Your Turn (Beckett Baseball No. 78): What do you miss in the hobby?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s been quite a year in baseball with plenty of surprises, emerging stars, new arrivals and more. On cardboard, it seems to be just as frenetic but we feel like there might be something missing.

We want to know … What do you miss in the hobby?

Maybe it’s the bubble gum, or maybe it’s the idea of something for nothing? Maybe it’s the challenge of building a set in packs or maybe it’s something else? Simply put, we want to hear what you feel is lacking in the hobby and want to see it return.

Tell us in the comments below. Please include your name and location with your comment. We’ll run a selection of the best answers in the next issue of Beckett Baseball.

Your turn: Of these options, what would you want more of in the hobby?

View Results

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Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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  1. Mitchell 26 June, 2012 at 17:12

    Perhaps there could be another company or two, but I think Topps has done a really good job with their exclusive license.

  2. Rick Klein 26 June, 2012 at 17:17

    I miss being excited about base cards – since they were the only cards. You couldn’t chase what wasn’t out there, so just getting a Nolan Ryan or a Don Mattingly was excitement enough.

  3. Brian 26 June, 2012 at 17:23

    I miss the people who are in the hobby just to have fun and not in it to make money, the true collectors seem few and far between these days…

  4. Matt D. 26 June, 2012 at 17:25

    I would love to see a return of 36 packs (17 cards to a pack) wax boxes and rack packs with at least 45 cards per rack pack. I also really miss some of the odd ball sets from my childhood like Topps All Star Doubleheaders and Topps Heads Up. I also have always thought that baseball cards always made the best prizes whether it come with Cracker Jack, cereal or with Slurpees (coins). Thanks.

  5. Robert 26 June, 2012 at 17:56

    I miss the innovation in products – Topps seems to be reusing the same thing too many times lately — minis in a lot of products instead of just A&G and the gold theme in 2012 is pretty boring in its execution. It seems like I haven’t been super excited about any baseball product in a year – I’m just buying hand collated sets of the releases that I have collected for over a decade or more and not buying boxes of products that excite me.

    Robert – Albuquerque, NM

  6. Patrick 26 June, 2012 at 18:08

    I miss having more than one company making cards… I also miss Score, Fleer (not Fleer Tradition), Donruss, Studio, and Sportflics… I would also like to see Panini and Leaf get a license also and if they can get their act toghether, Upper Deck also… I would like to see the return of hard to find regular inserts like holograms and die-cut cards. And most of all, I want another set like Leaf Signature from 1996 and not the other years…

  7. Jeremy Johnson 26 June, 2012 at 18:18

    I miss the simplicity of the hobby. I miss the days when there were four rookie cards for a player at most. Rickey Henderson has one, Ken Griffey Jr. has three… Daisuke Matsuzaka has 41. More brands are fine, the MEM, AUTO and SER cards are cool, I get it, but I miss the base rookie cards being something that people actually desired.

  8. Jim Boehm 26 June, 2012 at 18:24

    The one thing i miss most is a choice. There needs to be more than one license for baseball. I would say no more than three licenses with a limit of five releases per license. Have a base set, a retro set, a high-end, a super high-end, and another set of the manufacturers choosing. This gives all collectors of every budget a choice. Competition is a good thing for collectors and manufactures. It gives us collectors a choice and it pushes the manufacturers to put out better more original products.

  9. Evan 26 June, 2012 at 18:51

    I miss when you could get excited about pulling common memorabilia cards or common autographs. It’s all about the big patches and high end autos now. Cards don’t sell for their true value anymore and that’s why I just collect and not sell. The cards that have really become too common are rookies, even some big name rookies don’t sell for that much anymore.

  10. Richard Hogenson 26 June, 2012 at 19:45

    Buying packs of cards at grocery stores and gas stations for less than $1.00 per pack.

  11. beepybeepy 26 June, 2012 at 19:50

    I miss all-inclusive products. As a card company, you don’t need to have millions of releases a year to keep the collectors satisfied. If the people do not sign autographs, omit them from the product all together. I would like to collect older boxes, but those looming redemptions, that cannot be redeemed, keep me from making that purchase. It hurts the collector and the card shop owner who is stuck with product that is unable to sell. Put everything in that release! EVERYTHING! Less is not more. Cards are not groceries, offering less cards, less packs for the same price point is not going to make me want the product more. It keeps the money in my pocket or makes me look elsewhere for “more bang for my buck”. Will there finally be the day when you get one pack with one card for 200 bucks. It may as well be the lottery.

  12. JeffNSU 26 June, 2012 at 20:22

    I miss the days when, if collectors didn’t like a product, they just shut up and didn’t buy it instead of whining on message boards and their own awful blogs about why a product or company sucks. Yet those same people end up buying the same products they bash just to get their fix. It’s quite comical to those of us enlightened souls…

  13. Blake M. 26 June, 2012 at 20:23

    I miss the memories. I can’t wait to take my future son(s) to the card store. I remember being so excited for baseball cards – even when I didn’t get great hits. Today, I worry about how much it all costs. I am even more thankful for my mother who supported my childhood hobby. I also miss the heroes of the game – those that loved the game. Today it is polluted with fat contracts and steroids.

  14. Charlie DiPietro 26 June, 2012 at 22:34

    The products are better than ever. Manufacturing technology and quality has improved greatly each decade. Content is better than ever. There is something for every level of collector. Yet something is lackiing, something is missing. Collectors want more.

    We want more manufacturers producing more, innovative MLB, NFL, and NBA products. Manufacturing costs, overhead costs, autograph costs and licenseing have made that happen too slow for most. The hobby is what it is. The products could be better, and they will. They are each year. But that’s not good enough, something is missing. Where’s the fun? Where’s the excitement? Where’s the satisfaction?

    I see You Tube box breaks where the breaker pulls a great hit and gets all excited in the solitude of his basement. If this is a case break you bought into, of course that great hit is not yours. You won ten commons from some team you don’t really care about. Was that fun for you? Are you excited? Those ten commons will soon be in the mail. Are you satisfied?

    Today, I had a man and his very knowledgeable 8 year old son bust a few boxes in my store. I offer a $100 prize each month for the “Best Pull” in my store. I also trade even for cards pulled in my store and I allow customers to trade with each other everyday when they open in my store. Several other people in my store gathered around to watch father and son. When other people got excited and offered to trade for their pulls, it was great. Because there was someone interested in each pull, the 8 year old boy decided his pulls were worth keeping, at least for a while. He didn’t want to trade today.

    I believe real, live interaction is missing from the hobby. We need more, good sports card shops. And, the sports card shops need more customers, so that they can lower their prices, offer prizes, offer free services, and still make a profit. So what comes first, the good card shop or enough customers so you can make a profit? Be a good card shop and they will come.

  15. joe 26 June, 2012 at 22:56

    The thing I miss in the hobby are real collectors. During the McGwire and Sosa’s home run thing the hobby exploded. The card companies really started pumping out products (feed the greed). Most of those products are as worthless the paper they were printed and nobody even remembers them. I remember back in 2004 Fleer released three products within 4 weeks, 2004 Fleer Genuine, 2004 Fleer Authentix and 2004 Fleer Hot Prospects. All three products had the exact same theme rookie photo shot jerseys. Fleer shoot themselves in the foot. Those products never gained any steam because they killed each other off. This is just an example of what I mean by feed the greed.
    Then the battle between the card companies was kicked into high gear. Instead of the companies making good quality products they put all of their effort into just making products to get a product out before the competion. Now us collectors are stuck with those crappy product that we barely remember.. I am personally glad that the card companies are not pumping out products every other week.

  16. The Card Investor 26 June, 2012 at 23:00

    Like other commentors, I also miss multiple manufacturers with MLB licensing. Competitions breeds innovation. While Topps has done well with their exclusive license, I can’t say that their product lines haves been all that innovative in the years that they’ve had the exclusive.

  17. bearcatlawjd 26 June, 2012 at 23:42

    Like most readers I miss having multiple card brands but even if MLB gave another company a license there has to be a limit on the number of sets produced by each company.

    I miss the days when hitting an autograph or serial numbered card was almost as difficult as winning lottery.

    I say go back in look at some of the 1990’s sets. Autographs, serial numbered cards, and parallels ruled the day; however, some like the Elite Series from Donruss, Heroes of Baseball from Upper Deck, and Stadium Club’s First Day were not easy pulls. If the card companies cut production but use the insert formula and price structure from those years I believe a lot people would find card collecting more enjoyable.

  18. Charlie 26 June, 2012 at 23:58

    I miss the time when there were fewer chase cards per product. Back in 1993 or 1994, whether you bought a high end product or a low end product, getting an insert was cool, not like a 2 per pack thing. Pulling a Holoview or Platinum Power from a 93 or 94 Upper Deck SP pack was more exciting than a HOF-er autograph would be today. Pulling a Mickey Mantle reprint from 1996 topps was about as cool as it would come. Now you get 2-4 inserts per pack, so it’s made the base cards and the inserts seem less “special”.

  19. Matt O. 27 June, 2012 at 06:21

    Why do cards have to be of players only? I want to see more coaches cards, city skylines, stadiums / arenas and mascot cards.

  20. Jason Taylor 27 June, 2012 at 07:52

    Things I miss:
    1. Different companies. History has shown that cards were their most innovative when there was competition, right on back to the Tobacco cards of the late 19th century, and the early 50’s with Bowman and Topps. I’d like to see MLB award licenses to 3 different companies and say, “You can only make 6 sets per season. Better make them good.”
    2. Affordability. I love collecting cards and building sets, but box prices are ridiculous. There was no reason for Archives (one of the coolest retro ideas in years) to cost $85 a box. That should have been at worst a $60 box, considering the types of “hits” that tended to be pulled.
    3. Kids collecting cards. Kids are what built the hobby up. I grew up collecting cards in the late 70’s to mid 80’s, like most boys. But now that I have a 12 year old son, I hardly see kids collecting anymore. My son does, of course, and it’s a fun hobby that we share, but kids just don’t pick it up anymore. In order to help facillitate that, Topps should sponsor card giveaway nights in all MLB stadiums at least once a year, and honestly, even more Minor League stadiums since the experience needs to be more kid friendly.

  21. David 27 June, 2012 at 08:19

    I have to agree with what’s already been said above. The lack of choice is one huge problem, that leads to the other problem of lack of innovation. Topps isn’t doing a bad job but it’s not doing anything special either. Many of their products come off as remakes of itself which is really boring. I’ve seen a huge appreciation from collectors lately for oddball stuff we don’t see anymore like Pacific’s Ornaments and Net-fusions and anything foiled or die-cut. Another licensee would make sense and the product limit mentioned above is a good idea. I’m not sure 5 works but no more than 10 with 2 licensees would be enough product to hold the masses. Keep the ultra high-end stuff to a minimum please and get some affordable options out there. If the companies are going to cater to the retail market (as they have for several years), at least make the products understandable to the occasional buyer.

  22. don davis 27 June, 2012 at 08:57

    I would love for topps to have some compitention in baseball. Panini product is pitiful. No bang for your buck.

  23. Charlie DiPietro 27 June, 2012 at 09:12

    Like everyone else, I forgot to leave my name & location in the post above. Charlie DiPietro is:
    Charlie DiPietro, Owner
    Sports Cards Plus
    San Antonio, Texas

  24. Jason 27 June, 2012 at 10:54

    I miss the simplicity of many years past, there are too many different inserts and subsets now.
    And while I personally am fine paying a higher amount for a product of higher value there needs to be a lower end product that allows kids to go to the card shop or retail store with five bucks and buy more than one pack.
    If the kids don’t buy today, the hobby will be weak tomorrow.
    Jason T.
    Raleigh, NC

  25. David Johnson 27 June, 2012 at 11:33

    I miss the multiple card shops in almost every city. I miss the days when a print run of 10,000 was considered tough to find. I miss the time when getting a card serial numbered out of 100 meant it was extremely rare, and not just another of 10+ different colored parallels of the same card. I also miss when people bought cards because they liked them and not just because they thought they might be able to make money off of them.

  26. Frank Drey, Marshalltown, Ia 27 June, 2012 at 12:34

    We desperately need a 2nd baseball license – quality declines when there is no competition. We don’t need a mini set from Topps – why not a Stadium Club type set with great photography – a Topps Total type set which features most of the players on a roster, rather than just the stars. Set builders are being ignored in many ways. I now spend far less on this hobby not because of cost, but because many of the Topps issues do not interest me.

  27. chrisolds 27 June, 2012 at 13:55

    Frank: Brands like those you mention have gone away because apparently us collectors didn’t value those things. Because if we did, we would have bought more … product lines don’t vanish if they are bought.

  28. Tom Waldron 27 June, 2012 at 15:03

    What I miss is exactly what Charlie DIP. said it’s the interaction at the hobby shop.. The guy in my town of Salem va doesn’t get it he spends all his time jacing prices up wont; put prices on anything and looks everything up on Ebay for his box pricesno ineractions doen’t care it seems.but it’s the only game in town.
    . Prices and Distrubuting practices from MANUFACTUERS and Resellers have alomst killed our Hobby stores.
    Absolutely the MLB NFL NHL should stop the Exclusive liscencing. Just limit the amount hope for innovation let the marketplace decide
    .Also these case breakers do bother me sure it great for the bottom line for any manufacturer but to me if you are going to buy multiple cases you should be a liscenced dealer. Gvie the regular guy a fighting chance at that Once in a lifetime hit and hopefully it will be at a local hobby shop near you and me.

  29. Greg 27 June, 2012 at 16:00

    I really miss the days when there were a variety of hobby shops to visit and look for cards. When it was easy to walk out with a handful of cards for a few bucks. When you could buy a whole hobby box for 20 bucks. The autographs and relics and serial numbered cards are cool, but I miss the days when it was enough just to pull one of your favorite players. Most of all, I miss the days when kids could collect without putting their parents in the poor house. I don’t see how a 10-year-old could afford to put together a meaningful collection in today’s hobby.

  30. David harvey 27 June, 2012 at 21:38

    I miss the 70’s and being excited about opening wax packs and getting cards I need to complete my set. Now opening packs is just about getting some dumb serially numbered insert card.

  31. Mike 28 June, 2012 at 00:50

    Really easy for me. My customers & I miss the type of product which was a staple for years, the 24 pack box with $5 packs featuring CURRENT PLAYERS & ROOKIES on modern card stock & modern technology.

    Enough with the retro issues, please.

    Donruss was awesome with this type of product in the early 2000s. Upper deck was pretty good too, but since the last several yrs, topps has done nothing with it, well, except ticket to stardom & we know what a bomb that was.

  32. Marcus F. 28 June, 2012 at 11:46

    I want more Ticket to Stardom I like the game use ticket stubs. I think they need to bring it back. For the Bryce Harper card you can have the ticket stub for the first game he played in this year in the Majors. I had good luck with that product. I pulled that Yu Darvish out of stardom and it is nice. I love it! I would like to see Ticket to Stardom come back this year or next year.

  33. Matt O. 28 June, 2012 at 21:55

    And how about better photography? Including a DIFFERENT photo on the back of the card. Like maybe an action shot on the front and a different closeup on the back?

  34. Alex Giles 1 July, 2012 at 16:38

    What I miss the most is that now people are packsearching in stores and that it’s more about making your money back than actually collecting.Some people now packsearch instead of just picking up a pack. When you packsearch, it takes the thrill away from other collectors to open a pack hoping for that special jersey card or autograph. Also, some people just try to make their money back. What happened to buying packs for the fun of it? Some people sell their cards immediately after they get a good card. That’s what I miss in the hobby.
    -Alex Giles-Knoxville,Tennessee

  35. Mark Nickerson 1 July, 2012 at 22:38

    It’s been over 40 years but what I miss the most is taking my paper route money and riding my bicycle several miles down the country road to my local convenience store and walking out with a full box of 36 packs of baseball cards that’ I’d bought at five cents apiece and taking them home and opening and sorting them on my bedroom floor. Those were the best days and I will never be able to do that again. The feeling that gave me is what I miss the most.

  36. Jonathan Gaudlitz 11 August, 2012 at 21:16

    I know this was posted a while back, but there is somethng I want to add- I miss finding cards in products. No one puts cards of any type in cereal boxes, bread, etc., like they used to. I think that if companies started doing that again, it would attract young kids into the hobby. With card prices rising at an alarming rate, kids can no loger afford packs of cards. Finding cards in their favorite cereal would entice kids into the hobby, and even into sports in general.
    Happy Hunting!

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