It was recently announced that Topps would be the "exclusive" trading card producer for Major League Baseball. This pretty effectively eliminates all competition from the baseball card industry. Good bye, Fleer. Good bye, Bowman. Good bye, Score. Probably good bye, Upper Deck. It was reported recently that Upper Deck has a deal with the MLB Players Association. They say they'll continue to produce cards in 2010. It'll be odd, but I can see some lame cards with players in front of a black background wearing non-descript t-shirts that vaguely happen to be the same color of their team. Topps head honcho Michael Eisner (yes, that Michael Eisner) says he is doing it to not confuse kids or some such crap. Let's call a spade a spade here. It's an exclusivity deal that eliminates competition and creates a monopoly on the market.
Before this mess was announced, I had been looking around a local flea market. I found big box that looked to be a complete set of cards from the late 80s/early 90s. I know it's a cliche, but remember when that would have been worth a sheik's ransom? I began collecting when I was 9 or 10. I received a large number of cards from someone who was a big collector. They were all the same year and brand. Because that is the majority of my collection and was my first card, it became my brand. The 1988 Score card. It wasn't flashy like Upper Decks or Topps cards, but they all had good in-game pictures and nice write-ups on the players on the back. Each pack also had a Magic Motion Trivia Card with some sort of fact that I would hurry up and forget. As with everything on planet Earth, there is a blog dedicated to completing a set of 1988 Score. A least a couple people are dedicated to the brand.
I spent a few summers looking for new cards and organizing them by team in my baseball card binder. Unlike the cliche, I still have the binder, so when the baseball card market finally rebounds, I'll be ready. Suckers.
Anyway, anytime there is news about baseball cards, it gets me a little nostalgic like most guys my age. But, like most things in life, we move on, we forget. The cards just seve as a bookmark in a long line of important "forgettable" life moments.
Baseball card images courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com