Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Error cards have always been part of the equation. Sometimes the error would be discovered during an initial printing and Topps would correct the error before resuming the printing/distribution process. This lead to relative scarcity of the error card which would drive up the price on the secondary market.

When Donruss came on the scene with their initial printing in 1982, their issue was riddled with errors to the point where the uncorrected error card was the only card. After that embarrassing debut, they began correcting their errors and once again the error card took on a mystique such that for awhile during the early nineties, I could have sworn that there were errors being introduced by some of the companies to intentionally influence demand.

Well, last year, Topps released a Derek Jeter card that included digital images of Mickey Mantle and President Bush in the background. Even though any six-year-old can find the Waldos that don't belong in the photo, Topps played it off as if it was the work of a rogue production assistant which nobody noticed until it was too late to change. Now, they compound the silliness by adding a digital image of Rudy Giuliani celebrating the Red Sox World Series victory on a card to be issued this year.
"We ... thought it would make for a funny card, since the Red Sox won," said Clay Luraschi, baseball brand manager for The Topps Co. "We thought, let's put him in the championship dog pile."
Who is this joker running The Topps Company? Has he no shame? Why not produce a gag card for the boys in the office but only send out the real stuff? I don't know, maybe I'm old-fashioned or lunk-headed, but I just don't see why any card company would be intentionally producing silly stuff when there are other companies out there trying to get things right. I remember seeing some 1995 Topps cards that included statistics that were culled from projections had the '94 season played itself out. They actually printed stats on their cards that were projections. So you can't always trust the backs and now you can't always trust the fronts. Why not just stick to producing Garbage Pail Kids cards and leave the national pastime to the professionals?

1 comment:

Tom said...

There's a good history to write about baseball cards with the crucial moment where they stopped making them to sell gum and became self aware of the secondary market.

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