Diamond Kings – The Other Pleasant Surprise Of 2015

When Panini comes out with an unlicensed baseball set that makes me say “Hey, I gotta get me some of those!”, that’s a notable occurrence… and that’s exactly what lead to my second mild, pleasant surprise of 2015.

I’d seen images of 2015 Panini Diamond Kings on other people’s blogs, but it wasn’t until December that I acquired 32 of these from COMC and a dime box.  I’ve still not seen a pack of these, nor do I know whether or not they were hobby only.

There’s not much of a design to the cards themselves, which is all well and good because it takes a back seat to the appealing backgrounds which give the cards the appearance of having been painted.  It was quite a while before I realized that the “brush strokes” on these cards are largely the same, but the eye is tricked by the different colors and the modified player photos obscuring different parts of the background.
2015 Diamond Kings Anthony Rendon
The “DK” logo at the bottom is foil-ish, but is more metallic than shiny.  The cards themselves have a faux canvas texture to them… but other than that, they’re on standard 21st Century baseball card material (I’m never quite sure how much cardboard is involved in some of these).

One of the things that I like about these cards is that they’re visually appealing without being gaudy… A fine line that Panini usually crosses.

This Dalton Pompey is about as perfect of an unlicensed card as you’re going to find.  You can clearly see his face, and yet the Blue Jays logos are not obviously missing.  Add in the blue and white background and the artsy fartsy graphics effects, and you’ve got a nice-looking card.
2015 Diamond Kings Dalton Pompey

I did something with this set that I normally don’t get to do… I bought a variation!  I guess unlicensed variations of unproven prospects is not where the money is, because I bought this Dilson Herrera variation off of COMC for less than a buck.
2015 Diamond Kings Dilson Herrera variant

Here’s the regular version of Herrera’s card.  I saw him play in the minors and liked what I saw, so I’m looking forward to him getting more playing time in Queens.
2015 Diamond Kings Dilson Herrera

Here’s a card of a guy who got plenty of playing time in Queens.  I find it hard to believe that it’s been nearly four years since we lost Gary Carter.
2015 Diamond Kings Gary Carter

I can normally take or leave cards of Brooklyn Dodgers, but Gil Hodges was such an important part of Mets history that I make a small effort to pick up his cards (although I don’t have anything older than his 1961 Post card).
2015 Diamond Kings Gil Hodges

I appreciate Jake Arrieta and am happy that he’s “figured it out”.  Just wish he’d done it during one of the many games when I saw him pitch for the Orioles.
2015 Diamond Kings Jake Arrieta

It’s kind of silly to like a player just because he shares the same nickname as a player you’re particularly fond of, but I’m sure Mookie Betts won’t complain.
2015 Diamond Kings Mookie Betts

This Wei-Yin Chen card would benefit greatly from having *something* on the front of his cap, even if it’s just an errant “blop” of fake paint.
2015 Diamond Kings Wei-Yin Chen

I started this post two weeks ago, and now I can’t remember what I had to say about this Brock Holt card… But it’s been scanned and inserted into the post, so I ask that you appreciate the hell out of it.
2015 Diamond Kings Brock Holt
Thank you.

I really like this card of Buck Farmer… and I just like the name “Buck Farmer”.
2015 Diamond Kings Buck Farmer
Every time I see “Buck Farmer” written out, I hear it in my head as if it’s being said by Butthead from “Bevis And Butthead”: “Huh huh huh huh…. Buck Farmer.”

Before we go, I ask you to pity poor Andy Wilkins… A guy who, through no fault of his own, benefits greatly from being logo-free.
2015 Diamond Kings Andy Wilkins
At this time last year, Andy Wilkins was in the White Sox organization, the only organization he’d known as a professional…. but things started to change during Spring Training last year…  Check out the transactions he’s been involved in, especially over the past month:

March:  Claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays
May:  Purchased by the Dodgers
September:  Claimed off waivers by the Orioles
December 2nd:  Claimed off waivers by the Mariners
December 14th:  Claimed off waivers by the Rangers
December 23rd:  Claimed off waivers by the Brewers


So that’s a brief overview of the 2015 Diamond Kings base set. I’ll admit, I fear that next year’s set will either be more of the same or will completely go off the rails… but for now, it’s a nice Panini set that makes me want to go out and get more.

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3 thoughts on “Diamond Kings – The Other Pleasant Surprise Of 2015

  1. I opened a box of those for a group break last year and I was impressed as well. That’s probably the first Panini set that I could see myself chasing (if it weren’t for the variations at least).

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