Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Topps and bottoms

I'm briefly interrupting Down and Distance's customary summer hiatus to call attention to this fine piece in Slate. In it, Dave Jamieson points fingers at the craven assholes who destroyed baseball cards beginning in the 1990s. You know, the collectors who decided to strangle the last drop of childhood joy out of yet another slice of America. And the manufacturers who decided that if having sets from Topps, Fleer and Donruss on the market was good, then having 80 more sets out there every year would be even better. That's not hyperbole; according to Jamieson, there were 90 different sets of baseball cards available in 2004.

For whatever reason, the article got me thinking about my college years, when Mike Cline, who lived a couple doors down from me at Stalnaker Hall, held up his Chris Sabo rookie card and declared, "This card is going to pay for my kids' college education." Sabo would finish his career with 116 home runs and a .268 batting average.

Sample opening bids or "Buy it now" prices, as listed on eBay, 7/26/06
Card setPrice
Topps 10 cents
Fleer $1
Donruss 40 cents
Bowman 29 cents
Upper Deck $2
Sportflics 28 cents

For the record, I think Cline had the Fleer card. Good thing it wasn't the Bowman, or the kids might have to join the Army or something.

As with everything else, I blame the baby boomers for this.

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