Lastly on the trip to my LCS last week, was a box of 2017 Panini Diamond Kings. I've always liked this release, whether as the first few cards in a Donruss base set, or a stand-alone set itself. The idea of art cards have always appealed to me, so I was excited to discover what this box would bring.
I knew no specifics going in, so the results would be a complete surprise. Each box of Diamond Kings contains 12 packs of 8 cards. There will also be, apparently, 12 inserts, 4 framed parallels, and two autograph or memorabilia cards.
Here's how my box turned out.
Base Cubs: Kris Bryant, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Schwarber, Billy Herman, Gabby Hartnett, Kiki Cuyler, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams. First of all, I really love this design.They all have the look of a painting, but unlike similar "artistic" releases of the pact, there isn't a frame or border around it. They let the image speak for itself and use a limited amount of text to give the player's name and team.
I also pulled an Artist's Proof parallel of Jose Abreu, numbered 19/25. It's just like the base card, but with a foil stamp and a serial number. I know there have been various "proof" parallels in various sets in the past, like Artist's Proof, and Press Proof, and I'm not quite sure what they mean, but either way, I'm always happy to have a low-numbered card like this.
Parallels also come in a framed variety. I pulled four of the grey paper framed parallels, Bryce Harper, Harry Walker, Yoenis Cespedes, and Gabriel Ynoa. I also pulled a brown paper framed parallel of JaCoby Jones, numbered 37/49
Now for the inserts. I pulled three Originals cards of Jose Altuve, Wade Boggs, and Daniel Murphy. I'm not sure what the focal point of the insert set is, but the cards look amazing. They actually do remind me of the of the original Diamond Kings cards that had a large image of a player's face with a smaller, full-body action shot. Maybe that's the theme of these.
My two Memorable Moment cards were of Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente. This set is much easier to figure out, as they focus on one particular moment of the player's career. For Babe Ruth, it was when he hit his 60th home run of the 1927 season, and for Roberto Clemente, it was a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam.
My four Aurora cards are of Clayton Kershaw, Brian Dozier, Edwin Encarnacion, and Mookie Betts. I'm not sure what the subject of this set is, other than bright colors. They do look nice, though, although I'm sure it might be too much for some people.
I really love these Heritage Collections cards. They feature retired players from various eras and are entirely in black and white, except for the gold frame. My three were Mike Piazza, Juan Marichal, and Phil Hiekro.
As promised, I got two hits in my box, and all things considered, they were both pretty good.
The first one is a jersey/patch card of Cleveland Indians prospect Bradley Zimmer, numbered 45/49. The left side features a plain grey jersey swatch, and the right side has a white jersey piece with a thin blue patch down the middle. I'm not sure of exactly where this comes from, but I believe it's from the piping of the home jersey sleeve.
My last one was a pretty good one: a dual jersey autographed Rookie Signatures card of Chicago White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada, numbered 7/99. Moncada left Cuba in 2015 to pursue his Major League career, and ended up on the White Sox as part of the deal that sent Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox. He is rated as one of baseball's top prospects, and is having a great year in AAA, waiting for the call to Chicago.
I must say, this set is absolutely beautiful. Apart from the parallels, inserts, and hits, the base cards look amazing, Not only that, but there really is a great mix of rookies, veterans,and retired players, and there is a significant amount of those retired players who don't get a whole lot of cardboard attention from other products. I will definitely be going for this set, and I'll probably put a want list together after I buy another box or two.