Friday, May 31, 2019

First Impressions - 2019 Diamond Kings

Every now and then, Wally World surprises me. I went there with the intention of buying some recently released Topps Big League. Of course it didn't reach my little corner of the world yet, but I did find packs of the Panini Diamond King set. In years past, I've only been able to find these in boxes, which is usually more than I want to spend for the product. Not that this pack was cheap ($9.98) but it was worth this one time purchase just so I can give it a proper blog review!

As with all things Panini, the lack of a license hurts the product, but not as bad as you would think. I'll refer you to my Donruss review here. The lack of a license is less of  a problem with Diamond King, as a good number of cards feature players from long, long ago.

#24 Christy Mathewson

The first card from the pack is a beautiful rendering of Hall of Fame legend Christy Mathewson. The uniform, the glove, the park - this card just takes you back in time, doesn't it? The overall design is interesting. I'm not sure what they're trying to do here. Fortunately, it doesn't detract from the overall look.

#81 Ozzie Albies
#38 Jose Altuve
#95 Mookie Betts

I'm on a Mookie hot streak! I pulled a card of his with the Donruss pack I reviewed too! Keep it up, Panini!

#53 Kyle Freeland
#11 Al Simmons
#34 Miguel Cabrera
#205-21 Jose Altuve (DK205 Series insert)

The first insert of the pack is this really cool retro DK205 card of Jose Altuve. (i'm aparently on a Jose Altuve insert hot streak as well...) I like this design a lot!

#S10 Victor Robles (Squire insert)

This insert, however, not so much. The design doesn't fit the overall aesthetic of the set, and Squires is a really odd name for an insert.  Is Robles supposed to be training for knighthood or something?

#TH-9 Nolan Arenado (Team Heroes insert)
#JJ4 Joe Jackson CL (Joe Jackson Collection insert)

A whole insert set dedicated to Shoeless Joe Jackson? Yes please! Personally, I think his lifetime ban from baseball (and more importantly the Hall of Fame) should have ended when his lifetime did. Why are we still punishing this guy?

#MG4 Clayton Kershaw (Masters Of The Game insert)
#77 Cedric Mullins (Red Frame parallel)
#124 Shohei Ohtani (VAR)

Ohtani presents a good opportunity to look at the back. Again, Panini doesn't know how to maximize their card space. One cool thing they did however is change the wood frame on the back to silver for the base card variations. I like it when they make variations easy to spot!

#85 Rickey Henderson
#43 Corbin Burns (RC)
#1 Stan Musial

Stan Musial has the honor of being card #1 of the set. another instance where the card has that great feel of yesteryear, despite the lack of team names or logos.

#18 Carl Erskine
#75 Salvador Perez
#32 Brad Keller (RC)

Overall, I really like these cards. They are artwork you hold in your hand, plain and simple.  hope I have the opportunity to buy some more!


  1. There were a ton of these boxes (and Panini Donruss) when I went looking for Big League last week. I had to fish out the Big League boxes from behind, way in the back.

    DK looks decent enough, mostly with the old-timey guys. My problem is it kind of looks the same every year with the same people and the years blend together.

  2. I've been getting the itch, so I walked down the card aisle at Target last night for the first time in at least a month hoping to find a box of Bowman. They had GQ, Heritage, Topps S1, Big League, and Diamond Kings. The only box I picked up was DK... but I ended up putting it back.

  3. I agree, the no logos don't bother me quite as much in a set like Diamond Kings. The DK205 inserts are some of my favorite cards from the entire product. I'm glad that I picked some up at a card show a few weeks back.