autographs of Austin Jackson (8th round, 2005), Domonic Brown (20th round, 2006), Brandon Belt (5th round, 2009), Matt Moore (8th round, 2007) and Paul Goldschmidt (8th round, 2009) among others. That’s part of EEE’s identity.”

2011 Playoff Contenders is tentatively slated to arrive January 11 and is highlighted by . . .

  • The first Panini America autographs of 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton.
  • 150 prospects signing for the set, including 50 players signing on-card.
  • More than 20 players making their Panini America autograph debut.
  • Museum Collection parallels feature Nufex technology for each card in the Season Tickets and Rookie Tickets sets (200 players).
  • Rookie Tickets Artist’s Proofs numbered to 49 and Rookie Tickets First Day Printer’s Proofs numbered to just 10.

You can get the exclusive first looks at some of the cards below. Stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for additional details as they become available.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2011 10:40 am

    You had me at Danny Hultzen. UVa all the way, Wahoowa!

  2. Sean Watko permalink
    September 23, 2011 1:08 pm

    im pretty sure josh bell went to the pirates…

  3. September 23, 2011 8:55 pm

    Very nice having all those high round picks all on card and in the set. I’m curious as to what other major league talent you will have in a Contenders.

  4. September 23, 2011 9:23 pm

    I don’t know. The airbrushed cards are never popular with collectors. I like someone giving Topps incentive to do a better job though – especially in customer service.

  5. Mitchell permalink
    September 23, 2011 10:06 pm

    Are there going to be MLB logos? just wondering

  6. Matt G permalink
    September 25, 2011 4:47 am

    These are very sweet! Love the design and very nice checklist!

  7. Zach Rice permalink
    September 26, 2011 2:22 pm

    If I found the holy grail I’d buy a semi load of these. Why no MLB logos if you have the license? Topps was good for 2 or 3 years to provide low end products with guaranteed hits that brought new collectors in and last years million card giveaway which I appreciate. Is there any chance a base line of the basketball mainstay Titled Panini with 36 or more packs per box and an autograph or memorabilia per Hobby box guaranteed will be produced for baseball?

  8. Jonas permalink
    September 27, 2011 2:49 am

    It’s finally a step in the right direction. Finally, someone to give Topps a run for their money as the quality of cards and the customer service at Topps has fallen by the wayside due to this monopoly they have. But I’m very optimistic for the future that this monopoly will end soon.

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