The end of an era arrived in the summer of 2005 as one of the hobby’s more familiar lines was about to call it a career.
2005 Donruss Studio offered a relatively large 300-card base set. Hobby boxes consist of 24 packs with each box offering three game used memorabilia cards and an autographed card serial numbered to 100 copies or less, eight Portraits inserts, one Proof parallel serial numbered to 100 or less and seven other serial numbered cards.
Hobby boxes had six cards per pack with an MSRP of $4 per pack with 12 boxes found per case. Retail boxes would contain two game used or autographed cards per box. In that era and even now, that’s a lot of bang for your buck.
Sadly for fans of the brand, after 13 years, 2005 would be the last season on the field for Studio as the Donruss/Playoff license was not renewed after the season.
The packaging features New York Yankee slugger Gary Sheffield. The box and pack artwork also features the same city skyline backdrop found on the cards. The packaging text promotes the fact you can find three autographs or memorabilia per box on average, one autograph card as well as Private Signings and other worthy draws.
Interestingly enough, there’s a Win a Day at the Ballpark with Willie Mays promotion found within the product. Watching a game from Willie Mays’ suite would have been the biggest hit of all.
The final season of Studios base card design held true with the quality of years past. The design features a portrait of the player but this year with hushed tones of the city backdrop for which the team plays in. The borderless cards fade to a white color at the top and bottom with the top offering the Donruss Studio 2005 logo and the team name while the bottom of the card simply has the player’s name. Again, in an era of overindulgence Studio proves less is more.
The card backs feature a specific bio blurb in the center with the same city image from the front has the backdrop. The player’s name and basic info is found at the top of the card with the card number and at the bottom of the back you’ll find the players previous season and career total stats.
The only real rookie of note would be future Hall of Famer and then Detroit Tigers first year pitcher Justin Verlander. There are a 18 other true rookie cards but you would be hard-pressed to pick any of the players out of a lineup.
There are three parallels including Silver Proof numbered to 100 copies, Gold Proof serial numbered to 25 copies and Platinum Proofs numbered to just 10 copies. These cards feature the Studio Proof foil logo in the bottom right hand corner of the card with the corresponding proof color.
Inserts and Autographs
Like the previous year’s offering, there are a staggering number of insert sets with, technically, over 110 different inserts sets in total.
First up, the autograph set, which consists of 40 cards with sticker autos. Aside from a Yadier Molina short print, there really isn’t much to speak of in the set.
The 25-card Diamond Cuts set is serial numbered to 1250 copies. The front features an action shot of the player with a baseball diamond in a little late shade of blue being the backdrop. The Studio logo and players name and position are listed towards the top of the card with the Diamond Cuts logo and team logos at the bottom.
Here’s where the plethora of insert parallels begins as Diamond Cuts has a game used bat set, a Combo set which features memorabilia featuring bats and jerseys, Combo Prime that features multi colored jersey swatches and nice bat pieces, a die cut version serial numbered to 250 copies, die cut gold serial numbered to 75 copies, a Jersey version which features a piece of a game worn jersey, Relic Jersey Prime which features a multi-colored swatch of a game used jersey, Signature Combo which features a sticker signature and two pieces of memorabilia, Signature Combo Prime which features the prior mentioned items with higher quality mem. So, the Diamond Cuts insert set alone has eight other parallel insert sets.
Heroes of the Hall is next up. These cards just scream Americana as it has an action shot of the Hall of Famer with the American Flag against a backdrop, the Donruss Studio 2005 logo in the upper right hand corner, the words Inducted and the year the player was inducted smack dab in the middle of the card, the Heroes of the Hall logo, the player’s name, position and team logo are all feature in the lower left-hand corner of the card.
The 15-card set is serial numbered to 350 copies each. You will find icons such as Willie Mays, Nolan Ryan and various other HOFers.
The Heroes of the Hall set also has a large number of parallel insert sets including a bat version, the Combo version featuring memorabilia and a Bat Combo, Prime featuring a premium swatch and bat, a die cut version with 275 copies, a die cut Gold version numbered to 25 copies, a Jersey version, Jersey Prime version, Signature Combo version and Signature Combo Prime version, all very similar if not identical to the Diamond Cuts breakdown listed above.
Master Strokes is back again. Another horizontally designed insert set, it features the Master Strokes logo in the upper left hand corner, with a bit of an upgrade it features a swooping ‘S’, the upper right hand corner features a nice cursive version of the player’s name with the team name listed below. The left hand side of the card features a full color action shot of the player and a huge chunk of the right hand side of the card features the team logo in a rich team centric colors. The 25 card set is numbered to 750 copies for each card.
You will find some of the bigger stars of the time including Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Sammy Sosa, Chipper Jones and more. Again, the Masters Strokes inserts are in the same format as the cards listed above with a bat version, combo version, combo prime version, die cut version number to 150 copies, a die cut Gold version numbered to 50 copies, a Jersey, Jersey Prime Signature Combo and Signature Combo Prime version. The Master Strokes Signature Combo Prime, although a little busy, are a really cool insert set which features a signed sticker, multicolored patch jersey and a nicely laid out card. See the Frank Thomas card for a fine example.
Studio Portraits are a beautiful, minimalist style card that features Studio’s signature portrait image of the player but this time in a very time period specific way. The throwback images are a perfect example of less is more as the pictures just capture your attention and engulfs your imagination.
The cards do feature a thin border with the word Studio Portraits written in cursive in the lower left hand corner, the player’s name and team are listed in the center and the player’s position is listed in the lower right hand corner- all in very small, nondescript ways as not to take away much from the card.
This selection of inserts may be the most beautiful line Studio has produced and that’s really saying something. Let me take a deep breath before I list the number of parallels for the Portraits insert set. You will find Portraits Certified Materials Blue, Certified Materials Blue B/W, Certified Materials Red, Certified Materials Red B/W, Certified Materials Sepia, Certified Material Sepia B/W, Certified Materials White and Certified Materials White B/W.
Moving on to the next parallel we find Diamond Kings Blue, Diamond Kings Blue B/W, Diamond Kings Red, Diamond Kings Red B/W, Diamond Kings Sepia, Diamond King Sepia B/W, Diamond Kings White, diamond King’s white black and white Estrella’s Blue, Estrella’s Blue B/W, Estrella’s Red, Estrella’s Red B/W, Sepia Estrella’s, Sepia B/W, Estrellas White and Estrella’s B/W. You will also find the same breakdown for the famous Leather and Lumber, Studio, Throwback Threads and Zenith insert sets.
All of the lines listed above basically have card backs that feature an advertisement for that particular card line. For instance, Portraits Leather and Lumber features an advertisement for Donruss Leather and Lumber on the back of the card. This is a magnificent insert set that you really can’t get enough of but Studio does test that theory this time around.
Private Signings is an autograph insert that features a few A- list players, a lot of B-list players some C-list players. You will find Private Signings in gold, platinum and silver versions.
Studio brings back Spirit of the Game as an insert set again this year. The cards have a big Spirit of the Game script at the top of the card with the Donruss Studio logo and the team logo in the upper left hand corner. There’s a small full color action shot of the player featured in the lower left hand corner. The backdrop of the card is the well known leather and laces of a baseball and the player’s name and position scroll down the far right hand side of the card. Each card in the set is numbered to 600 copies.
You might be sense a theme as there are parallel inserts to the insert set with game used bats, a combo featuring two pieces of memorabilia a combo prime with premium memorabilia, a die cut version serial numbered to 125 copies, a die cut gold version serial numbered to just 25 copies, a Game Jersey, Game Jersey Prime, Game Signature Combo and Game Signature Combo Prime versions. There will be a test later on this subject matter.
Studio brings back the Stars inserts set once again. Although it doesn’t look quite like a credit card, it doesn’t steer too far away from that theme.
The 50-card set features some of the biggest stars in the game. Again, a little bit of an odd design and styling for such a classy set. You can find gold and platinum parallels with the gold numbered to 500 and the platinum offering 250 issued copies.
Last but not least for the insert sets is Studio Heritage. It’s a horizontally designed card that has a leathery background with two thick lines across the top that feature the Studio logo, the Studio Heritage logo and the player’s name and position underneath.
The base Heritage offering is numbered to 1,000 copies but you will find a breakdown in line with the others listed above featuring Heritage Bat Combo, Combo Prime, Die Cut, Die Cut Gold, Jerseys, Prime Signature Combo and Signature Combo Prime variations. These cards are standouts with the memorabilia and autographs attached.
If you want to get a look at a wide variety of cards inside 2005 Donruss Studio, you can see tons of them on eBay here.
Studio Baseball had quite a run. It set itself apart with the photo shoot quality imagery, interesting backs and some fresh concepts. Produced in the junk era, there’s no real monetary value for the vast majority of the cards but aesthetically they are is good as it gets and that counts for something.
About Tony Reid
From the time he was a little kid, Tony has been a huge sports fan. If he could play sports, watch sports and talk about sports it was a great day. From as early as he was drawn to sports, Tony was drawn to collecting sports cards. Not much has changed over the years. He collects RCs of star players in baseball, basketball and football. He also has a soft spot for first autographs of MMA stars. If you want to talk to Tony about the greatness of Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson or Ken Griffey, Jr. you can reach him at [email protected] and @OffCenterTR on social media.