This product intrigued me.
2014 Leaf Legends of the Diamond contains 4 boxes per case with 2 cards in each box. Each box contains one 1/1 sketch card of a Hall of Fame baseball player and one pre-1970 graded card of a Hall of Fame baseball player (or a player who could be argued should be there).
With only 250 cases, I thought what the heck. It's fun to take a chance on a risky product now and then. Also, being a fan of vintage cards, it was a chance to get some unique cards in my collection.
My sketch cards were:
1. Martin Dihigo (inducted 1977) - sketched by Matthew Amor
According to Wikipedia, Dihigo's combined Dominican, American, Cuban, and Mexican statistics resulted in a lifetime .302 career batting average with 130 home runs (eleven seasons worth of home run totals are missing) and a 252-132 pitching record.
2. Jim Palmer (inducted 1990) - sketched by Daniel Gorman
Jim Palmer (268-152 with 2,212 Ks) has been considered one of the best pitchers in major-league history. Palmer is the only pitcher in big-league history to win World Series games in three decades.
3. Cool Papa Bell (inducted 1974) - sketched by Jay Pangan
Bell is considered by many baseball observers to have been one of the fastest men ever to play the game. He ranked 66th on a list of the greatest baseball players published by The Sporting News in 1999.
4. Miller Huggins (inducted 1964) - sketched by Brian Kong
Huggins played second base for the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. He managed the Cardinals and New York Yankees (1918–1929), including the Murderers' Row teams of the 1920's that won six American League (AL) pennants and three World Series championships.
My favourite sketch card is the Huggins. I have a few Brian Kong sketches which he did for 2013 Leaf Best of Hockey and I really like his black-and-white style.
As for the four pre-1970's cards, I didn't hit the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle but I did get some really impressive pieces to add to my personal collection.
1. Pete Rose - 1967 Topps #430 (PSA/DNA certified autograph)
This would be one of the cards mentioned in Leaf's advertising caveats... it could be argued that he should be in the Hall of Fame. Of course, despite his impressive MLB stats, Pete Rose will probably never be elected to Cooperstown regardless of his 4,256 hits. As a nice added surprise, this Pete Rose slabbed card has his certified autograph.
2. Jim Bottomley - 1933 Goudey RC #44 (SGC 55 Grade)
Inducted to Cooperstown in 1974, Bottomley set the major league record with 12 RBIs in a single game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1924 (since tied by Mark Whiten in 1993). In 1928, he hit .325 with 31 home runs and 136 RBIs, leading the league in home runs and RBIs. He also became the second MLB player in history to join the 20–20–20 club. That year, he won the League Award, given to the MVP of the National League.
3. Duke Snider - 1951 Bowman #32 (PSA 5 Grade)
In Snider's 18-year career he batted .295 with 407 home runs and 1,333 RBI in 2,143 games. Inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1980, Snider was also known as a popular and respected TV/radio analyst and play-by-play announcer for the San Diego Padres from 1969 to 1971 and for the Montreal Expos from 1973 to 1986.
4. Mel Ott - 1933 Goudey RC #207 (PSA 3 Grade)
In his 22-season career with the New York Giants, Ott batted .304 with 511 home runs, 1,860 RBIs, 1,859 runs, 2,876 hits, 488 doubles, 72 triples, 89 stolen bases, a .414 on-base percentage, and a .533 slugging average. He passed Rogers Hornsby to become the all-time NL home run leader in 1937 and held that title until Willie Mays passed him in 1966. Inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1951, Ott also has the distinction of being the first manager to be ejected from both games of a doubleheader, when the Giants lost both games to the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 9, 1946.
So those are my eight cards.
I was quite pleased to get two graded 1933 Goudey rookie cards. The Mel Ott RC shows a Beckett value of about $400 so it is definitely the 'hit' of the case. Being a Canadian and growing up watching the Expos, it was great to see the Duke Snider card from one of his first seasons too. The Pete Rose autograph was a great bonus as well.
2014 Leaf Legends of the Diamond is not for everyone and is probably 'hit or miss' depending on the box or case. However, I'm quite pleased with my results.