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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Thoughts on 2020 Donruss

What could be called Panini's flagship baseball brand came out last month (March 4). I get that some people automatically dismiss anything from Panini due to the lack of logos, but I've been collecting cards without logos since I was a kid.
The base cards aren't bad; the borders end up a bit large inside the parallelogram photo space; the design draws inspiration from the 1986 design. Throwback subset and parallels look even more like the 1986 set. Of course, Diamond Kings and Rated Rookies parallels kick off the set.

There are several parallels again this year, including the gimmicky emoji parallels. Honestly, I wish they would have waited until next year, when they do a 1987 throwback, since the baseball borders could have easily been replaced with emojis. I'm sure we can count on that, too, though. In all, I count 19 parallels (printing plates count all as one type of parallel in my book).

There are variations, too. And while nickname variations are easy to spot, the photo variations are also identifiable by looking at the back for the red Donruss logo, or a solid card number. I've never really cared for variations and there is an excessive number of parallels, though the emoji gimmick is a little fun.

I do like some of the inserts. As Seen is a nice, unique idea. There are some typical insert sets: Elite, Rated Prospects, Now Playing (lost opportunity for movie theming), Dominators, and the 1986 Highlights throwback design set.

Whammy! is back, but at one per case they continue to remain outside of my price range. That's a shame, because I love art cards. The same goes for Contenders and Divisions. Contenders has the four teams which made it to the League Championship Series, and Divisions has a few stars from each of the six Divisions.

Classified Signatures is another unique idea for inserts, and I think the card design is very nice. It reminds me of the better inserts of the 1990s. Sky High Signatures is supposed to look like a stadium scoreboard, but I don't like the execution. Points for effort, though.

American Pride is back, highlighting USA team members. This time, they paired each active player with a former Team USA member who made it to the majors. I collect this set every year because I collect Team USA cards, though I could do without the multiplayer aspect.

There are some more insert, memorabilia, and autograph sets, but they are standard Donruss fare so I won't bother mentioning them.

With only 192 cards per box, it takes a lot to build a 300-card set with the variations. On average, almost every pack will include something other than a base card; three hits, 11 parallels, and five inserts can be found in each 24-pack box.

As always, I have a base set for my Donruss set run and a DK subset. I also want an American Pride set for their collections, and I'd like to put together the Contenders and DIvisions sets. I've already started working on the American Pride set.

What are your thoughts on Donruss? Would they be any different if Panini had a license to use MLB logos?

All images in this post are not my own cards.


  1. It's just not my cup of tea. I don't mind their Team USA stuff, but honestly new stuff in general doesn't do much for me. Obviously when I receive Donruss, Panini, and Topps cards... I appreciate them. But they're like a truffle, I'll gladly accept them... but won't go out of my way to buy them. These days... I'm super picky on how I spend my money and when I do... it's usually on a set I've been eyeballing, a graded vintage or rookie card I've been eyeballing, or an on-card autograph.

    That being said... last week, I did buy a 2020 Topps card for my collection... but it's one of a handful that I've set my eyes on.

  2. I see. I've been focusing more on older stuff as well, but since I know I'll want the sets, I figure now is when they're easiest and cheapest to pick up. But I've been passing on a lot of sets I might otherwise try to collect as I try to finish older sets.