Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We Dont Need No Stinking Licenses

Since Topps secured the license to be sole producer of baseball cards for the coming years, Upper Deck has gone on a signing spree that should make a lot fans happy. Its funny that now that the license to produce cards with logos and team names is gone, all the players are starting to come around and sign autograph deals. Personally, I hate exclusivity in any shape or form, but in this case with the license, it may actually work out better.

So far, UD has signed contracts with key pieces of the Yankees World Series Championship teams, as well as announcing that Joe Jackson will be in their products now that the rules have changed. In my opinion, the Joe Jackson news is AS important as the signings of Rivera, Pettite, Posada, and company, mainly due to the buzz it created over Prime Cuts last year. As we saw with Prime Cuts, licenses mean little to nothing when you have a good product, and with Exquisite Baseball coming our way, it should be interesting to see if UD can live up to the billing.

I will say this, in previous years before the license was lost, UD baseball has been mediocre at best. With Football at the forefront of the competition by a mile, Baseball didn’t have the same pizzazz at all. Products were flat, prices were high, and design wasn’t top notch. Now that they don’t have to play by the same rules, hopefully they can fill in those gaps with signatures from star players who don’t normally sign (Rivera), and retired players who are banned from production (Jackson and possibly Rose).

With many of the players garnering less value than normal because of the economy, baseball sets will need a jump start if they are going to continue to attract collectors. Although I don’t think the Yankees and Jackson are the only answer to the problem, its definitely a start. What UD baseball will have to prove is that they can function at the same level as a set like Topps, focusing more on great photography and design to make up for the fact that no logos will be able to be used. Prime Cuts did a great job of that, especially considering that Baseball players are known more for their likeness rather than the jersey they wear.

The starting point is definitely the success of Exquisite Baseball, and how well Upper Deck can get the set to the level of its Basketball and Football products. Exquisite Football is the best of the year because of the prestige of the name, design of the set, and content of the cards, which means that Baseball has big shoes to fill after the disaster that was the Exquisite Rookies set of 2008. However, with the 2006 Exquisite Baseball redemption set to build from, these cards could be amazing, or they could easily suck. Lets hope, for the sake of competition, that everything turns out great. As it stands right now, Im not going to say much more until I see the results.


  1. You missed the part where Donruss got sued by MLBPA for crossing the line with Prime Cuts. UD will be walking a tight rope with finding good photos minus logos or team likenesses.

    I loved Prime Cuts, and think logos are overrated for the most part. But I'm not a team collector and that could really hurt value.

  2. Very well thought and written take on the situation. Despite the overwhelming amount of postings on this topic of exclusivity all over the blogosphere, somehow I never get tired of reading about it.