Sometimes a set comes a long that just gets you. People collect sets - birth year sets, first year favorite player sets, favorite team World Series Champion sets. When I decide which cards I like I can rarely use my favorite team as a representation. Mainly because the Jays, aside from the 80's and about 1990-1993, are extremely underproduced in sets, not only as base cards, but in inserts, relics, autographs. Maybe it's the Canada thing. It doesn't matter.
Especially with this set.
2004 Donruss Studio is my favorite set off all time visually. Yes, all time. Sorry, Topps 206, 1995 Topps, 1986 Topps and yes, 2010 Bowman (I usually hate Bowman, but love this year's design). It's simple. The shots are all poses, as was the status quo with Studio back in the day.
The design? A simple holo-logo in the upper left. A team logo (I need team logos) in the bottom right, along a film strip line, with the player's name in white. Simple. Unpretentious. But what makes the cards are the backgrounds. The players are placed on a stunning backdrop of their team's city's skyline...at dusk. In years before Studio showed vague, off-angled shots of the stadium, and in latter years blurred and faded the city skylines into one colour with borders. Both of these designs I enjoy, but nothing comes close to 2004.
I mean, seriously...even the Yankees look great in this set:
The above is Hideki Matsui's Gold Proof Parallel. #/50.
Now I am sure there was some PhotoShopping going on in some of the skyline shots in this set.
Some, like this Chutley; the sky is actually pretty well lit, while the city lights just seem to be turned on for the night:
Even with LA Looks cover boy Chase (ultimate douche name grand prize winner), these cards still look great.
One disappointment I have with the set, in terms of background; is Boston's:
...and Abe Alverez is my segue into my other complaint: Checklist.
The autographs are bad, bad, bad. With the exception of these bad boys:
As (none/many/who cares) you may know, I am not a Ryan Howard fan. At all. And with the price of that card ($60 on COMC), it may deter me from completing the set eventually. However, I love me some Carlos Beltran in the Royals uni, so that one is a must have. Other than the previous two, not many of the signers have made it in the bigs. However, my main man Dustin McGowan is featured as a rookie auto. I scored that card off eBay for $1.75 last night. You'll see it soon. Other "names" in the auto set include Abe Alverez, Chris Shelton, Michael Hessman, Ryan Wagner, Joey Gathright (check this out), Jay Payton, Carlos Hines, Mike Gosling, Casey Daigle///and it just gets more obscure from there. Oh, and as his friend know him: "EL MAYO"
My affinity for this set mainly lies within the base and the "Private Signings" autographs. The inserts, as Donruss is famous for, are forgettable. Behold:
More horizontal? Really?
Oh. Spoke too soon...(there are random legends in this set, including a Gary Carter Private Signings.)
Ehh. More horizontal. Corked bats...blech.
But it gets worse. Possibly the worst designed jersey card set ever:
There's more, but some of the inserts are not even worth pining over. Some are "die-cut" (their edges are...rounded. That's it.) But none are necessary. They're also exceptionally rare, which is more of a good thing.
But, with all sets, there's usually something to dislike; and although the inserts are dreadful and the autographs are mediocre at best, we still have some stunning base cards:
Pretty good one to end on, eh?
Anyways. I want all of these, but I simply cannot find any reasonably priced boxes. If you have any, let me know. I'm interested.