The Major Leagues decide to play hardball with a baseball card company

Maybe this story is more interesting to me because I collected sports cards as a kid, before moving on to autographs (I still have a nice collection of my basketball cards left). And because the Upper Deck card company is in Carlsbad, just 15 minutes north of my home in San Diego.

They had been considered the world's number two maker of baseball cards, but Major League Baseball said the other day, they are ending its licensing agreement with them. The league signed an exclusive deal with Topps (the number one maker of cards)

I don't think Upper Deck is going to throw in the towel, though. Some sources have said they legally can have photos of the players. They would just have to airbrush out any of the major league uniforms or caps (apparently the baseball players' union signed a licensing deal with Upper Deck that would allow this).

Upper Deck started in the late 80s, and there were about five other baseball card companies at that time. But baseball has eliminated many of the licensing agreements over the years.

The strange thing I've found about all these baseball card stories I read, is the weird speculation. A league spokesman said that the Topps agreement would breathe new life into the market for baseball cards, which has been down since the mid-1990s. People have speculated that that hs to do with cards that double as games, 3D cards, and other small discs that can be put into your computer, and look like a card.

I think it's the reason Hall of Famer Dave Winfield told me. He sees kids inside the house playing video games like baseball, instead of being outside playing the real sport. I think things like that all work against collecting cards. Remember, it wasn't just the stale piece of gum, that tasted about as good as one of the cards probably would've tasted. But, we'd put the bad players in our bicycle spokes, to make those cool sounds. We'd trade, like Eric Stoltz did in "Mask". You could trade 20 "common players" for one Steve Garvey. And of course, you can get players to autograph the cards (but the hardcore card collectors like to tell you, that decreases the value of the card, as the pen is "ruining" the surface, and it's no longer in "mint condition"; I don't listen, I get the cards signed).

It's those same hard-core card collectors, that got Topps to stop putting the bubble gum in their packs (they won a lawsuit against other card companies that put gum in their packages). Often times, the gum would stick to the first card in the pack. That would "damage" that card. When collectors started complaining, they dropped the gum.

Collectors agreed with the movie. As do 4 out of 5 dentists surveyed.

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Tags: Upper Deck, baseball, baseball cards


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