*Please note: I don't usually like to blow cards up this much anymore, but I did so to make the backs more legible in case they were of interest to anyone.
Justin Verlander 2005 Playoff Prestige RCThis was one of Panini's plainer looking offerings, but really the design isn't that bad--it's the airbrushed or generic jersey in the photo. I know Panini still had a license at this point, so what gives? Anyway, kudos to the company for listing Justin's stats from his days at Old Dominion--numbers which are so impressive even an idiot like Jim Leyland could tell he'd be successful. 427 Ks in 335.0 innings? Are you SERIOUS? I also like how consistent his stats were year-to-year, with the largest difference being his ERA, though over the course of that small sample size of games, that variance is easy to explain. Yep, it's plain to see that JV would become a star, and this makes a good case for more RCs listing amateur stats.
Justin Verlander 2005 Throwback Threads RCAh, there we go: Verlander in a Detroit uni, that makes MUCH more sense. The photo is a bit goofy--what's the deal with snapping him posing on the sidewalk in front of some foliage near a house? The back is also a tad strange in that there's obviously a ton of space available, yet this time Panini went with just his final year of college stats to go with the totals. I say "strange" and not "surprising" because everyone knows that's Panini's MO. Since the front of the card is more important anyway, and this one does a nice job blending the team colors into the design, I give it an overall thumbs-up.
Justin Verlander 2005 Zenith RCOk, I'm stumped: I have no idea what the background of this set is supposed to be, but I've complained enough about Panini today, so I'll go so far as to say that the photo itself is nice, anyway. The back repeats the Threads card's limited stats gaffe, but the write-up is fairly pleasing and insightful: "He is expected to ascend to each level of Detroit's organization in rapid fashion." Uh, yeah, I think that might have happened. We're talking about the guy who, the year after this card was made, won 16 games and the AL Rookie of the Year in leading the Tigers to their first World Series appearance since JV and I weren't yet two years old? Yeah, that's the one, ok.
I hope to add more key cards like these to my Verlander collection, so if you have any to trade, please hit me up as I'm always happy to pick up something nice for you in return, especially thanks to my frequent COMC purchases. There can never be Too Many Verlanders!