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Collect Call: 2011 Panini Limited Baseball

Posted May 8, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated May 8, 2012 at 10:39 PM

It’s almost a shame that Panini America has a product called Limited. I say that because due to licensing restrictions, Panini is extremely limited in depicting its players. For major-league players, that’s lots of airbrushed logos.

Never let it be said, however, that the folks at Panini shrink from a challenge. Restrictions like the ones the company faced have led to some original design ideas, and in Limited, I believe they turned out rather well.

This year’s Limited set marks the debut of USA Baseball team cards in Panini products; the multiyear agreement with the National Baseball Hall of Fame also comes into play.

A box contains seven cards, and the price hovers around $100. On the box, Panini promises three autograph or memorabilia cards (at least two autographs are guaranteed.

The box I sampled yielded several interesting designs. The Team USA card was of 16U national team member Hunter Mercado-Hood, an outfielder from California. That card was numbered to 199.

There were two prospect cards: Jace Peterson, drafted by the Padres in the 1st round (58th overall) of the 2011 MLB June amateur draft, is an unsigned card numbered to 199. The second prospect is an autograph card of pitcher Ryan Tatusko. At 27, Ryan’s an older prospect; he was drafted by the Rangers in the 18th round of the 2007 June amateur draft. That card is numbered to 620.

Pitcher Michael Fulmer is the pack’s lone entry of the Draft Hits subset. He was drafted by the New York Mets in the 1st round (44th) of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft.

One autograph already in the pack, with three cards to go —or is it four??

Autograph No. 2 is actually a redemption card. It’s a Limited Greats Signature card of Shawn Green.

The next card is a Rawlings Golden Gloves card of Ozzie Smith, numbered to 299. To me, this is the nicest looking design in the set. A cutout action shot of Smith is framed by a Rawlings baseball glove. Smith’s name is in gold foil, and the city (St. Louis) and baseball design on the card is also in gold. Pretty card.

An Andy Dirks Hard Hats relic card is next. I almost missed the piece of the helmet, which is nestled in the bottom left-hand corner of the card. The black stripe at the bottom of the card fooled me, and it took a second look to determine that it was indeed a memorabilia card. THis card is numbered to 93.

The final card is a Monikers card of Boston slugger David Ortiz, numbered to 10. It’s a combination autograph/relic card. It’s a sticker autograph, but the piece of the bat has a very nice texture to it and that makes it much nicer in my book. But this is a card where having an MLB license would have taken this card from sweet to phenomenal. Ortiz is pictured in a red shirt; a Red Sox uniform would have looked great.

Maybe it’s because this is a card of Ortiz; on a Dustin Pedroia card, for example, the shirt would not have been as apparent.

Despite the shackles placed upon its product, Panini still managed to put out a decent-looking set of cards. This particular pack was especially nice, since it basically had eight cards and yielded two autographs, a relic card and a combination auto/relic.

Certainly nothing limited about that pack.

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