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 (Toll Free)

Officials, Collectors Weigh in on the Topps/MLB Exclusive

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Observers on all sides of Wednesday night’s bombshell revelation that Topps will become the exclusive trading card manufacturer for Major League Baseball next season have had a full day to digest the news.

As expected, corporate reaction to the announcement – the most startling hobby development since it was revealed in 2005 that Donruss would not have its license renewed – depends on who you talk to.

In an email to Topps’ HTA accounts on Thursday, Topps General Manager Warren Friss called the exclusive “one of the many important steps we are taking that will reinvigorate the trading card business and take Topps to levels of success that we haven’t seen before. There are exciting times ahead.”

Understandably, the reaction from Upper Deck wasn’t as optimistic.

“We’re still trying to figure out what all this means,” Upper Deck’s Jason Masherah told the San Diego Union Tribune in a story that appeared on the paper’s website today. “We’ve never been in this position. But the situation allows us to re-evaluate things and come up with new and innovative concepts.”

To be sure, the benefit of time hasn’t done much in the way of generating diverse reactions from those offering their opinions to the news on Beckett.com. It’s obvious thus far that most collectors haven’t necessarily embraced the notion of a one-manufacturer baseball marketplace.

A sampling of the responses so far:

“I think that this is a bad move for the hobby, right along with the super-rare, high-end brands. I love Topps and wouldn’t collect baseball if there wasn’t a Topps set every year. Competition is good for the hobby. It adds new ideas and products.”
– Beckett.com member lkingsley2

“I don’t like this one bit. First, Donruss, now, Upper Deck. Does MLB know what the collectors like or want? The answer is ‘no.’ We used to have choices. Different companies producing different products allowed the collector to pick and choose. Now we are stuck with only Topps. I will still put together a Topps baseball set every year. After that, I guess my funds will be spent on finishing my pre-1976 sets.”
– Beckett.com member BigT314

 “To be honest, I’m excited to see what changes this brings to the hobby. As a single-player collector, I’m purchasing cards from all brands, but mostly on the secondary market. A smaller variety of sets would entice me to buy a few more packs here and there in hopes of hitting my player’s card.

“I also think targeting the younger audience is a great thing. Card prices have been too high for too long. Even for me, a working professional adult, the cost of baseball cards is high and often too much to budget for. I hope that by possibly lowering prices for kids, the trading and collecting aspects of the hobby return.”
– Beckett.com member shedwa

“This is one of the dumbest things I’ve read. I hope it’s just a bad joke.”
– Beckett.com member NYYChamps

“I only collect football and I would hate an exclusive brand. I miss all the companies that are out of business as it is.”
– Beckett.com member wavytiger1975

“I’m a Topps guy. But this move is still a big thumbs down!”
– Beckett.com member CptNemo66

“I agree, [this is] a very bad road to go down. I do not favor one card company over another and I like to see the different styles of cards produced each year by the various companies. I hope some at the corporate levels are reading these comments and doing something to change the downfall of the trade.”
– Beckett.com member ripkenfan72

“I’m a Topps-only guy in baseball, but a monopoly is bad for everyone involved.”
– Beckett.com member Prime B

“[This is] terrible news for collectors and hobby shops.”
– Beckett.com member mackscardshack

And then there’s this entertaining take from Stalegum.com’s Chris Harris.

Stay tuned to Beckett.com for updates to this developing story.

— Tracy Hackler

9 Comments

John Bateman

MLB is a monopoly and that is not a bad thing -BATEMAN72

Posted August 8, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
Anonymous

I think it is great to have one brand, I collected when I was a kid and just got back into collecting. I was confused and blown away by the multiple sets, sub sets and packs that were available. It all seemed too difficult. This move will make rookie cards more valuable because there is only one manufacturer, making it. I love this move!

Posted August 13, 2009 at 11:23 am | Permalink
dwd14

Who are any of these guys kidding? The “spin” about kids is crap – they know you need two jobs to afford to collect cards these days. Gotta make sure all the execs, players, and Scott Boras-types get a huge chunk before the lowly collector can plunk down enough for a box of cards. I like Topps, but this does NO ONE but Topps any good whatsoever!

Posted August 13, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Permalink
TOM

I already sense a bit of snobbery in the “new” Topps customer service. This monopoly will surely add to that they are already telling me “what can you do about it …. we already have your money!!”

Posted August 13, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

If they feel the market is over-saturated, MLB should limit the number of products each brand can have instead of limiting the number of brands with licenses. Topps and Upper Deck created MORE sets (and thus more confusion) than when Donruss and Fleer were in the game. $120 Topps Sterling packs? How is this good for the hobby?

Posted August 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Permalink
roverton

My heart bleeds for Upper Deck. They had no problem with their on-going exclusivity (read monopoly) in hockey–eliminating In the Game, Topps, Donruss. Now the shoe is on the other foot & I’m sure UD will whine endlessly,waving the flag of American free enterprise. They have the absolutely worst customer service (Topps has the best.) They are so high end that they DO lock out kids, except for a couple of worthless low-end products.It’s all or nothing with UD & their high-end stuff–fitting that they’ve moved to Las Vegas. No sympathy, unless all sports are opened up & product lines are limited.

Posted August 13, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

Whats good for MLBPA is only good for MLBPA. Somewhere money was exchanged and now everyone is out in the cold except Topps.
It was bad enough when they refused Donruss/Leaf a licence, now Upper Deck.When they players start asking for more of a cut for autographs, etc., Topps will be the only one footing the bill.
When the cash flow dies, and the players don’t get what they want, maybe MLBPA will finally pull thier head out of wher the sun don’t shine.

Posted August 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

I STARTED COLLECTING CARDS IN 1964 WITH BASICALLY ONE CARD COMPANY, TOPPS. I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE HOBBY. IF KIDS BACK THEN LOVED COLLECTING BASEBALL CARDS WITH ONE COMPANY, MAYBE THE KIDS OF TODAY CAN ALSO LOVE CARD COLLECTING WITH JUST ONE CARD COMPANY. BUT, TOPPS MOST DO IT RIGHT FOR IT TO SUCCEED. THEY MUST FIND THE STRATEGY THAT WORKED BACK IN THE SIXTIES, AND APPLY IT TO TODAYS WORLD. IT WONT BE EASY FOR TOPPS, THE WORLD IS MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THEN IT WAS BACK THEN, BUT IF TOPPS CAN FIND THE WAY TO MAKE IT WORK, THE KIDS MAY JUST COME BACK. TOPPS MADE IT WORK ONCE, CAN THE MAKE IT WORK AGAIN?

Posted August 14, 2009 at 5:57 am | Permalink
Robert Braxton

Great comment, ED MEYER.

I’m right there with ya.

I hope Topps’ marketing strategy for 2010 is innovative and brilliant enough to get their cards into the hands of today’s kids (who have choices like:
1. video games
2. computers
3. 100 extra TV channels
4. 200 extra movie releases a year.
5. books? <–j/k…haha!

As for you elite collectors out there who think this is bad….watch as your cards go up, up, up in value.

Posted September 14, 2009 at 6:08 am | Permalink

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