I think I sometimes give off the impression that I don’t like modern baseball cards. That isn’t really true. Taken in isolation, I think there are a great many modern baseball cards that are quite beautiful and will stand the test of time. (I will admit that I don’t care for most modern baseball card sets with last year’s Stadium Club set standing as a wonderful exception.)
I’m one of those old collector’s who has a litany of complaints about how today’s sets are constructed, but it boils down to one thing: I hate gimmicks. The very notion of a gimmick is that baseball cards are not, in and of themselves, good enough. They are not a worthwhile investment of our time or money. That’s an idea I reject. I get far more excited about a [base card] than I could ever get over an insert, a parallel, the increasingly ridiculous hits and other card company ideas of “added value”, the most preposterous phrase ever used in conjunction with baseball cards. ([Chris Harris addressed this in an epic rant a few years ago.])
There is one gimmick that I like however. I love the idea of Topps buying old baseball cards and sticking them as inserts into modern sets. I love the idea that someone who has never had any interest in vintage cards could find a card that stokes that interest. I love that collectors of modern cards can get a little history lesson of the hobby in a pack of new cards. It’s one of those gimmicks that should be magnificently easy to pull off. And Topps screws it up anyway.
I’ve yet to purchase a pack of 2016 Series 1, but I did participate in a group break where I got all the Braves out of a case. One of those cards is the 1975 Lew Krausse you see above. This is a card that I would have loved to have pulled out of a pack. Although I already have two copies, one in my 1975 set binder and another in one of my Braves team set binders, I almost certainly would have replaced one of those with this. This card is in nearly pristine condition. Yet, I hate this card and I would never sully one of my vintage binders with it.
That blue foil stamp. That awful blue foil stamp. Why? What’s the stinking point of that blue foil stamp? I’m not asking rhetorically. I want to know the point of that damned foil stamp. Do you know what’s arguably the best quality of a vintage Topps baseball card? NO F’N FOIL. A vintage baseball card does not need improving. Vintage baseball cards are just fine, thank you very much. Does Topps really think that someone needs reminding that they pulled this card on their 65th anniversary? Does Topps think that defacing a beautiful vintage baseball card with a foil stamp adds value to the card? Seriously, what the HELL.
It’s an assault on taste. It’s an assault on vintage baseball cards. It’s an assault on long time baseball card collectors. This card makes me sick.