I continue to open boxes and packs of cards, in every sport. Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, I love collecting every one of those sports. These past couple years, with every box and pack that I open I continue to pull more and more “rookie” hit cards. The vast majority, and I mean vast, continues to be rookie autographs or memorabilia cards. Sometimes scrubs, sometimes future stars of the game. And that disappoints me.
When I got back into collecting in 2005, this wasn’t always the case. I would receive hit cards from superstars and stars on a consistent basis. Cal Ripken Jr., Deion Sanders, Roger Clemens, I was pulling hit cards of veteran players and retired stars from just about every single box. Now, it’s one out of every 4-5 boxes. And that disappoints me.
Now I haven’t posted my review of this product yet since I’m a little backed up, but I opened a box of 2012-13 Upper Deck SP Game Used hockey a week or so ago. It was fantastic. Do you know why though? I did not pull one single rookie autograph or memorabilia card. It was that anti-rookie card box. Every box I’ve opened this season has been rookies and more rookies, but this time, I pulled a bunch of jerseys of veteran players, most All-Stars even, and autographs from Eric Staal and Jordan Eberle. And that made me happy.
It sounds weird to say, doesn’t it? I pulled a bunch of hit cards, all of players I’ve heard of, I’ve been able to watch play over the past couple of years, and know that they are staying in the NHL. It was the anti-rookie box and it made me feel good while opening it and reaping the rewards afterwards of some solid hits all around.
Now I’m not saying get rid of rookie cards or memorabilia hits. They are definitely needed in the hobby. They are cheaper for companies to attain and produce, and are sometimes the only cards you might find of someone for a few years. We saw what happened with Jeremy Lin. But does every single product need to contain all these rookie hit cards? Absolutely not. And that disappoints me.
It can be better. I think it may come to the point where boxes of cards or products need to guarantee at least one veteran autograph per box and one rookie autograph per box. I’ve said before, how much more is an autograph of someone like Logan Mankins, Jeff Saturday, or skill position players that aren’t exactly superstars, but everyone knows their names? Fantasy football is huge, most people can name almost the entire set of skill positions on a team.
Or maybe a product where we don’t have rookie autographs. Panini Classics hockey was fun because you knew that you were going to get autographs of players you’ve seen skate before, some Hall of Famers, fan favorites, it was a fun product. Topps Fan Favorites baseball, same thing! Upper Deck Past Time Pennants, there have been some great products out there that give non-rookie collectors, non-flippers, something to collect.
Me? I may be biased because I don’t collect rookies and I generally don’t buy cards to flip them. I am really picky when I purchase my own cards. I make sure I know what I’m getting into and understand the hit checklists. I watch YouTube videos and read about box breaks on forums. I know what I want, and if the product doesn’t provide me with what I want, I choose something else. Yeah, I bought Topps Strata. I knew it was all rookie autographs, but it was a fun product with the technology. I also bought SPGU hockey because of the lack of rookies and all the veteran hits I saw coming out of it. I would of bought Museum Collection if prices didn’t skyrocket (missed the boat on that one.) A product with good veteran content is now too difficult to find, maybe 1-2 products a year out of 15 products per sport. And that disappoints me.
Give me a good product with one rookie hit, a few good veteran hits, and I’ll buy it every time.