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I'll trade you two Esteban Yans for a Pot of Greed
2006-04-09 20:59
by Bob Timmermann

Don Steinberg of the Philadelphia Inquirer, reprinted here in the Lawrence Journal-World reports on the drop in sales of baseball cards, as kids are buying more and more Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

Another problem could be oversaturation of the market.

"Take a guess how many different Alex Rodriguez cards there were in 2004," said Colin Hagen, vice president of licensing at Major League Baseball. His unfathomable answer: There were 1,900 unique A-Rod cards in 2004.

2006-04-09 21:18:06
1.   Cliff Corcoran
See, and I thought Topps, Fleer and Donruss was overkill and adding Score and Upper Deck was just absurd. Five card sets? Insanity!

Little did I know.

2006-04-09 21:47:31
2.   das411
I went on Ebay about a week ago to look for a 2004 Miguel Cabrera card by Donruss, since I used to collect their brand and I have his 2003 Rated Rookie.

No such card exists.

There are about a dozen different mini-sets that you can find damn near every player in the bigs, but no plain, simple regular baseball cards.

And that is why I don't buy them anymore.

2006-04-09 21:54:42
3.   Bob Timmermann
But can you buy any good Yu-Gi-Oh cards?

And does anyone really know how Yu-Gi-Oh is played? My nephew hasn't done the best job of explaining it to me. Then again, he's 9.

2006-04-09 22:57:02
4.   Eric L
2 I really started collecting cards in '87 (I was 10). There was an Albertson's around the corner from my house that sold packs of Topps for something like 2 for .89. It was pretty easy to talk my parents into giving me a buck once or twice a week to buy cards.

Packs are way more expensive now. I know that the quality is better and inflation has happened, but I think that if kids were able to purchase an inferior card at a cheaper price, they would. Well, their parents would buy it for them...

If Topps made a budget set that sold for less than a dollar pack, I think you might see kids get into cards again.

2006-04-09 23:02:05
5.   Bob Timmermann
Dare I say how much my first pack of baseball cards cost?

Let's just say that a president in a wheelchair was involved.

2006-04-09 23:16:36
6.   das411
Hmm, so Bob started collecting cards sometime between 1961-3...

4 - I started collecting right around '92 or '93, the set that really got me hooked was what I still think is the prettiest card design ever, Donruss '94:

My mom bought a box of Series II for me and I could earn maybe a pack a week by doing chores around the house, that may well have been the best investment she ever made seeing as the packs were probably $1/ea or so and the box was $20-35 max. For almost half a year of chores out of a 9 year old, that's pretty damn good!

Agreed that packs are waaaaay more expensive now, and it's not just baseball. When I started playing Magic: the Gathering (yes, yes, I know, but I'm semi-anonymous here and will admit I actually played this [Bob, think Yu-Gi-Oh for the D & D crowd]), packs were $2.50 for 15 cards and $6.99 for 60; today it's just about $4 and $10 for cards that (in my snob opinion) are not nearly as high quality. The problem is that what was once a bunch of UPenn math nerds who had a cool hobby has now turned into a gigantic industry that only exists to earn $$. Just like most things these days.

Somehow I suspect we'll see $1 gallons of gasoline again before we see $1 packs of baseball cards.

2006-04-09 23:29:37
7.   Bob Timmermann
I believe in the early 1960s the price of baseball cards was connected with a Renaissance man style of president.
2006-04-10 01:40:44
8.   yankee23
But Bob, surely you're not speaking of Franklin Delano Romanowski, er, Roosevelt?
2006-04-10 03:37:51
9.   Shaun P
That is freakin' ridiculous (1900 different A-Rod cards). As a kid, I tried to collect every Willie Randolph card, as he was my favorite player. I've actually got almost all of them.

Could you imagine a kid who loves A-Rod trying to do the same thing now?

2006-04-10 03:46:18
10.   yankee23
That's pretty huge with Willie, I always tried to collect all the Mattinglys but never had the patience (or the dough).

A buddy of mine chose to go after Rickey and has to be close to having every one. Know if the SurfDawgs put any out?

2006-04-10 06:50:49
11.   DXMachina
7 Yup, a pack of Topps cost a nickel when I started collecting them in 1961. Good times. Of course, my mom threw them out when we moved across town, so all the good ones I had, not to mention umpteen Ray Sadecki cards, wound up in a dump somewhere. (There was one year where it seemed like every pack I bought had at least one Ray Sadecki in it.)

I tried collecting for a little while in the late eighties, but as other folks have noted, there were just got to be too many card sets, and I lost interest.

2006-04-10 07:14:45
12.   Bob Timmermann
I do know that in 1971, it was 10 cards and a piece of gum with jagged edges that could kill for a dime.
2006-04-10 10:09:42
13.   Cliff Corcoran
I agree with those above that say that the price of a pack is what is killing the hobby.

Myself, I still buy each year's Topps set. In the late '90s they scaled back the number of cards despite the two rounds of expansion, squeezing some of the weaker teams down to just a handfull of cards. They've since gone back up to a reasonable sized set, but it's still a safe bet that your average middle reliever has never had a Topps card.

Myself, I've always wanted to start a set of cards called Topps Yearbook that had a minimum of 25 player cards per team, and showed all players in the uniform of the team they finished the prior season with. I still get angry when I look at my '98 Topps Marlins and realize that most of the key players on from the '97 Champions are sorted in with other teams.

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