March 3, 2010

MLB: "The real winners today are the millions of fans who collect baseball cards."

I probably shouldn't speak for the majority of card collectors, so I will only speak for myself.

I didn't view the settlement between MLB and UD as a victory for me. I didn't feel as though I won anything.

I'm missing out.

Competition is usually a good thing in any marketplace. Competition sparks creativity, hard work and, sometimes, shady manuevers. We've seen plenty of that over the years in the card industry. (View details of the settlement here)

Even with that, I always felt having a variety of products to choose from was always a good thing. I was someone who bought mostly Upper Deck. This was never a slight at Topps, but I would much rather get the chance to pull a Derek Jeter-type of card from UD and found myself gravitating toward them in recent years.

Sets such as Masterpieces, Goudey and Sweet Spot helped their brand. I enjoyed these cards and loved ripping open packs. Upper Deck's pictures were always top notch and they consistently gave collectors a good flagship set.

In 2010, I have bought one product of a hobby box. Just one. I purchased two products of Ultimate. And, this is the first time I have ever bought a hobby box of a high-end product. I actually never even considered buying Topps Sterling or Triple Threads. When it comes to high end product, Upper Deck was clearly the better of the card companies.

I would like for MLB to explain how the million of fans who collect basecall cards won today. Do we get to see some of the money that was collected from Upper Deck in settlement? Does this mean that licenses will be cheaper so Topps could charge less on product?

I didn't really think so.

Despite certain practices Upper Deck employed over the years, I am definitely sad to see their current run of baseball cards come to an end.

I own three Derek Jeter autograph cards and can happily say they are from Upper Deck.

Make sure you get the last bit of Upper Deck you can.
2009 Star Signatures

2009 Ultimate Collection

2010 Upper Deck Series 1


  1. Coming from a Topps collector, amen.

    The arrogance of MLB to see a monopoly as something positive does two things.

    Initially it raises the ire of collectors for being TOLD they ARE happy without ever truly being asked.

    Secondly, it puts the pressure on the "officially licensed" manufacturer. The hobby is now theirs alone.

  2. Thank God it's settled. Now I won't have to worry about buying any Upper Deck cards for the rest of the year. What a great victory for me. I'm so relieved. Maybe we'll eventually get back to the good old days when there was just Topps and they produced one set a year. Think how much money I'll save. I'm I coming across as sarcastic? I'm trying to.

  3. ohh I get it, this is so we don't need to make a want list... you're saying if they only make one crappy Pujols that looks the same every year with different fonts that it will make me happier.... I get it.

    (capewood, I get it and I agree)

    Tunguska, I can't agree with you because if Topps were so great Upper Deck wouldn't have been so popular amongst collectors, not to mention the high end products from UD trump Topps every year. Unfortunately or fortunately Pujols is exclusive with Topps, but I do wonder what this means for Jeter auto's and game used cards for the future.

  4. We can't change the verdict and MLBP won't budge on this for a long time, I fear. However! UD will not stop making baseball cards. They are gonna get real creative - perhaps prospect/college or studio style sets. I can see Goudey being all art with no logos. Masterpieces too. I think the pressure will be on Topps. They are going to have to impress us, otherwise their sales of mid to high end are gonna tank. They can't afford to mail it in and get lazy.

  5. Covered - I think you misinterpreted the "amen". It was directed at the blog post, not the verdict.

    I think MLB properties has screwed up royally and unfortunately the one to take the bullet will be Topps.

  6. Tungsuka, indeed I did misinterpret that.

    I don't see how Topps wins in the situation only because everyone is going to be overly critical of everything they release from here on out. Without any competition they have no reason not to just mail it in on some products, especially since they have been mailing it in on some for years now.

  7. Competition led to 80 dollar boxes of cards that gave you a Matt Tolbert or JR Towles autograph worth 3 dollars with the other cards in the box worth.

    As long as Topps does not put out too many more sets then I think the collectors will benefit with a more affordable, value added cards in the marketplace. Maybe 2010 Topps sets will actually hold their value over the next few years.

  8. John, I see what you're saying but I have a closet full of complete Topps sets from the 1980's prior to UD existing and they are worth the price of a pack today.

    I don't know if this is going to be that drastic, but it would be nice if it was (not that I am selling anything I collect, or have collected over the years).

  9. Covered - Absolutely. I don't think anyone, be it Topps or Upper Deck, truly understands what it is collectors cherish. They know that most people collect "stars" and will continue to cater to the "big markets". BUT, what the difference now is, if Topps dropped the ball on a release (or two, or three, or four) it merely meant that collectors could turn to Upper Deck and still collect. NOW, the hobby itself "sinks or swims" with the effort Topps puts forward.

    I believe, as do you, that based on previous releases Topps is not up to the task of sustaining the hobby all on their own.

  10. Very well put. I find myself sad and angry. My full take on it if anyone cares.

  11. That's funny....I saw that Panini's Stock just shot through the roof today!

    Anybody wanna guess how many pictures of the same player shot will be recycled into different TOPPS products? Change the font and border and photoshop in a kissing bandit in the back ground and TOPPS saves lots of $$$$ cause no competition means no creativity which means not having to pay as many employees to be creative which means TOPPS can charge triple $$$$$ for your thoughtless photoshopped and under achieving cards and year 1864 bubble gum which mean you get more $ (box value according to TOPPS) for your hard earned $$$$(blue collar cash- also their point of view) and the CEO gets a 15 million bonus for his efforts. The secretary just gets a new typewriter and whiteout. Oh the redemption process does not improve....instead of waiting a year for your card... there will be a mandatory 2 yr waiting period at which point you'll just receive the Topeka, Kansas mauraders high school baseball coaches autographed card instead.

  12. Tim, you mean Google, Kansas?

  13. Covered-

    If your sets from the 80s are only worth to to you the cost of a 2010 pack of cards, I'll trade you anytime!