Saturday, June 01, 2013

Product Review: 2013 Panini USA Champions Baseball Hobby Box

Panini just released it's latest Baseball product 2013 USA Champions on Wednesday. Now at first thought, not too excited about this product. However once seeing the product on Panini's blog, the product started to entice us into picking up a box.

The concept of the product is to celebrate Team USA through the years of history within baseball. Panini not having an MLB licence, is very creative in the way they are delivering products to the hobby. This one is another great one where they have used the Team USA theme to deliver retired players like Mark McGwire, Ozzie Smith, Roger Clemens among others and mixed in players from the 16U, 18U, and Collegiate teams.

The Base card set is comprised of 123 cards, now the funny thing is that it is missing numbers 107 and 124 but goes to 125 for the base set. No reference as to why though from Panini. The full complete set set would include the 62 Certified cards that are numbered 126 to 187. These Certified cards are found 1:6 packs (4 per box). The famous Certified brand insert includes Mirror Parallels of Red and Blue. They also have included Die-Cuts to the Certified numbered 299 and 699, this is also the same for the Mirrors with 499 and 699.

Relics and Autographs have become the focus of this product as of late. With stars like McGwire, Clemens and Griffey Jr. signing for Panini and inserted into this product. Also the addition of the jumbo patch relics and Bat Knobs have generated high interest in buying a box or two. The average for each box is Two Autographs and Three Memorabilia cards. However, recently opening this box and seen four others, you will receive at least six hits and could be any combination from three autos and three relics to two autographs and four relics. Either way you should receive an extra hit in each box.

With Panini packing so much into this product it's really hard to pass it up. So we picked up a box and here's how we did:
Base Cards: 174 (51 doubles, made the 123 base set)
Highlights: 1 - Tino Martinez
Pride: 2 - Mark McGwire, Isaak Gutierrez
Certified: 4 - Wahl, Sands, Kilichowski, Baker
Certified Blue: 1 - Austin Moore /299
Certified Red: 1 - Dom Nunez /499
Certified Die-cut: 1 - D.J. Peterson /699
Certified Die-Cut Red: 1 - Tino Martinez /299
Autograph Stars & Stripes: 2 - Blake Swinhart /792 & J.P. Ramirez Redemption
Autograph Certified Red: 1 - Kris Bryant /49
Game Gear Relics: 2 - D.J. Peterson Jersey, Kris Bryant Bat
Triple Play Relic: 1 - Jose Trevino Jersey, Bat, Patch /25

This was an interesting box to say the least. First off the base cards are decent, nothing flashy or spectacular but the photography from the past players are nice to see and read about on the back of the cards. Although we made the full 123 base set, we had 51 doubles in the box. A little higher than expected and would have liked either to be less base cards in the box and cut the packs down to maybe 5 or 6 instead of 8.
The inserts are cool with the Pride inserts looking outstanding with the USA flag in the background. The Highlight inserts are hard to pick up sometimes as they look just like the base set and the numbering on the back is the same.

Who doesn't like the Certified brand from Panini? If you don't you really need to have a closer look at them. Great brand and product. Very pleased to see them into this product as a semi-insert/complete set card. The Mirror Parallels and Die-Cuts are a very nice touch. Including the serial number on them will increase the secondary value for these and will be very popular.
As for the autographs, these are all sticker based which is ok with this product and didn't mind seeing them as such. Each Autograph is numbered in this product and is a very nice add for collectors knowing how many are really out there that these players signed. The Kris Bryant we pulled is a Certified Mirror Red which is numbered /49 which was a great pull. However, we pulled a Redemption for J.P. Ramirez which is funny in the sense of sticker autographs. You would think that a product like this would have all the signers ready to go and inserted into the product. With on-card autographs it's understandable, not going to go on about it but a little disappointed in this case. 
Ending off with the Relics which we pulled three of in the box. The Bryant and Peterson are very basic small relics, nothing too exciting but not expecting much from these ones. Again these are players that some aren't even in minor league camps or drafted, so only time will tell if their value on these will increase if they are able to make it to the big leagues and preform. The Triple Play Relic we pulled which is numbered out of 25 is very nice. It has a piece of Jersey swatch, Bat and Patch on it. Pretty cool card and the design of it is very nice.  It's a pretty thick card and seeing some of the other ones out there they are all very nice adds to a collection.
Overall this was a very pleasing product. Always nice to pull a base card set out of a box, and the insertion of Certified is great. You can never go wrong with six hits in a box for under $100, just a great all around product to purchase. Even if your not a USA baseball collector this is a product you will enjoy to rip open a box or collect. Great work Panini, keep these products coming in for us collectors!

As always, most cards we pull in our breaks we send into our COMC account (ThePackGambler). If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at packgambler@gmail.com

Thanks again and remember to visit us at www.packgambler.com

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 4.5/5
Relics: 4.5/5
Parallels: 4/5
Concept: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 4/5

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