Monday, March 22, 2010

Tournament of Gimmicks: Round One, Day One

Remember, you are picking the WORST gimmick in each game.

Game #1
8) 1996 Finest (Fractured Base Sets)

As if high end wasn't expensive or difficult enough.

9) 1998 Pacific Aurora Cubes

One of many reasons why Pacific no longer makes cards.

Game #2
1) 2008 Topps Heritage #440 "Jon" Smoltz

Just when everyone was starting to really enjoy Heritage, Topps upped the ante by creating gimmicked super short printed "error" cards, or more accurately, let's misspell a popular player's name, or put the wrong team on his card, print just enough for people to notice and watch eBay burn up with obsessive set completists. Sane collectors ignored these cynical money grabs by Topps.

16) 1995 Topps D3

Topps' foray into "three dimensional" cards give collectors headaches in more ways than one.

Game #3

5) 1933 Goudey #106 Napoleon Lajoie

Whether by accident or design, the Nap Lajoie card became one of the scarcest and most sought after in collecting history. Some claim Goudey omitted the star from it's set as a gimmick to get youngsters to buy more packs. Goudey insisted it was a honest mistake. Either way, the only people lucky enough to find that darn Nap were those persistent enough to send a letter of complaint to Goudey and those fortunate few would finally receive that magical card #106. Unclaimed Naps were destroyed at the factory. Today that same card fetches in the neighborhood of $30,000 at auction.

12) 2001 Sweet Spot #JIS Ichiro "Game-Used" Jersey

Ichiro cards were red hot in 2001 and if you thought this was a real regular season game used jersey I have some real estate in Hong Kong to sell you. It's from '99 spring training. Don't worry. Upper Deck's lips are sealed.

Game #4
4) 2006 Topps #297 Alex Gordon

Few cards in the history of collecting have pissed off more collectors harder for longer then the 2006 Topps Alex Gordon. Legend has it that the card was hastily pulled/destroyed when Topps was advised that the card voided MLB's new rookie card rules and Topps could possibly lose it's license. A few had already entered the marketplace and a feeding frenzy ensued led by none other than celebrity collector Keith Olbermann who under different usernames began mortgaging his mansion to buy up whatever Gordons popped up on eBay. When the orgy ended some claimed Olbermann spent over $35,000 for seven Gordons. Now let me get this straight. MLB adopted strict new rookie card rules and limited the number of card releases to clean up the hobby. And this was the result? Fantastic. All the ill will Topps engendered to the hobby did not stop them from unleashing a gimmick onslaught in the years that followed. Many cynics believe that the Gordon was done on purpose to encourage sales of '06 Topps but so many loyal set collectors were turned off it had the opposite effect with many quitting for good. How's that for irony/karma? Oh and the Yo Mamma Gordon in '10 Topps has not exactly patched things over with some hobbyists.

13) 1995-99 Finest peel-off protectors.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Cards were meant to be held and your hand and savored. Shrink wrap is for frozen meat.

You have until Wednesday at Midnight (ET) to vote.

No comments: