Maybe I am crazy but I think Panini is doing a much better job of designing really nice cards without their license, particularly the higher end brands. Over a couple of day period, I had 6 cards delivered from two different 2016 releases. In addition to all of them fitting nicely into my various collection, I am actually a fan of the design and photo selection. Check them out:
I really like this design with the selection of a year during the player's career and a headline and description of highlight. The 3D nature of the picture works with Winfield popping out of the top of the photo to extend his bat into the Biography banner. My only small complaint would be the small size of the bat piece but I think that is a result of all the other elements of the card. This fits nicely into my semi-neglected Dave Winfield player collection.
Next up is a jumbo jersey swatch of Madison Bumgarner for my Giants collection. I like the big swatch while still showing a pretty decent sized picture of MadBum. This card probably suffers the most from the lack of licensing here but I like the picture as he starts up his delivery.
Another Giants relic, this time of a guy who isn't typically listed as a Giant. It seems like The Big Cat has made a cardboard resurgence this year. He has been in a number of high end products, I don't know about you but if he was my headliner in a metal case of Flawless I would be less than happy. The seller of the Winfield and MadBum cards also had this one with combined shipping so I jumped at adding a new Andres Galarraga to my Giants collection.
Switching to an even newer product, the final 3 cards are from the Panini Pantheon release. I have watched a few of these boxes cracked on YouTube and it looks like a pretty solid product. This die-cut along the top Rickey Henderson card celebrates his inclusion in the 3000 hit club. I really like that it showcases Rickey in his Mariners uniform, the team he was with when reaching the milestone. The facsimile autograph ads a nice element, this is one of my favorite new additions to my Rickey player collection.
Here is another milestone card, this time of Barry Bonds for his entry into the 600 Home Run Club. There are also versions for 500 and 700. This photo selection doesn't appear to have needed any photo shopping, it is a great looking card. In looking at both the Bonds and Henderson card, you can see the color scheme was changed to match the team colors - I love it when card companies take the time and effort to make that happen. If I was a little crazier as a collection, I might research putting together a set of these milestone cards but I really have too many collecting focuses at this point.
new HOF card page as well. Short of my Babe Ruth relic, this marks the relic from the player inducted earliest into the HOF in my collection.
What are your thoughts about recent Panini releases? Are they getting any better at minimizing the impact of their lack of license?