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Thread: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of business)

  1. #16
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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of business)

    The loss of Fleer hasn't the hit the hobby quite as hard as the news that was handed down by MLBPA earlier this week:

    MLBPA Confirms 2006 RC Designation, Loss of Donruss' License

    The Major League Baseball Players Association announced that it has agreed to terms with The Topps Company and The Upper Deck Company on new licensing arrangements that will go into effect starting January 2006.

    Donruss Playoff was informed on Tuesday by MLBPA that its license would not be renewed after the end of 2005. MLBPA said it had decided the current marketplace would be best served at the present time by two licensees. "Although we are confident that the trading card category now will be most favorably positioned for future growth, the decision to move forward with only two licensees was not an easy one for us to make." - Judy Heeter, MLBPA Director of Business Affairs and Licensing


    Ann Powell, owner of Donruss said, “We are, of course, disappointed and sad about the future loss of our partnership with Baseball and understand it was a very tough decision to make. We will continue to produce and deliver the highest quality baseball products for the remainder of the year. All of us at Donruss love being a part of this industry and remain fully committed to the football and entertainment products in the coming years.”

    Under the new agreements, baseball cards will be designed, marketed and promoted to attract kids and new consumers while still providing excitement and value to the current collector base. Promotional programs by licensors and manufacturers will have special appeal for baseball fans of all ages, and the presence of fewer products in the marketplace will reduce consumer confusion and clutter on retail shelves. In making the announcement, Evan Kaplan, MLBPA Director of Trading Cards and Collectibles, said, "Our licensees recognized the need to make improvements in every aspect of the trading card business. They are fully committed to building a wide spectrum of products that will meet the expectations of all fans."

    With only two baseball trading card manufacturers, the new licensing landscape will focus on strong brand presence, longer shelf life and fewer, stronger products in the marketplace to simplify the retail experience for consumers. Emphasis on marketing, promotion and product development to attract new purchasers, especially kids, will bring renewed excitement to the category.

    Fans will also be pleased to learn that as of Opening Day 2006, a new "Rookie Card" logo will appear on the cards of players who make their Major League debut. According to the press release issued by the MLBPA on July 21st, “No longer will a player's rookie card ("RC") be produced before he reaches the Majors.” Of note, Beckett Media LP is still within the process of gathering feedback from a wide array of sources on the future status of the RC designation.

    "Improving the rookie card situation is just one of the many changes that fans will see as a result of these new license agreements," said Kaplan. "We are going to kick off the 2006 season with the launch of Topps Baseball and Upper Deck Baseball at the start of Spring Training with a promotional and marketing campaign that will go throughout the year."

    "We couldn't be more enthusiastic about the prospect of a cleaner, more consumer-friendly retail environment", said Scott Silverstein, President of The Topps Company. "We believe this development will enable us to better serve our core customers and reach out to a broader base of new collectors with special emphasis on bringing back kids to the market."

    “We are extremely pleased and proud to be given the opportunity to create a more comprehensive and robust marketplace to ensure the long-term preservation of our beloved hobby for future generations of baseball fans and enthusiasts,” said Richard McWilliam, Chairman and Founder of the Upper Deck Company.

    "Although we are confident that the trading card category now will be most favorably positioned for future growth, the decision to move forward with only two licensees was not an easy one for us to make," said Judy Heeter, MLBPA Director of Business Affairs and Licensing. "We have enjoyed our personal and professional relationships with all the wonderful people at Donruss, we have the utmost respect for them and the venerable Donruss and Leaf brands, and we wish them all well."

    MLBPA representatives said that more information would be forthcoming but collectors should expect to see calendars for 2006 releases, retail promotions and more developments in the upcoming months.- Beckett.com
    This was quite possibly the worst decision that the MLBPA could have ever made. At this time, Donruss/Playoff is the only company that is turning out quality baseball product on a consistent basis. Topps is Topps, nothing new and innovative there. Upper Deck remains the same overpriced crap that it has always been.

    MLBPA is worried about the market being saturated. And they have every right to be, because it most certainly is saturated with way too many products. But the solution is not the cut the number of companies producing cards, IMO. The solution is the limit the number of products that each company can produce with their license.

    Both as a collector and a dealer (Was a true collector long before I started dealing), I'm extremely disappointed by this because it means no more sets like Donruss Diamond Kinds and Playoff Portraits which are truly beautiful cards.

    The game used card craze has gotten way out of hand and the companies are running out of gimmicks. When the game used cards were scarcely made, they retained quite a large value, but now the market is so saturated with literally hundreds of different versions of these cards for each player that you can buy them in bulk lots for very little money.

    Honestly, I'm not crazy about Upper Deck buying Fleer's remaining assets because it gives them more of a hold on the market. Upper Deck really started the premium brand craze back in 1989 when they started producing packs of cards that sold for more than $1 a pack. Who else has cards for $150-$500/pack? Upper Deck is partly what's wrong with this hobby and I really hope things are able to turn around before it goes completely into the ground.

    I can only hope that we're entering a collector's age as Steel feels and it's not a hobby that has thrived for over 50 years coming near a halt. That would be devestating to a lot of people.

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  3. #17
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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of busine

    That's a very interesting development, Larkin Fan, and something I didn't know. Doesn't surprise me though and I'm not sure how good it will actually be for the collector.

    Personally, I'm with you on the licencing limiting product offerings. Personally, I'd like to see three companies have licences (Topps, Upper Deck, and Donruss- because they've earned it). I would strongly hold that the licence limits each company to produce only three MLB products each year- one regular issue, one "premium" product, and one "super-premium" product.

    And I'd be fine with Topps continuing the Bowman line as it's "premium" set offering OR using only Bowman Chrome as it's "super-premium" set. But the way I'm reading the article you posted, Bowman appears to be going the way of the dinosaur. That's too bad, because that set is always very well designed.

    And Upper Deck is reportedly the front runner to purchase Fleer anyway, so limiting things to three companies is pretty near what's happening anyway.

    The problem I see now is that Topps and Upper Deck are still free to flood the market with sub-standard base product while attempting to justify high prices due to high insert rates and gimmicky marketing ploys.

    I question how good that is for the collector considering that there will be fewer memorabilia cards on the market. We probably won't see the true effect of that for a few years because there's already a memorabilia/autograph insert glut. But as new players begin to appear, there'll be less of those products available it seems. It appears that the move will be catering more toward the speculator market- which is how this whole mess got started in the first place.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of business)

    In my opinion, they messed the whole thing up when they took it away from the kids and started charging an arm and a leg for a pack of cards. When I first started buying cards, they were 10 cents a pack. I remember riding my bike to the little country store with my friends, buying a coke and a few packs of cards and the trading would begin. We were always coming in the store and asking Mr. Smith if he had got a new box of cards, and a new series in. It was a lot of fun then, and an inexpensive thing that the kids could look forward to every summer.
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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of business)

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN CHAR NC
    In my opinion, they messed the whole thing up when they took it away from the kids and started charging an arm and a leg for a pack of cards. When I first started buying cards, they were 10 cents a pack. I remember riding my bike to the little country store with my friends, buying a coke and a few packs of cards and the trading would begin. We were always coming in the store and asking Mr. Smith if he had got a new box of cards, and a new series in. It was a lot of fun then, and an inexpensive thing that the kids could look forward to every summer.
    My memories are similar. I started collecting when I started playing Little League ball at age 10. After every game or practice I'd go to a local grocery and buy a pack or two. Part of the fun was the excitement of opening a pack to see who I got. As long as he played for one of my favorite teams I was happy.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of busine

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsBaron
    My memories are similar. I started collecting when I started playing Little League ball at age 10. After every game or practice I'd go to a local grocery and buy a pack or two. Part of the fun was the excitement of opening a pack to see who I got. As long as he played for one of my favorite teams I was happy.
    Ahh, yes! Little League games and then to the store for a soft drink and some cards! I still distinctly remember the day I pulled the 1974 Reds team photo card. "Excited" doesn't begin to describe how I felt. When I got home I call a couple of my friends to share the big news.

    I still remember where we were when I and my friends pulled other big cards, as well. The 1976 Pete Rose? My friend pulled it in front of the shoe store on Main Street, right after lunch at the drug store. That was the only Rose card that any of us found that summer. I'm not sure why it was so rare in our town. The luck of the collating, I guess.

    Ahh, the memories! We had no idea what clear plastic sheets or "grading" were in those days. Price guides were still a few years away.

    Help stamp out, eliminate, and do away with redundancy.

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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of busine

    Quote Originally Posted by macro

    I still remember where we were when I and my friends pulled other big cards, as well. The 1976 Pete Rose? My friend pulled it in front of the shoe store on Main Street, right after lunch at the drug store. That was the only Rose card that any of us found that summer. I'm not sure why it was so rare in our town. The luck of the collating, I guess.
    My first year as a Reds fan was 1966 and I had decided that Rose was my favorite player. I got 4 or 5 Rose cards that summer, and I was thrilled to get each one.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of busine

    I wish I had all the baseball cards from my youth that got wasted in bicycle spokes. I'd be a rich man right now.

    I got a friend who sold a Mickey Mantle rookie card for 15 grand last year.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of business)

    Great thread.

    I started collecting in 1978. My Uncle (only two years older than me) and I started collecting together at that time. Coincidentally, we both had trouble completing that first set due to Ed Armbrister. We both only needed a handful of cards to finish our individual sets and we both just happened to be missing that '78 Ed Armbrister. To this day, we joke about Ed Armbrister.

    I eventually bought a 1978 complete set (in pretty much mint condition) from a co-worker of mine for $100. It is a set that is very special, to me. When I look through those cards, it takes me all the way back to that summer of my 7th year.

    I collected all the way through 1990 and then college came and the card industry got ridiculous. My uncle and I (roommates at OSU) even set up tables at card shows in college to pay for our rent and beer money. To this day, I'm taking advantage of the fact that everything is very cheap to complete sets and get back the cards I once sold. I have complete Topps sets from '78 through 1991 and I am currently about 50% of the way to completing everything from 1971-1977. I found some old 1970-1972 cards from another Uncle that are as mint as you can find for those years

    I don't have the time to try to complete those sets right now. I'm leaving that task for 4-year old and myself after he gets a bit older. I figure we can complete those sets together someday, only of course, if he has the passion. It will be a good education for him. Plus, they will all someday be his, so it will be a nice thing to leave him in addition to memories of his Dad.

    That and hopefully I can recreate those special memories for him.

    Would it be a good idea to gobble up as many graded rookie cards (Bonds, Griffey, Clemens, etc.) on Ebay right now? Has anyone checked it out for a while? This is probably a great time to invest in anything pre 90's. IMO, 1987 seemed to be the year when the overproduction got out of hand, especially with Topps. Those old Bonds, Larkin, and Palmeiro rookie were never worth much. Like Steel, I purchased 50 or so Bonds rookies back in '87 for a dime each and then sold half of them for a few dollars each.

    It really is a shame what has happened to that industry. I can still picture those packs of 1978 cards and to this day when I hear a song from the late 70's/early 80's, I freak my wife out because I can tell her the exact year, by shutting my eyes and picturing what cards I was playing with at the time.

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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of business)

    I remember staying with my Granny and Grandad on the farm in the summer of 1970. One Saturday, we loaded into my Grandad's old Ford pickup truck and went to the small town of Milton, WV to go to the grocery. I remember my Granny asking me if there was anything that I wanted, and I noticed a huge box of Kelloggs Cornflakes with "Free Inside - 3-D Baseball Card." Well, that was what I wanted. Had a picture of the Pete Rose card on the back of the box. Pete was my favorite player, and I was hoping for that particular card.

    We drove back to the farm and I remember helping my Grandparents carry the groceries in. It was quite a walk, as we parked the truck in the "barnyard" and carried the groceries up the sidewalkwalk to the house. My Grandad was a little different because he always requested that they put the groceries in boxes and not paper bags. He always said, "I don't like my groceries in a "poke"." I remember the anticipation as I carried up that box with the Corn Flakes in it.

    We went in the house and my Granny got out a huge bowl. She opened the cereal and started pouring it into the bowl. It was a real big box of Corn Flakes. I remember seeing that little white sealed envelope pour out into the bowl. She grabbed it and handed it to me. Don't know why, but I took off back into the living room to open it. Man, I was hoping for that Pete Rose. Ripped the top off the envelope and pulled out............................................... .....Willie Mays. Well, it was the great Willie Mays, but how I wanted that Pete Rose card.

    Then, to my surprise, my Granny called out, "Oh, Randy, come quick. Here's another baseball card. Two cards in one box!!!!!!! She handed the card to me, and I opened it right there. It was nobody else but......................Peter Edward Rose!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know who was more tickled, me or my Granny. She said, "Lawsy, you are one lucky boy!

    To this day, I remember that day vividly, and I also remember what a lucky young man that I was to grow up with the wonderful family that I had.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
    Fame is man given: be thankful.
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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of busine

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC
    I wish I had all the baseball cards from my youth that got wasted in bicycle spokes. I'd be a rich man right now.

    I got a friend who sold a Mickey Mantle rookie card for 15 grand last year.
    I had a JR rookie card when I was a kid, I think I traded it for some no name pitcher
    Go Gators!

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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of business)

    I had several of the Hostess (Ding Dongs/Twinkies) and Frosted Flake ones. The frosted flakes....they were like 3-D almost.

    I had Gullett....Rose...Morgan....Griffey.....Reggie Jackson when he played that 1 year with BAL.

    I sold my Topps (Only collected Topps) which were mainly from 1975-1980 for about $900 in 1984. I had some from the 60's.....including a 1966 Clemente and a couple from the 50's (Ray Jablonski comes to mind)

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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of business)

    I know this goes back a ways (early 60's), but does anyone remember when they use to also include in the card pack a coin-type with the players pic in it? They only did it for a short time I think.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of business)

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC
    I know this goes back a ways (early 60's), but does anyone remember when they use to also include in the card pack a coin-type with the players pic in it? They only did it for a short time I think.
    i'm thinking it was either '61 or '63 - but i could be way off, there. i have several of those.
    people seem to forget Topps started the whole insert thing a lot earlier than others with inserts in the '60s, from the coins, the embossed cards, to posters, to scratch offs, to comic books - it was not all about the gum.
    though we all bought cards for the gum, right?
    after being out of the hobby for a decade, it's been a lot of fun trying to complete some of those older sets. took a bit, but i finally got the last card i needed for my 1069 set in Bill Short. on a completely unrelated subject, i have about six or seven CHRIS Shorts. *sigh* - helps to pay attention to the entire name when buying cards. now it is time to begin working on the last 80 or so cards needed for my '68 set.

    you know what the one thing i miss most about collecting cards "back in the day"? the smell. opening that fresh pack of cards, and getting that overpowering wiff of that powdered gum and cardboard. leafing through the cards, each one having just a little bit of that gum powder.
    or getting cards of complete and total nobodies - knowing they were complete and total nobodies - but still being thrilled because they were with your team...the Bill Plummers, Doug Bairs, Doug Flynns, Ed Armbristers, Bob Baileys.

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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of busine

    The following site is for anyone who's ever heard these words from your mother:

    "Honey, I was cleaning out the closet and figured that you didn't need those old baseball cards anymore so I threw them out."

    Pay close attention to the price range the Pete Rose rookie sold at...

    http://www.bmwcards.com/top30.htm
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

    "The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
    --Ted Williams

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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of business)

    Topps also made some coin inserts in the 1971 set.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
    Fame is man given: be thankful.
    Conceit is self given: be careful.

    John Wooden


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