Donruss cards no longer have logos because it is a Panini brand, and Topps has held the exclusive MLB license to logos and team names since 2009. Meaning, while Donruss is still able to produce cards featuring MLB players, they cannot use team names or logos. As a result, Donruss cards only feature the city name (as in “Baltimore”) and can’t print the team name (or “Orioles, in this example).
As you might have heard, Fanatics was able to acquire the MLB license in 2021, setting them up to begin producing cards in 2026, only to then acquire Topps in 2022, meaning the ability to produce licensed baseball cards would begin immediately. (It should also be noted that Fanatics secured trading cards manufacturing and distribution rights from not just the MLB, but the MLBPA, NBA, NBPA and NFLPA.)
Anyway, one of the bigger shocks for me when I got back into card collecting; realizing Donruss wasn’t really a major card brand anymore, and while their cards existed, they just didn’t look right. All of that said, Donruss actually produces some really nice cards, and no logo or not, still have appealing cards that people want to purchase.
For example, here we have a few of the nicer-looking Donruss inserts from over the last few years. As you can clearly see, they are in fact lacking logos, but still pop.
As you can see, the absence of logos is more apparent with certain cards than others, depending on the photo used and card design. But with the Trout card above, how much would a logo really change the look and feel of the card? Some argue it would change a ton, and that’s reflected in Donruss card values.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. No logos and lesser values mean Donruss cards can still be a great hobby entry point for many young and new collectors. I mean, you still get Ken Griffey Jr., Babe Ruth, Mike Trout, and all of yesterday’s, today’s, and tomorrow’s hot names even outside of Topps.
Not to mention that, it’s still Donruss after all, allowing the brand to dig into the archives and repurpose some of their cooler designs from year’s past; the best combos coming with the intersection of stars who didn’t play until after some of these cooler designs had already passed us by.
For example, here we have Griffey on a repurposed 1987 Donruss, Matt Olson on the 1984 Donruss canvas made famous by Don Mattingly, and an Aaron Judge relic on a 1988 backdrop (instantly making it the coolest card to ever grace that design).
Anyway, it’s not just Donruss—it’s all Panini baseball brands. But what the cards lack in logos and team names, they shine in their designs, creativity, and that ever-popular “rated rookie” designation.
Plus, let us not forget vintage times where classic cards of some of the best to ever play the game didn’t really have logos or team names on the card, let alone any real design whatsoever. Some did, but they definitely weren’t front and center on most cards.
Now, am I comparing 2022 Donruss to 1948 Leaf? No, but just saying.