Tuesday, September 25, 2007

2005 Donruss Zenith

Here's another one of those packs I picked up in a blister, opened up and forgot about. The Zenith set was Donruss' attempt to resurrect an old Pinnacle product they acquired when they bought out Score. The brand is a bit cursed, 1998 Zenith (the set that pioneered the 'rip card' concept used in Allen & Ginter) was one of the last sets released by Pinnacle before they went belly-up. This set also ended up being one of the last baseball sets released by Donruss before their license got unceremoniously yanked out from under them.

The pack looks pretty good unopened at least. It's a nice shiny gold, always good to attract pack foragers in the wilds of the Target baseball card rack. George Brett is prominently featured, good to see a KC Royal get some love from a card company. Wooo... an insert card in every pack! That worked out pretty well for Fleer in the mid nineties, didn't it? Ug, 4 cards per pack. Me no likey 4 cards for 3 bucks. Oh well, lets crack it open anyway.

148 Mike Sweeney
187 Jeremy Bonderman
M13 Florida Marlins Mosaic - Dontrelle Willis, Mike Lowell and AJ Burnett
229 Delmon Young

Mike Sweeney keeps up the Royals theme and even has a shout out to Brett on the back:
National Baseball Hall of Fame member George Brett and Sweeney own three of the top five single-season batting averages in Royals franchise history.
This isn't entirely accurate, as Sweeney and Brett own five of the top five batting averages in Royals history. The two are tied for #4 all time with a .333 average. Not bad, I guess you have to be a die-hard Royals fan to realize what a good player Sweeney was before the injury bug bit.

Poor Jeremy Bonderman. The one-time phenom had to suffer through the dreadful times of the Tigers, and his reward was to end up completely overshadowed by Justin Verlander. He's building a lot of character at least.

The Mosaic card is the promised insert out of the pack. It's made out of that Dufex stuff that Pinnacle overused and abused back in the '90s in all their sets. It looks really nice but it dings like crazy. This one came out of the pack with a nice bug chunk squashed up on the edge by Dontrelle. Still not a bad insert even though two of the three have already been run out of Florida.

The Delmon Young card made me do a double take. I'm so used to pulling Delmons this year with that official Rookie Card logo, that pulling his card from two years ago without one confused the hell out of me. You mean those other Delmons aren't really his first card?? Looks like Donruss weren't the only ones to get screwed in the Great License Shakeup of Aught-Six.


Adam Lisonbee said...

So what happened to Donruss? And what is with the official "Rookie Card" logo across all brands?

I am just getting back into the card game, and was confused/curious about some of these changes.

dayf said...

Before the 2006 season, MLB signed a new licensing agreement with Topps and Upper Deck and pulled Donruss' license. This was very odd since Donruss products were very popular at the time. This pissed off a lot of people, especially dealers, and it still looks to this day that UD and Topps pulled some shenanigans to squeeze out their competition.

Part of the new agreement redid how rookie cards worked. A rule was put into effect that a player could not have a card printed until he played his first game in the majors. Once he made his debut, a card could be printed with an official rookie card logo slapped on it. On one hand, this was good as it curtailed the end of year race to put every obscure prospect onto a rookie card (sometimes extremely short printed) which often made it very difficult to figure out what a player's actual rookie card was. Then again, since a lot of the 'official' rookies have had cards out for years in other sets there's still a lot of confusion. A couple of players given the rookie card logo last year have cards as old as the mid 90's floating around out there. It still hasn't even solved the problem though, as Topps found a loophole for their Bowman line and put all the prospects they have signed in 'insert' sets. The system is still broken and the current solution just seems like a marketing scam.