When it comes to pieces of something, anything that can be inserted into cards, there seems to be few limits. We’ve all seen the pieces of jerseys, pants, shoes, bats, caps and cut signatures now seemingly in every brand available on the shelf.
And this doesn’t count the sheet metal, driver’s suits, pieces of tires and helmets found in racing products.
The latest is Topps’ 2009 Ticket to Stardom Baseball that features official MLB ticket stubs embedded in the cards. Tickets can be found from the World Series and Opening Day to the World Baseball Classic and prominent moments such as rookie debuts.The product also features Buyback stubs that would feature a stub from a classic game.
The product ships in August, so you have some time to come up with the ideal ticket you’d like to find in the product. We’ve covered the “ticket stubs you’d most like to own” in the past, so I’ll just say I wouldn’t mind the Sept. 9, 1992, stub from Milwaukee’s County Stadium in which Robin Yount clubbed his 3,000th career hit.
But I am curious as to what will be placed in cards next. Perhaps dinosaurs? Nope, that already happened, along with fragments of bones from Wholly Mammoths. I don’t have anything against those pieces being embedded in cards, but I just wouldn’t have expected that in my hockey box breaks or Allen & Ginter brands. As someone posted on the Sports Card Forum message board a while back, what’s next, strands of hair from a white buffalo?
If it hasn’t happened yet, I’m sure there is a way to have pieces of Tiger Woods’ putter placed into a card, or perhaps some of the apple core, bubble gum or other discarded piece of trash Woods used that seems to turn up on eBay a few times a year.
I find these diversions rather entertaining. And I have to think those who aren’t diehard card collectors probably feel the same way – and that’s why card companies go to such lengths to have these varieties as “hits” in their products. When the base collecting community has been contacted over and over again, you have to go somewhere else to expand to new markets, new buyers and new money. It’s a strategy every business utilizes.
That’s why you see some of these strange inserts. While hard-core collectors complain about them, most won’t ever see them (another gripe in the hobby, but that’s also the chase that drives the hobby). Most of the inserts are very limited and are more for the publicity to the unknowing populace who think they have a chance at something special than for the market the cards are designed to serve in the first place. For releases that draw the extra attention, the old adage applies: any publicity is good publicity.
The other day in the office, we busted open a box of 2009 O-Pee-Chee Baseball, a no-frills product that won’t hurt the pocketbook. The box offered no patch cards, no autographs and nary a redemption. We all remarked how we enjoyed the product. The card designs were simple and not flashy, the card backs had actual statistics and other nuances that made it fun to read and in the end you were generally pleased with the outcome.
But this won’t cut it for the populace I spoke about before. They need something more to give the product a try and that’s where the struggle is and why we have the products we do in the hobby.
Back to those ticket stubs. Would you rather have a card and stub that are related together in one piece, or would you rather have the ticket stub as a stand-alone collectible? If a had a choice, I’ll take the card because it aids in remembering the importance of the stub.