Thursday, April 18, 2019

Box Break: 2018 Panini Diamond Kings

It's become a running thing on this blog that a box of the previous year's Diamond Kings gets broken on here once it becomes cheap enough.'s cheap enough, so I got one.

I really only collect DK as a nostalgia thing. I loved the old inserts, the old sets from the 2000s. This isn't...nominally DK, though; it's a bit more similar to Topps Gallery, which is kinda ironic because this new incarnation of Topps Gallery is actually more similar to Diamond Kings than anything. Which is slightly backwards, but a subject for an editorial rather than a box break post.

Anyway, 12 cards, with 8 cards per pack. Because we've got time, I'll try and knock everything out in one post.

There are two guaranteed hits, and other fun things to keep aware of, but we'll get there when we get there.

 Pack One- Design wise, this is fine. Allows for more colorful bits, which is fine. Logoless-ness is immediately a thing, doesn't bother me as much as it should, I think.
The set's peppered with rookies, so here are two.

 Two weightier base cards, with one guy who's already moved onto St. Louis. A-Rod's is a 500 Club insert, which is kind of basic but looks kinda cool.

Of course, what really makes this set are the legends. Not just your everyday legends like Roberto Clemente, who's welcome of course, but early-century HOFers like Grover Cleveland Alexander and non-HOF team heroes like Carl Erskine.
 Pack 2- Standard current base, featuring a Chicago bench player and, I've got to say it, the best player on the Phillies right now. More Cutch cards is never enough.

 And more legends. We go from accessible, like Mick and the Big Hurt, to obscure, like Nellie Fox, to welcome in a modern product, like Leo Durocher.

But the pack's highlight was its double-dose of Lindor, first on a past-and-present insert paired with Lou Boudreau, and then on a base card.

 Pack 3- Two of these are dupes for me. The other is Tony Lazzeri.

 Lots to discuss here. First of all, Carl Furillo is one of my grandmother's favorite players, having watched him at Ebbets Field on multiple occasions. Secondly, good on Panini to produce a card of Shoeless Joe Jackson. We need more of those. And then there's Ohtani, who I have already pulled another base card of, of him batting. But this one isn't a short-print. Remember that now.

First ANOTHER Lindor, this one from the painstakingly beautiful Aurora set. Then a Portraits insert of Ken Griffey, which look cool but...again, brings back to the Topps Gallery comparison.
 Pack 4- A quartet of fun legends pulls. Heinie Groh is NOT a Hall of Famer, but he's a Reds legend. Chuck Klein is a Phils home run legend who has evaded me for a while. And then Pee-Wee and Maris, always welcome.

 Two modern heroes in Judge and Betts, and one Iron Horse.
Here we are at the first hit- a sticker auto of Cleveland, and now Padres, backup catcher Francisco Mejia. Possibly the most common guy to pull a mediocre hit of last year. Until he blossoms, I'm regarding this as an 'okay' hit. I mean, even the signature is kinda measly.

Pack 5- A modern legend and a guy that likes to strike out. 

 Three more obscure legends. I mean...I love any set that prioritizes Paul Waner, Harry Hooper and Hack Wilson.
 Fun stuff here. Babe is babe, which is always welcome. Mick's is...a name variation, which are sort of rare, and nice to pull. And deGrom's is my Gallery of Stars...which look so cool this year.

Pack 6- Three dupes to start us off.

 Four spirited base cards. Averill's is welcome, and it's nice to see him in the same shot as Kluber.

...this was my second hit.

...of Nick Williams. Of the Philadelphia Phillies.

...just as a notice, I never usually pull hits of people who play for my teams. It is very rare, especially considering that there are 28 other teams out there with many other players. So getting a hit of Nick, and not only that but one that's numbered to 99, is kinda nice. I know he's hugging the bench this year, but he's still a fine player, and a member of this team nonetheless.

Still, a fine hit. And I'm happy I got this box, not some box with a Cardinals hit or something.

 Pack 7- Two more dupes, a subpar rookie, and a Cardinals HOF-er.

 CANO, Don Larsen, and Gabby Hartnett. May I mention again how cool these sets are?

And...good lord this card is beautiful. Even without logos. No Jackie card is a bad pickup, man.

 Pack 8- Lots of current players in this pack, all worthy of the collection, so why not throw 'em in with Billy Herman. Just as a contrast.

 Manny Ramirez is my second 500 Club insert. Again, not bad in terms of design.

DiMaggio and Cobb. Two of the greats.

 Pack 9- Averill is a dupe, but the rest are welcome. Lyons' is pretty cool. Thomson's has enough depth in the background.

Victor Robles is my first red border- they're not numbered but they're seeded relatively rarely. And Judge is my first Trophy Club insert, which harken back to a 90s Fleer insert.

 Pack 10- Donaldson and Ohtani are dupes, as I pulled this batting Ohtani a while back. Remember that now. Woodruff and Robles are new, though.

 Not a lot of old-timers in this pack, as Sevvy and Springer are our big stars here.

Additionally, Andrew Benintendi's card is a sepia short print/photo variation. So not a bad pull there, either.

 Pack 11- Other than Santander, some beautiful choices for this checklist.
 Rizzo and Stan the Man.
Bryant's is my second Trophy Club, while Alexander's is my second red border.

 Pack 12- Tyler Wade is the better of three subpar rookies, McGraw's a manager and Brecheen I pulled last year.

 ...A baseball card of Jim Thorpe. This just pushes my love for this set over the edge, doesn't it?
And Pedroia-Doerr Past and Present.

So...this is my last red border. And...I did not know that Black-and-white variations could get red bordered parallels. That's fantastic, and makes this even more valuable. It'd be crazier if it was numbered, but this is still a pretty huge hit of a player that everyone seems to want. And a great way to end this box.

So...that's 2018 Diamond Kings. I think it's an improvement on the last few, and it's intricate enough to allow a real baseball fan some genuine smiles.

No comments:

Post a Comment