2015 Panini Contenders retail review

I went looking for 2016 Heritage and Donruss, but left with Contenders. The life of a pack ripping addict. It’s not a bad product though.

We went to the nearby Target to search for Donruss and Topps Heritage, and while none were found, there were three boxes of Contenders. One up front, and two hidden in the back. I had another__castle choose which one we’d get, and finished up our shopping. I should have her choose more often!

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First pack, best pack! The first pack revealed the best retail pull I’ve had in some time. For 20$, you’re guaranteed 2 autos, but there’s no guarantee which team’s they’ll come from, obviously. My other auto isn’t as impressive but maybe the Rangers can mold him into a dependable starter.

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The base cards look like a mock up college program design. A dirt-y bottom giving way to white tops, with a season ticket banner at the bottom and a flag section with name, school, and product info. It’s a unique look that fits a mostly collegiate/Team USA set.

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I think a lot of the allure of this set is the throwback players. Of which, I pulled one or more a pack – four season tickets (Roger Clemens, Frank Thomas, Barry Larkin, Fred Lynn seen above) and three old school colors(Ozzie Smith, Reggie Jackson, Paul Molitor). Each pack had a good mix of season ticket base, and varied inserts. There’s:

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Collegiate Connections – pairs two teammates on the same card. Arguably my best prospect insert featuring top draft pick Dansby Swanson.

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Game Day – highlights a great game they had on the diamond.

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School Colors – the background matches their university’s colors.

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Old School Colors – recently drafted players have their university’s colors as a background.

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Class Reunion – filled with recently drafted players, different background.

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Passports – features players from the international realm.

I like the idea of school colors having current players and old school having former players. Game day spotlight makes sense in this kind of product. Matching teammates in Collegiate Connections is a nice touch. But to me, Class Reunion and Old School Colors could have been combined.

Also, I’m not sure who’s job it is to catch these kind of errors, but the School Colors cards for Drew Smith and Brandon Koch look awfully similar…

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The product looks nice and the price is right, I just wish they’d work on the amount and variety of inserts. A good mix of new and old are available, including on the hit spectrum. Overall, I definitely like what I saw, but there’s always areas to inprove. I’d recommend retail/hobby for low end collector’s and set builders.

Twins/Gophers checklist:
32 Dave Winfield – Minnesota Golden Gophers
75 Paul Molitor – Minnesota Golden Gophers
95 Tyler Jay – Illinois Fighting Illini

Twins/Gophers inserts:
Collegiate Connections
4 Dave Winfield/Paul Molitor
Old School Colors
9 Dave Winfield
12 Paul Molitor
46 Tyler Jay
Game Day
4 Tyler Jay
Class Reunion
4 Tyler Jay
School Colors
4 Tyler Jay

Autos:
College Ticket
9 Tyler Jay
Draft Ticket
41 Travis Blankenhorn
International Ticket
14 Wander Javier
USA Ticket
34 Tyler Jay SSP #/50.
Class Reunion
4 Tyler Jay
Prospect Ticket
2 Adam Walker
Collegiate Connections
4 Dave Winfield/Paul Molitor
School Colors
16 Tyler Jay SSP #/50
Old School Colors
9 Dave Winfield
12 Paul Molitor

Now playing: nothing.
Now reading: River of Champions.
Searching for: D or H!
Shoulder: pain free.

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#2015-panini-contenders, #retail, #review