A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Monday, March 8, 2021

2021 Donruss Checklist reviewed



Finally we have the second checklist of the year released.  It always seems like there is too big of a gap between the release of Topps Series 1 and the usual combo of Donruss and Topps Heritage.  The gap seems especially large when you consider weekly release dates that happen in late summer and early fall.  The release of the series 1 checklist is always a welcome sight, but it seems to come too early.  I have felt the past few years that the release of the Donruss checklist is really the start of the card season.  I'm not going to post the entire checklist here, there are plenty of places for that, but I will look at the Rockies along with a few other opinions here and there.  There are inserts and autos in the set as well, but heer I am just focusing on the base set.


Here is the Rockies base set

29 Nolan Arenado DK

77 Trevor Story

103 Charlie Blackmon

146 Nolan Arenado

203 German Marquez

208 Antonio Senzatela

227 Larry Walker

First just the opinions on the Rockies

The Good

It's nice to see Antonio Senzatela included because he did have a good 2020.  

Larry Walker being included in the "legends" section is a nice surprise as well.

The Bad

I HATE that Nolan Arenado is a Diamond King two years in a row.

No Rated Rookie for Colorado.  The Rockies had no position player rookies in 2020, but I figured at least starter Ryan Castellani was worthy of inclusion.  

Bard being out was disappointing, but Raimel Tapia had a pretty good year for the Rox and probably deserved a spot as well.

As for the overall checklist, let's go back to that Diamond King talk.  The best thing about DKs in the 80s/90s is that you could pretty much guarantee that if you look at any three consecutive years of Diamond Kings, you'd find three different players.  I am just so disgusted that the new Donruss DKs are not following that rule.  Aside from Arenado, FOURTEEN other teams have the same representative in 2021 as in 2020.  Not only is that extremely lazy, but in most cases it doesn't even make sense.  Wasn't Vladimir Guerrero Jr. a disappointment?  Why was Ronald Acuna picked for a second year over MVP Freddie Freeman?  Why was Aaron Judge picked over DJ LeMahieu?  Even the Angels could have had Anthony Rendon instead of a repeating Mike Trout.  Sure, sometimes in the 80s it led to guys like Ed Whitson or Scott Fletcher being chosen over superior teammates, but that's not a bad thing in my mind.  Card companies need to start spotlighting more current players to make them stars too.  

With that thought in mind it brings me to the worst part of the Donruss checklist.  In past years, the end of the base set has always been a mix of legends and lesser known players shown on a classic Donruss design.  This year is slightly different.  The classic design is going in the same order with this year highlighting the 1987 Donruss set.  The problem is that Panini has completely eliminated all current players from this subset.  Cards # 213-262 are ALL retired players.  50 retired players in basically your company's flagship set, and 13 of them were repeated players from last year's set.  Did we really need a second straight Keith Hernandez card in the base set?  Or Dale Murphy?  Or Dwight Gooden?  Of the remaining 37 "legends" there are such luminaries as Troy Glaus, Lance Berkman, Jonathan Papelbon, Miguel Tejada, and Bartolo Colon.  Seriously?  These guys might (emphasize MIGHT) deserve inclusion when we get closer to honoring their rookie years, but what do they have to do with 1987?  I don't mind the inclusion of non-HOFers, like with Darryl Strawberry in last year's set, but at least have them make sense for the set you are honoring.  

The worst part is cutting the lesser known players.  As bad as it was for Tapia or Bard to be left off the "main" set, I was really hoping to get a rookie card for Antonio Santos or Tommy Doyle in the 1987 design.  I know most collectors don't care about them, but Rockies fans do.  And to be honest, I don't really know about the lesser rookies of other teams, but that's why I WANT them included.  I'd much rather have them than a Paul Konerko or Orel Hershiser or even a Larry Walker in a 2021 set. Cutting all the repeated guys and the lesser "legends" could have easily added 25 current players to this set.

I have always liked the Donruss set, even without the logos.  Sure sometimes the design is lacking, or in the case of 2017 downright ugly, but it still feels nice to have a second MAJOR flagship set.  The lack of logos is an afterthought for me to be honest.  But this checklist just makes this set feel more like a throwaway third rate set like Topps Archives.  It definitely does not feel like a major release.  I am in the midst of collecting the 2020 Donruss rainbow set, but aside from the Rockies, I will probably avoid this set altogether.

Thanx for reading.



Brett Alan said...

The design actually looks like Topps' design this year with all the angled lines and such.

I wouldn't mind getting those less-prominent retired players if the set were larger and the current guys were better represented. And you're absolutely right that they need to vary the DK choices more.

gcrl said...

I agree with you about the retired guys in a flagship set. However, since it's happening, I am pleased that garvey gets a card!

night owl said...

This set will always be minor league as long as it doesn't have logos. Also the designs do not appeal to me and I grew tired of Diamond Kings around 1991. Just not a Donruss guy.

The Diamond King said...

Yeah, like all the other commenters so far, I am on board with basically all of your dislikes. Especially the Diamond Kings repeats.