Crazy Times in the Hobby Will Seem Normal One Day

It seems like we are going back in time lately in the sports world – and not just focusing on vintage memorabilia.

First, we’re back to just one MLB-licensed card manufacturer and now even the Home Run King says Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. In the words of Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out there?”

We’ve got feds and postal authorities running around the National Sports Convention pulling out subpoenas and interview requests with an end result that we still don’t know 12 months after they did the same routine in Chicago.

However, the National got a publicity  boost and perhaps the most widespread positive story in its history with ESPN’s Bill Simmons snapping photos from the event like paparazzi and hogging up all of the space on the front page of ESPN.com. I’m fairly certain ESPN’s readership and Simmons’ column itself gets more views than 95 percent of all of the sites out there – combined. (I’m serious, there are a lot of small-time sites out there that get little-to-no traffic. Even my Robin Yount’s Lover site hasn’t really taken off. Don’t look for it, I’m kidding.)

We’ve got thieves looking to score on sports memorabilia instead of raiding strangers’ medicine cabinets and sports museums going out of business because no one is walking through the doors to just look at stuff without the chance of actually buying it.

It’s a funky time, but it’s not horribly out of whack in the history of the sports hobby. Do you think this time period is better than when there were six manufacturers pumping out more product than could ever possibly be bought by the general public?

Some might say yes, because at least then there was competition and more innovative products. Yet again, look at what happened to values of cards during that time and how many of those businesses remain today?
It all seemed strange at the time, but these things work themselves out over time, and all the craziness now will soon seem normal when something else crazy takes place. It’s all part of the game, so to speak.

On another subject, I have to share a few thoughts I’ve had while working on another round of descriptions for the second sports auction for Collect.com Auctions. We have a lot of vintage sports publications in the upcoming sale, covering baseball, football and hockey. They range from yearbooks and media guides to official records and Who’s Who.

I love these types of publications. I think they record the time period like nothing else and offer a great glimpse into the players and stories of the past. I often had to stop paging through them just so I could keep “working.”

Marty Appel has covered some of these long-running books in his column, sometimes mentioning how some of them are coming to an end after a decades-long run. That’s too bad, because I think future generations would like to read abut today’s stars in a similar format.

But perhaps I’m thinking much too narrowly. Everything is online now and perhaps that’s how tomorrow’s generation will learn about Greg Maddux, Albert Pujols, Mariano Rivera, etc. I guess it would save space on the bookshelves, too, although I think bookshelves are no longer configured in today’s in-house decorating scheme, if you know what I mean.

I also had the chance to look over vintage newspaper clippings from 1919 and 1920. You already know the subject of these articles, but to read it in present tense was fascinating. I wonder if the future hobby readers will look at today’s events in the same fashion?  

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