2017 Stars & Stripes and the MLB draft.

Prior to my trip we broke a hobby box of 2017 Stars & Stripes and quickly posted the results on twitter. We beat the odds and got a hot box yielding eight auto/relic/combo cards instead of the five promised, which is always nice. But I wanted to take a quick second and break down the set now that the MLB draft has concluded.

Not those Minnesota Twins – Twins.

With the types of sets that include 15U, 18U, and college Team USA players, it’s sometimes hard to know which players ended up with the Twins. However with the draft having just concluded, we’ve only a few cards of players that are either still in high school/college or chose a university to attend in the fall. However, we did end up with one future Twin – third rounder, 76th overall Blayne Enlow. In both base form, and auto #/499!

#ThanksPanini – Base/Collation.

We only had two duplicates – sort of… – single base cards of top prospect Hunter Greene and Mark McGwire, and single base cards of their “Longevity” parallels.

  • Ian Anderson – Braves – 2016 1st round, #3.
  • Braxton Garrett – Marlins – 2016 1st round, #7.
  • William Benson – Indians – 2016 1st round, #14.
  • Matt Thaiss – Angels – 2016 1st round, #16.
  • Zack Burdi – White Sox – 2016 1st round, #26.
  • Robert Tyler – Rockies – 2016 1st round, #38.
  • Anfernee Grier – Diamondbacks – 2016 1st round, #39.
  • Logan Shore – Athletics – 2016 2nd round, #47.
  • Buddy Reed – Padres – 2016 2nd round, #48.
  • Cole Stobbe – Phillies – 2016 3rd round, #78.
  • Bobby Dalbec – Red Sox – 2016 4th round, #118.
  • Hunter Greene – Reds – 2017 1st round, #2.
  • Brendan McKay – Rays – 2017 1st round, #4.
  • Kyle Wright – Braves – 2017 1st round, #5.
  • J.B. Bukauskas – Astros – 2017 1st round, #15.
  • Tanner Houck – Red Sox – 2017 1st round, #24.
  • Calvin Mitchell – Pirates – 2017 2nd round, #50.
  • M.J. Melendez – Royals – 2017 2nd round, #52.
  • Blayne Enlow – Twins – 2017 3rd round, #76. 🙂

Frank Thomas …
Mark McGwire …

Gimmicks – Short-Prints/Serials.

We didn’t get many parallels, just four of the “Longevity” parallels mentioned above, and one low #/d card.

Keston Hiura – Brewers – 2017 – 1st round, #9.
Mark McGwire …
Hunter Greene – Reds – 2017 1st round, #2
Ricky Tyler Thomas – Cubs – 2017 7th round, #225.
Dansby Swanson – Diamondbacks/Braves – 2015 1st, #1. #/d 23/25.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what about the hits? – Hits, duh.

Sammy Faltine isn’t eligible for the draft until 2019. #/d 7/10.
Holden Powell wasn’t drafted and is committed to attending UCLA this fall. #/d 391/399.
Jared Jones isn’t eligible for the draft until 2020. #/d 1/25.
Blayne Enlow – Twins – 2017 3rd round, #76. :D. #/d 182/499.

Darren McCaughan – Mariners – 2017 12th round, #363. #/d 160/199.
Kevin Gowdy – Phillies – 2016 2nd round, #42. #/d 32/75.
Jasiah Dixon isn’t eligible for the draft until 2019. #/d 14/25.
Michael Brooks isn’t eligible for the draft until 2020. #/d 22/25.

Final impression.

Strengths: Bonus hits, base set showcases newest draftees, patches not too dull, variety of #/d auto/relics, base design.
Weaknesses: 14U/15U players heavily in the hits category, limited parallels(though the extra hits may have taken their place), only two Twins :D.


Box two – 2017 Diamond Kings

Yeah I did mention I bought two boxes of Diamond Kings – but for ease’s sake, I broke them up into two posts.

Not those Minnesota Twins.

I lucked out and pulled the Adalberto Mejia rookie! Even pulled an extra Kirby Puckett so I’ve got one for the team binder, and the set binder. Team set minus inserts complete! Speaking of inserts, we pulled a DK Originals Paul Molitor. Finally, there’s a surprise pull later on. :).

#ThanksPanini – Collation.

Much like the last box, I didn’t pull any duplicate cards minus the SPs. Across both boxes opened so far, I ended up with 37 dupes.

Gimmicks – Short-Prints/Serials.

In addition to the pictured SPs, I also pulled a second set of Carson Fulmer, Dansby Swanson, and Yoan Moncada. Not a bad group of dupes to have, but I wish I could’ve finished the set. Naturally. I pulled two numbered cards in this box – one an Artist’s Proof #38/99 Jake Arrieta, and the other was a framed parallel #88/99 of 1925 World Series Senators-killer Max Carey – he batted .458/.552/.625 against the franchise that October!

Cardboard Quirks – Inserts.

I’m not sure why there were less inserts in this box. For Memorable Moments I knocked out Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, a great group. Heritage Collection yielded Phil Niekro, Rickey Henderson, Mike Piazza, and Juan Marichal. In Aurora, I added Paul Goldschmidt, and Max Scherzer. For DK Originals I pulled the aforementioned Paul Molitor, Wade Boggs, Ryne Sandberg, and Reggie Jackson. Not a bad name in the bunch.

Picassos – Framed Parallels.

This box only had four non-numbered framed border cards – three “base” and one rookie. Corey Seager, Fergie Jenkins, Don Larsen, and Teoscar Hernandez. However, the Don Larsen is the short-printed image variation! Not sure the rarity of that, as it’s not listed anywhere I’ve seen.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what about the hits? – Hits, duh.

This is where this box went from good to great! Our first hit was Yankee legend Don Mattingly. Nothing too special to see here, your basic bat relic and jersey relic with an excellent pose that removes the logo branding problem. My second hit however, check out this gorgeous #/49 dual patch auto:

The only thing that’s a negative with this card is the poor autograph!

Up next are a few retail blasters of Heritage, with their free packs of S1, a Zelda retail set, and the one year anniversary of owning a Babe Ruth relic!

First new Diamond Kings of the year.

2017 Diamond Kings was released yesterday, and I was the first to pick two boxes from a fresh case at my card store. No Babe Ruth cards this time, but that’s not really the standard I hold my boxes against – unrealistic expectations much? However, these are the cards I got:

Not those Minnesota Twins.

I did much better in the first box than I did in the second box in finishing off my Twins checklist.  The set breakdown – 1-100 are base cards, 101-125 are base SPs, and 126-175 are rookies. Why 175? Who knows… #ThanksPanini. The Twins/Senators have three base cards – (includes Kirby Puckett, Goose Goslin, and Brian Dozier) one base SP(Miguel Sano), and one rookie(Adalberto Mejia). In addition, there’s a Kirby Puckett image variation – powder blues vs. pinstripes. After the first box, I pulled all three base cards, the Miguel Sano SP, but did not pull the Adalberto Mejia rookie. As well, I knocked out the variation short-print.

For inserts, the Twins have one in each set – Aurora(Brian Dozier), DK Originals(Paul Molitor), Heritage Collection(Kirby Puckett), and Memorable Moment(Kirby Puckett). This box had the Aurora insert, and a Miguel Sano base Artist’s Proof – #10/99! Not a bad box! One rookie and three inserts remain!

#ThanksPanini – Collation.

No really, thanks Panini. I didn’t pull any base duplicates in box one, and in the rookie subset I didn’t pull any duplicates either – outside of the short-printed Carson Fulmer, Yoan Moncada, and Dansby Swanson.

Gimmicks – Short-Prints/Serials.

I love how Panini makes the short-printed cards very obvious – with obvious image variations and the backs have different designs(rookie design vs. base design) with the exception of a few rookie card ranged SPs where you’ve gotta rely on the images – or in the case of Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson what text is on the back. I mentioned and displayed the Kirby Puckett above, but I also got the SPs for Pee Wee Reese, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, Yoan Moncada, Carson Fulmer, and another Artist’s Proof – Albert Pujols #17/99. A huge improvement of 2015’s two SPs per box. I believe these were reverse flipped in the packs as well.

For what it’s worth, the short-print is the version on the right. Compare the bio text. :).

Cardboard Quirks – Inserts.

In this box I pulled a good bit of inserts. There are four base inserts mentioned previously – DK Originals, Heritage Collection, Memorable Moments, and Aurora. First off, I love the addition of Aurora! Bright, shiny, and distinct from the other inserts – I pulled four. Heritage Collection looks at players time with franchises, and details some of their key stats. I lucked out with five – Al Kaline, Carlton Fisk, Joe Morgan, the above Ken Griffey Jr., and Willie McCovey.

Another carry-over set from previous Diamond Kings sets, DK Originals pairs a batting/pitching pose with more of a glamour shot. I pulled four – Jim Palmer, Ozzie Smith, Pedro Martinez, and the featured Robin Yount. For whatever reason, these Memorable Moments were a rarer pull – having only pulled two – Jim Bottomley, and Grover Alexander.

Picassos – Framed Parallels.

I got six parallels including a numbered version of rookie Ryon Healy #63/99. The rest were kinda okay at the based balls, and some at the top of their game. Grover Alexander, Honus Wagner, Harry Walker, Clayton Kershaw, and Orlando Arcia.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what about the hits? – Hits, duh.

They can’t all be winners and this box is a prime example. The first hit I pulled was a #253/299 double relic auto ‘Rookie Signatures’ Hunter Renfroe. The second hit – a redesigned Bat Kings was a #27/49 Trevor Story single bat relic. If only they were switched!


This was due to be posted weeks ago, but it never did apparently, so without further delay….

Because I don’t know when to stop apparently, I picked up two more boxes of Diamond Kings. The newest, a 2016 box was okay. The other though, another 2015 box(5th for those counting at home) that while not as nice as the Babe Ruth box obviously, was still pretty nice! The formats between the years are pretty much the same. In 2016’s set I think there’s an extra insert type or two, but you’ll end up with similar results overall.

First up, the new hotness, 2016 Diamond Kings. For me, it’s always nice when the first card you see of a new box is a Twin. In this case Miguel Sano’s rookie card #143. Not bad. Each box promises two autos/relics and I received as much. I even pulled a #/d auto/relic, not a guarantee. The insert I loved the most was one of the new set this year is the “Expressionists”, they just have a very unique look to them. That Addison Russell is especially sweet with the t-shirt and his….expression. A first for the boxes I’ve pulled, one of the minis was numbered – Rickey Henderson. Last year’s base cards that were numbered received a different foil Diamond Kings logo, which I liked, but this years design – at least from what I’ve seen adds extra foil to stand out(see the Artist’s Proof on the Andrew McCutchen?). Overall not too bad, but I prefer 2015 for obvious reasons – Ruth, and the box below. Edit: I didn’t know there were short printed cards until I went to post this, seems 2015 has them too. Separate post? Probably.

53 – 1-140 Base cards.
24 – 141-185 Rookie cards.
2 Short prints – one base(#17 Roberto Clemente), one rookie(#145 Stephen Piscotty).
2 minis – #110 Yasmany Tomas, #130 Rickey Henderson #22/25!
1 Artist’s Proof – #56 Andrew McCutchen #69/99.
2 Expressionists – E15 Kris Bryant, E17 Addison Russell.
2 DK Originals – DKO13 Cal Ripken, DKO15 Nolan Ryan.
2 Heritage Collection – HC11 Gaylord Perry, HC13 Jim Palmer.
2 Aficionados – A15 Jacob DeGrom, A17 Todd Frazier.
2 Memorable Feats – MF15 Gil Hodges, MF17 Nap Lajoie.
2 framed cards – #108 David Price, #158 Zach Davies.Now for the fun stuff. The first hit I pulled was a Nelson Cruz jersey/bat relic #35/49. The design this year for the base cards really shows off in the framed relics. An improvement, and definitely nicer than some of the flagship/base relic designs we’ve seen in years past. I didn’t know he had moved onto Seattle so the card threw me for a loop for a second. I almost offered it to the shop owner, as living in Texas, a Cruz relic would’ve sold relatively easy. I just don’t keep up with transactions like that anymore. For this year’s Topps Heritage I didn’t know who John Hicks was, I thought they had made an error and meant John Ryan Murphy – another offseason transaction. My bad Mr. Hicks.My second pull was pretty sweet, a Corey Seager #11/99 jersey/bat/auto. With a clean, crisp autograph, a nice window and the numbering on the back of the card doesn’t distract from the overall design. It’s never a bad thing to have a potential rookie of the year card like that. Logo be damned.

As for the umpteenth box of 2015 Diamond Kings I’ve broken, I seem to have all the luck in the world this month. Now that I know there’s short prints in the set, I sorted those out too while sorting – 2 of them! I think I would have noticed something different if they had placed them backwards like they do hits and #/d cards – something they did in 2016 that was a welcome improvement. The irony of pulling the Babe Ruth card in my last box was that through 4 previous boxes I still hadn’t pulled a Babe Ruth base card – the streak is over now! Damned collation issues. #ThanksPanini

54 1-150 Base cards.
24 151-200 Rookies cards.
2 Short print rookies – #155 Christian Walker, #179 Rymer Liriano.
1 #/d base card – #118 Rogers Hornsby #47/99.
2 Hall of Fame Sluggers – #16 Duke Snider, #18 Johnny Bench.
2 DK Originals #3 Clayton Kershaw, #18 Yadier Molina.
2 Nicknames #3 Mariano Rivera, #18 David Ortiz.
2 Aficionados #3 Clayton Kershaw, #18 Yadier Molinda. Yay collation!
2 framed base/rookies – #22 Cal Ripken, #82 Jon Lester.
2 Minis – #23 Carl Furillo, #104 Miller Huggins.

I like that Panini created mini relics that stand out and hold up well on their own without needing to be framed. But man are they ever a pain to store! I pulled one in this box, a Garrett Richards, #42/99 jersey relic.

They’re a pain to keep safe – the best thing I’ve found is to put them in a 70pt snap down case. They don’t move around inside and for the most part stay stationary, otherwise the only other feasible option is to sleeve and place in a thicker top loader case. I’ve found they don’t stay still as much in that setup. Maybe Ultrapro will design a thicker “tobacco” size top loader? Until then… my other hit was a bit nicer! Just a bit

…a #3/10 Barry Bonds relic/auto! I love that Barry Bonds has his own authentication stamp. I looked at a few that were posted on ebay, theirs had two relics, but were smaller than mine – a “jumbo“ relic, maybe? Plus it looks like I’ve got a bit of the Giants logo, or the name plate on the back. Very cool relic Panini! In the span of two weeks, I’ve pulled two of the top three home run hitters of all time. Not too shabby, a shame they don’t have a Hank Aaron in the set. :D.