Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 Panini Cooperstown First Look

These cards were issued in mid-November but I didn't see any in my local Target until the other day.  I bought 6,  5-card packs at $2.99 each. 4 of the 6 packs had an insert card. I'm not a pack searcher, so I just grabbed the top 6 packs in the box. When I got them home, I noticed that one pack was noticeably thicker than the others. What special goodness was hidden there? What that pack had, the others didn't, was a 3-card thick slab of white cardboard. There aren't actually any relic cards in the release so I wouldn't expect any thicker cards. Was Panini trying to decoy pack searchers?

Anyway, the cards are nice. Panini still doesn't have a license from Major League Baseball so it must have been a challenge to find photos of Hall of Fame players which didn't show team logos. I suspect there may have been some unobtrusive photoshopping going on as well. The cards have a nice glossy finish on the front and a nice design.

As I was leaving the store I thought that there had to be a Mike Schmidt card in the set. The first pack I opened had this card right on top.

The cards feature the player's induction year on the front and their playing career years on the back with career stats. For players that played for multiple teams, I see only stats for one team so I assume it's the team the player chose to represent in the Hall.

The cards all have black and white photos which can make it difficult to tell what team uniform they are wearing. Since this card shows his Red Sox stats, I assume Fisk is in a Red Sox uniform here.

I only pulled a handful of cards featuring players from the early years. Addie Joss played in Cleveland (for the Broncos and Naps) from 1902 and 1910 amassing a pitching record of 160-97, with an ERA of 1.89.

This 25-card insert seems to feature a photo of the player during his induction ceremony. A quote from Kaline's induction speech is on the back.

This 10-card set features famous ball parks. This is some incarnation of the Polo Grounds.

Famous Moments is a 20-card insert featuring, I think, actual objects from the Hall. This is the bat that Tony Gwynn used to get his 3,000 hit.

This 20-card set features, on the back, the entire induction class from a specific year. Along with Home Run Baker, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Lyons, Dazzy Vance, Gabby Hartnett and Ray Schalk were inducted in 1995. Baker hit an astonishing 96 home runs in a 13-year career spanning the years 1908 to 1922. The front of this card is actually a wood veneer. I haven't seen a card like this in years.

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