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Yes, they still make baseball cards

Aug 8, 2009, 5:19 PM EDT

An interesting story flew under the radar this week, as the once-mighty
Topps came to a multi-year agreement with Major League Baseball that
makes them the sport’s exclusive trading card maker. The move
effectively squashes Upper Deck, Topps’ main competitor. According to the
card company’s new top-dog Michael Eisner — yes, that Disney guy –
it’s all part of a strategy to turn the focus of the industry back
towards children:




“This is redirecting the entire category toward kids. Topps has been making cards for 60
years, the last 30 in a nonexclusive world that has caused confusion to
the kid who walks into a Wal-Mart or a hobby store. It’s also been difficult to promote cards as unique and original.”




No
question about it, baseball cards were a heckuva lot more fun before a
bunch of middle-aged creeps hijacked it. It’s kind of sad, really. The whole industry has been
reduced to a mere snapshot in time. I’m not gonna lie, I have purchased
a couple packs of Topps recently after a long hiatus. I grabbed one
last week upon seeing Pablo Sandoval — one of my new favorite players
— peaking his head out of the packaging. Yes, they still have the gum
inside. And yes, it’s still awful, but at least it’s now individually
wrapped as opposed to leaving a distinct stain on the back of the card
it is wedged up against.




And as for the question of competition, it’s hard to get all worked
up about a product that nobody even buys anymore. If it’s okay for
Nascar to have an official cheese-filled snack (Combos — don’t ask me why I know this) then it’s okay
for baseball to have an official trading card company. I’m rooting for
this comeback story.

  1. Will - Aug 8, 2009 at 6:46 PM

    It’s hard to follow Eisner’s logic here. Kids are confused by there being….two baseball card brands? When I was a kid, we had, > FIVE brands (Donruss, Fleer, Score, Topps, and Upper Deck), and I don’t recall my poor fragile 10-year-old mind being confused at all. Perhaps if Einser and Topps planned to only release one set (say, the stalwart regular Topps set), that would be less confusing. But my guess is that one set wouldn’t pay for that fancy exclusive license.
    Thanks for your rationalization, Mr. Einser. According to you, it would be best if Coke would be the only cola (Coke AND Pepsi?!? Who can keep track?), American the only airline, and UPS the only package carrier, just so our collective mind isn’t boggled by all those nasty choices we currently have to make. But I’ll stick by to my economics: competition among businesses improve the quality and reduce the cost of their products.

  2. Don - Aug 9, 2009 at 9:02 AM

    I think the real issue here is the price of a pack of card today. When I was collecting in the early 80’s they were a quarter a pack. I would spend all my money on cards..Fleer, Donruss and Topps. I would buy them a pack at a time until I had the whole set. If I only needed a few cards, you couldtrade with a friend for the ones you neededthat he had.
    Heck today I could not afford a baseball card hobby. If they wonder why kids are not buying cards, what kid has the type of money it would take to collect a whole set, one pack at a time?
    If the prices were reasonable, heck I might even get back in. But the prices I see at Walmart for a pack of Baseballl cards is crazy.
    Good luck Topps..

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