Lately, I have become somewhat obsessed with autographed buybacks. I don’t know when they were introduced into The Hobby but it was a genius idea and a great way to tug at the nostalgia heartstrings.
Take a worthless card from a forgotten player, have him sign a small number of them, include them into packs of new products. Now imagine finding a buyback of Cal Ripken Jr., Derek Jeter, or Greg Maddux.
To me, the greatest gimmick in collecting today is the autographed buyback. I’d pick it over a jumbo patch, triple autograph, or Superfractor any day of the week, even if it’s of some unknown guy.
What I find most ironic is that the company that produced the best autographed buybacks in the past, Donruss, and the company who made the best this year, Upper Deck, both have lost their MLB license.
That got me thinking a lot about our love for licensed baseball cards. Why is it that we look down on cards that feature logos airbrushed out? I know I absolutely hated the 2008 Donruss releases for this exact reason.
Fine, I get that some teams have a certain mystique like the New York Yankees but does anyone really care to see an Orioles, Mariners, or Marlins logo on their baseball card? Perhaps baseball cards & logos are just too intertwined.
Can a non-licensed baseball card ever look good? Could Upper Deck find some way to keep Photoshop out of 2010 baseball products? Perhaps by finding an alternative to airbrushing logos. Even if they do, the days of autograph buybacks have more than likely come to an end.