August 9, 2009

Sunday Question: What company would you choose?

I light of the recent news, there are definitely many questions to be asked. But I'll stick to just one.

If you could have company create baseball cards next year, who would it be?

This could be any company from the tobacco companies way back in the day to Topps, which has the right next season from the MLB.

I'm going with Fleer for fun. For the most part, I've enjoyed Fleer when it was around. I never had too many complaints about the company.


  1. Topps is the obvious choice for me.

    UD just did not care about their baseball license since my return to collecting in 2007.

    2-3 good releases and tons of garbage.

    Now as far as retired brands, Pinnacle Brands. No one touched the greatness they produced in their final two years.

  2. I think I'd also go with Fleer. I liked them better than most of the other companies because they generally made interesting inserts and because they used to group players by team in the base set.

    Of the currently active companies, Topps would have been my pick. I haven't been a Donruss fan since 1990 and Upper Deck churns out way too much mediocre crap.

  3. Honestly I liked everything from like 98-2005-ish. However, if I had to pick just one I would probably go with Donruss. I loved Donruss despite the overuse of the serial numbered and insert cards. There was nothing like going to the hobby shop in 2005 and picking up a hobby box of Donruss, getting it home to open it and discovering it was a hot box.

  4. Tough choice. There's different things I like about all companies and things that I don't like so much. I'd go with Topps, though. Part of that is tradition. Call it loyalty. They were the only guys around in my neck of the woods when I started collecting (along with OPC) so it was Topps designs that got me hooked. Plus I seem to gravitate more towards the low- and mid-range brands where I can build the set.

  5. It's got to be Topps. I think almost anyone collecting before 1981 would say that.

    Picking a retired brand is an interesting thought. Cracker Jack was an awesome-looking set, so I'll say that.

  6. Gotta go with Topps. They've been around for almost 60 years and they get it right more often than not.

  7. Topps, specifically Heritage... Its the product that got me back into collecting and kept me here for the last 3 years.

  8. No one is saying Upper Deck (so far) which leads me to believe this move really wasn't so bad.

    UD is still gonna make cards. Hopefully they learn their lesson and improve on the quality.

  9. Topps. Between their Heritage line and Allen & Ginter, I don't care what the rest of their products are. Years like this where the base set is extra nice are simply a nice bonus in my book.

    Fleer would be my second choice, followed by Pacific (I liked them for some reason), Donruss, and finally Upper Deck.

  10. One of my favorite things was going down to the convenient store and picking up a pack of Topps for $0.25-.50. That has endeared me to the brand. 1986 and 1987 hold special places in my heart because they were the first sets I collected. Even after I stopped collecting and got rid of all my cards I had to go back to those sets and collect them all over again, something I am still doing slowly.

    I liked all brands...there was something about pulling out the Yankee cards from packs of all brands that appealed to me the most...I don't and can't discriminate with brands but my favorite would be my first, Topps.

  11. I'm an old school guy... so I have to go with Topps, because I grew up with Topps. Sure... Donruss and Fleer were around... but Topps created one of my favorite baseball sets (1983) of all time.

  12. As a low to low-mid market collector, I have to go with Topps. Good value for the money, great tradition, and a greater ability to just stick to what works when compared to everyone else.

    Autogamers and serial numbered cards and nice, but should never be the focus unless we're talking high end products.

    Starquest and the UDx's 6?!?! Exponential insert sets really highlight for me everything that went wrong with Upper Deck the past two years. Indecipherable insert sets, i.e. hopelessly complicated and/or failure to state odds are a total turnoff in my book. I have little or no interest in collecting the same card 5 times over just because it comes in different colors.

  13. Got to go with Fleer or Pinnacle for defunct companies. For one that is still in business, I'm thinking TriStar. Between their TNA wrestling and minor league baseball cards, I like a lot of what I've seen of them recently. Need to see more of Donruss as owned by Panini before I can think one way or the other on them, but even still, they are ahead of Topps and Upper Deck right now.

  14. I would have to go with Topps also.Pacific was a favorite from the past.I liked their inserts and parallels.

  15. I was going to say exactly what Baseball Dad said! Wow, that is too cool. I loved all the wacky die-cuts that Pacific churned out.

  16. I bought my first Topps wax pack at the concession stand of one of my little league games. Topps had me at hello.

    Fleer would be a distant second choice and Pacific would be dead last.

  17. I think that giving a company exclusivity (which is essentially a licensed monopoly that bypasses antitrust laws) over any product or industry of any significance is very bad news for consumers. It almost invariably leads to a decline in product quality and selection by removing the key motivation that drives innovation and excellence - competition.

    If I had to pick one company though, I would have to say Upper Deck. I do not think that Michael Eisner understands the sports card hobby, at least as it relates to teenage and adult collector. I am all for bringing focus back on kids, but I don't think Eisner understands collecting enough to do this. He understands kids and understands business, but based on the things I've read about him, he really don't understand collecting.

    Over the last year Upper Deck really won me over by taking a lot of time and effort to directly connect with collectors using their blog and facebook. Topps on the other hand has released an internet video series and produced 3D cards.

    Its infinitely easier to get in touch with someone at Upper Deck then it is to get in touch with someone at Topps. I would rather go with the company who is actively trying to connect with and understand me rather then the company who doesn't.

    I do hope that Topps succeeds, but I just don't see it happening.

  18. Mike

    Please explain how the exclusive Topps deal violates anti trust law?

    Gotta go with Topps. I liked mid 80's fleer. Tristar is improving but brother please, not even close to topps right now.

  19. I'd argue that competition has done its job in the industry, and the exclusivity deal is a direct result of that.

    Attempting to take brand loyalties and emotion out of the equation, the state of the hobby economy can only support a certain supply of product. The market, by all measures, has played Incredible Shrinking Person for 15 years.

    If "competition" were a cure-all for the ails of the current hobby, then it would stand to reason that the vast quantity of release would produce a certain outcome.

    It did. In true Darwinian fashion, Topps was naturally selected, by collector dollars and other influencing factors, as the current market winner for baseball cards. Guess what? Competition did its job, and eliminated some of the participants.

    This is the result of failing to compete by releasing crap products like UD Documentary, that is filled with repeated photos, spelling errors and typos (even on the wrapper for God's sake), and fails epically what it supposedly tried to do (i.e. player picture on the front has nothing to do with the outcome of the game it commemmorates).

    I couldn't care less if UD "does high-end" marginally better than Topps, when Topps undermines that successfully with much more vast better-executed across-the-board "low" and "mid-range" product. Once again, the "weenie horde" overwhelms the few heavy hitters.

    As to the thread topic, I choose the same winner as the current market: Topps. As for retired brands, it's hard to pick old vintage that hasn't been redone already. On an oddball focus, I'd like to see Hostess-type cards make a comeback, and mid-90s Donruss is vastly under appreciated--great design on cards, great photo quality and selection, and Serious Business on-card auto with great player selection.

    No weak-ass "Clay Timpner" sticker autos plastered on those to count as kitten-punch "mojo hit".

    Oh, and before you think I'm some irrational Topps fanboy, my current #1 collecting goal is putting together the self-same UD Documentary Seasonal Signatures subset. Even though there are demonic forces at work with that subset (lame player sticker autos, repeated photos), that subset design actually is very effective and damn handsome. Plus, factor in that the high-end autos (Jeter, Griffey) are harder to find than a Faberge egg, and it's got me hooked on the chase.