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What the Baseball Card Industry Needs

Updated on January 4, 2012

Some of the Best - From s Simpler Time

How to Change the Sports Card Industry

American traditions like collecting sports cards and comic books have taken decidedly huge hits over the past decade or two. With video games controlling a great deal of the money kids might spend, it’s important to note what the issues are and what can be done to make the industry better.

Pricing: The industry shoots itself in the foot every time it creates another high-end brand that most people, especially kids, can’t afford. These high end packs are also a huge gambling game, very high risk/high reward type stuff. Most packs of today’s cards are just too expensive with basic packs in the $2 range and most packs in the $4 to $6 range. We need to get back to basics for the majority of the product released to the public.

Shelf-life issues: Most new video games start in the $40 to $60 range. A basic box of Topps starts in the $60-$70 range. A video game you can keep playing over and over – it has a long shelf life. Packs of cards are opened and the cards are sorted, protected, priced or put away for safekeeping and that’s about it. The longer shelf life of a baseball card comes from wanting to trade with others who also want to trade. It just doesn’t happen all that much anymore. Sports cards just don’t DO anything. The CD cards from the early 2000’s were way ahead of their time and didn’t last long, but I bet those would play better now. We, as an industry, need to promote collecting and trading as a fun part of the hobby again.

More Pizzazz: Sorry Topps, you put out a solid offering every year but it’s getting pretty boring. How many years will you use the same white borders and same tired old insert sets? Cards need to simply look better than they do right now. There is lots of boring or derivative stuff out there too. We don’t need more than maybe two painted card sets.

Better Inserts and Parallels: Inserts and parallels are here to stay and that’s fine but please present something interesting or as you did in Lineage, nostalgic. We don’t need more reprints, or History of Topps, or When they were Young cards. Can you get the guys from Pacific to teach you how to do inserts right please?? Pretty please, with a Net-Fusion on top, or an Ornament or anything die-cut and prismatically foiled to death would be an interesting change. How about reissuing the 1968 game cards, anything to make it interesting? Whatever happened to acetate cards??

Better Game-Used material: We don’t need the usual garbage jersey cards anymore, they aren’t all that interesting. Patches, stripes, whatever you need to do to make sure the material is interesting. And can we get some historical significance please. Give us a backstory to the piece of jersey on the card. Find out when it was used and make sure it’s by the person on the front of the card. Make us care about the card in our hands because most of us have seen far too many jersey cards to count. And fix the text on the back already. Don’t make it generic, make sure I know who’s jersey I’m buying – it’s not a legal issue, it’s a make-sure-I-care-about-your-product issue.

Get Rid of Multi-team linked cards: What I mean to say is that any card featuring players from different teams simply do not need to be printed. Nobody likes them, not even a little. Is it cool to have a card showing David Wright and Mike Schmidt linked together as 3rd basemen? I guess it’s OK but if you replaced Mike Schmidt with almost any Mets third baseman (there are over 80 to choose from by the way) it would be a much more interesting card for Mets fans. Or replace David Wright with Placido Polanco and you have a great Phillies card – just don’t mix and match, we don’t like that. And PLEASE stop bungling cards of players who switch teams. We don’t need an old player photo with the new team’s logo and name on the card. Again, nobody likes that type of card. Either get a new picture or don’t change the logo and team name.

Short Prints: Please limit the short-prints in any set. I understand that’s part of the chase but it gets confusing. In Allen & Ginter or Heritage, short prints are part of the base set. In basic Topps, all the short prints aren’t part of the basic set. Let’s find some way to standardize this.

RC Logo: Worthless and confusing. They didn’t get this right to begin with and it isn’t helping 5 years later.

Bowman: Let’s make a decision here. As Bowman and Bowman Chrome continue to put out a player’s first card, they will always be the rookie brand and the cards should just be considered so. The argument stems from the fact that the draft pick cards are supposed to be “inserts” so they can’t technically be rookie cards. Guess what? Nobody cares anymore. I hate to say it but we all consider these draft pick cards as rookie cards, the set is so huge that it isn’t your normal insert set to begin with.

Innovation: There simply hasn’t been any innovation in years. There needs to be something new and interesting to bring people back into the hobby. There are plenty of baseball fans out there so there really is no excuse.

Better Ways to Intereact: There are several online ways for traders, buyers and sellers to interact but I'd like to find something better. Beckett marketplace, Sportlots, and any number of other places exist - even Craigslist, but a better online presence from Topps and Panini would help here as well.


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    • dblyn profile image

      dblyn 5 years ago from Staten Island, NY


      I have to say that it sounds like you had a great childhood and a love of baseball. I cringe every time I hear about cards being thrown away but it happened to everyone in the late 60's and early 70's. Take those uncut sheets, frame them and keep your love of baseball alive!!!

    • profile image

      TonyA4 6 years ago

      For Better or Worse I had the Ultimate. I grew up in a Baseball Family.y Dad made MLB Bats fro 30 years with Rawlings. My Uncles are Joe & Frank Torre.

      One of my uncles Best Friends and great family friend was Sy Berger, for those who don't know that name he was the person most responsible for putting Topps n the Mat.

      When I was little every year from early 1960's I was given entire sets, the bad part if your old enough to remember was they worked great on Bike spokes, Trading & pitching cards, needless to say the sets I put away my Pop got rid of when I went away from school.

      My Pop does have 4 or 5 years Uncut sheets from early 1970's and few cards here & there. Moral of the Story Easy Come Easy Go.

    • catfish33 profile image

      Jeffrey Yelton 6 years ago from Maryland

      Short prints killed the hobby for me. I didn't want to spend upwards of $500 on one product just to complete a set.