Baseball Cards: My Views on a Great Hobby
Cool Stuff Back in the Day
My "Survey" Answers
I just put this together with my personal answers about various topics in the Baseball Card collecting Hobby. Feel free to comment, agree or disagree!!
1. What do you collect?
I personally only collect New York Mets stuff related to Keith Hernandez and the 1986 World Championship team. As a dealer I pick up anything and everything I think I can turn around.
2. Do you prefer Autograph cards to be on-card or via sticker?
While I understand that from a collector view, an on-card autograph seems better, in reality, it doesn’t matter. Sticker autographs work just as well and help to keep redemptions down. There certainly is no price difference between the two.
3. How do you feel about game-used cards?
While this was a cool innovation, the card companies have really beaten this to death. Specialty game used cards are still interesting but the regular stuff is too readily available and has lost much of it’s “ccol” factor.
4. What would you like to see on future game-used cards?
I would like to see historical dating of more unique game-used material along with better text identifying the game-used material linking it to the player on the card When game-used cards first appeared the text on the back of the card was much clearer than it is today and many buyers shy away from any game-used card with “shifty” text on the back ("shifty" was a term used by several older collectors - not me).
5. Inserts are part of the hobby. What would you like to see from them in the future?
I’d like to see more creativity, rarity and nostalgia from future insert sets. No more reprints please. The Pacific inserts of the 90's were truly cutting edge stuff that wasn't appreciated at the time - like the Foul-Pole Net Fusion I have shown above. Topps doesn't do anything like this in today's sets.
6. Parallels are also part of the hobby. What would you like to see from them in the future?
I’d like to see more creativity, rarity from future parallel sets. I love the green foil parallels from this year’s Topps. I do wish that we would see difficult parallels again.
7. Baseball only has one complete licensee In Topps. How many do you think there should be?
I would like to see 2 or 3 licensees with a limit on how many brands they can create per year. With only one real brand, I feel the innovation and creativity is mostly gone from the hobby. Some competition was always good for the consumers, now were simply stuck with what's offered by Topps. Don't get me wrong, they make some great stuff, but I'd like to see how another company handle baseball cards now.
8. The definition of Rookie Card has subtly changed over the years. Do you consider the Bowman “inserts” as Rookie Cards?
Yes, and from what I’ve seen at shows, so does everyone else.
9. The grading companies generally use 30 years as the break off for the definition of Vintage Cards. What is your definition?
I personally use 1973 as the cut-off as this was the last year cards were issued in series. Knowing the hobby the way it is, cards from the 80’s should not be considered “Vintage” by anyone. They may be old - sort of, but they are plentiful compared to the earlier eras.
10. Which innovations in card technology do you like or miss the most?
I miss all of the innovations from Pacific such as , die-cutting, prismatic foil, and netting as well as the use of foilboard and acetate cards (Topps Tek anyone?). Cards today are very bland by comparison.
11. What do you think is the biggest crisis to hit baseball card collecting?
The biggest problem is that there are almost no kids coming into this hobby. We need new collectors and the companies aren’t doing enough to grab them and hold onto them.
12. Do you think the RC logo is still useful for the hobby?
No and I never thought it was useful. It’s just as confusing as not having any logo. The fact that Bowman still exists makes the Logo practically worthless. Take a look in the price guide. Cards with the RC logo that are not rookie cards appear with parentheses like this (RC), Real rookie cards don't, they look like this RC. How in the world does that help a new collector trying to get into the hobby??
13. Which older brands would you like to get resurrected?
I would love to see Skybox Molten Metal and Topps Tek again.
14. Do you still buy cards of players involved in the Steroid Era like Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro?
Perhaps I see these players differently than others do. Whether a player took steroids or not doesn’t matter. They are called “Performance-enhancing” drugs but a great majority of the players who took them did not really gain any advantages from them. The players that did, were the great players who could always perform anyway. I still buy them and I have found that there is still a market for them. Players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were great and will always sell.
15. Are you a fan of manufactured material (patches & bat barrels) cards?
I like the manufactured relic cards – at least they are different from the usual pieces of bland jersey we find on so many regular jersey cards. Collectors, however, do not hld them in the same regard as real relic cards, no matter how overproduced they are.
16. Do you like multi-autographed or multi-game-used cards?
I generally do not like these cards. The only exception is when the players are attached by team. I’m a Mets fan so if you put 2 Mets together on a card, say David Wright and Howard Johnson, that would be extraordinarily cool to me. However, when you put David Wright on a card with Mike Schmidt, people from both fan-bases dislike the card and generally shy away from buying it. Sure Mike Schmidt is a great player but if he were paired with any other Phillies third baseman, that card would sell great to Phillies fans. Mixing and matching players from different teams is a huge mistake that the card companies make all the time.
18. Where do you buy most of your cards from?
Anywhere and everywhere. I do not have a preference. I’ll buy blaster boxes at Target, hobby boxes at my local store, use the internet for things I can’t find and I interact with collectors and dealers at 3-4 shows a month.
19. What do you think of getting cards graded?
I never get cards graded because I fundamentally don’t believe in getting modern cards graded. For vintage cards, grading is great and understandable but there isn’t anything from the Modern era that shouldn’t come back as Mint.
20. Any ideas on how to get kids back into collecting cards?
Make the cards more interactive online. Make different versions that you can only get online using codes from the regular cards. The UD Evolution idea was ahead of it's time but makes a lot more sense now. At shows, present "Flipping" competitions with 80's commons since this is what made the hobby fun to begin with. If all else fails, partner with the makers of Call of Duty to turn baseball players into teammates with a specail redemption card.
Actually as foolish as that sounds (and I was joking) that sounds like a neat idea. Imagine getting a special redemption code in a Topps Pack that allows you to go onto your XBox 360, put your code in and add Albert Pujols to your team in Call of Duty as a sniper dressed in army fatigues. They could get Albert to voice over a few of the usual Call of Duty lines the players hear all throughout the round. That might actually be pretty cool if you're a gamer and a baseball fan.
Oh well, that's it. My thoughts on the hobby. I still love it after 35 years even though it's changed a great deal. I hope you enjoyed reading and post your thoughts too.