Topps’ Lawsuit Ends Canseco’s Comeback

Author: Mario Alejandro

Last year after Upper Deck lost their MLB license I remember having a somber conversation with a U.D employee. In a story I wrote, I labeled the new Upper Deck as “underdogs” but was told that now without MLB breathing down their necks they would have more freedom to produce cards collectors really wanted.

I found out just what they meant when I broke the news that Jose Canseco, baseball’s whipping boy for exposing cheaters in the game, would make his official Hobby return in 2010 in Upper Deck’s very popular Goudey line. While Jose has had a card in a Razor and Creative Concepts brand, to a true collector it’s just not the same unless it bears a Topps or U.D. logo.

Well, I just received the sad news that not only is Jose’s return to trading cards cancelled, the popular Goudey line will also not see the light of day. This now means that Upper Deck’s best two retro-themed lines, Masterpieces and Goudey, are now history. While collectors still go gaga over Topps’ Allen & Ginter, it would have been nice to see Upper Deck respond with their own version even in these clearly tough times.

When I left my full-time blogging position at Wax Heaven, Upper Deck had lost baseball and basketball. Since my part-time return, I’ve seen Upper Deck lose football (sorry Gellman) and have heard really scary rumors about the future of the company, including tales of a looming bankruptcy. While I knew this year would be a rough one for the guys in Carlsbad, California, I never imagined it would come to this.

In sports, every once in a while we are treated to shocking victories by the underdog. My all-time favorite is “Buster” Douglas’ knockout win over an undefeated and in his prime Mike Tyson and the spanking the New York Yankees received at the hands of my Florida Marlins in 2003 (can’t buy every championship, guys). Unfortunately, more  often than we’d like to remember, the underdog puts up a good fight but ultimately succumbs to the giant, which in this case is Topps Company.

I’m not saying I’m giving up on Upper Deck just yet but if 2011 rolls around and all I see is Topps MLB trading cards on my Target shelf (what’s a card shop?), it wouldn’t be the biggest shock of my collecting lifetime, which by the way began in 1990 with a Jose Canseco Upper Deck card I still own.


6 thoughts on “Topps’ Lawsuit Ends Canseco’s Comeback

  1. Ugh. Now I feel worse about no Goudey this year. I don’t know about anyone else but I am bored shitless with Topps and Heritage.

  2. Great article and very true. I felt the same way when the NHL went exclusive with Upper Deck. I missed the Topps, Score and O-Pee-Chee cards. I have to admit I’m not a fan of exclusive licenses.

  3. While I’d hate to see Upper Deck disappear for good, it’s tough to feel any sympathy because they’ve brought this all upon themselves and they’ve pulled off a lot of shady things that didn’t do any favors to collectors. If Topps were smart, they’d bring in some of their designers, especially those that worked on the high end stuff, and strengthen their brand.

  4. I’m a hoops collectors and obviously UD lost their NBA rights, but they still have UD Authenticated and do pretty well there. I like what Panini has come out with in their first year (upcoming stuff looks really good), but I wish UD was still making NBA stuff too (I miss UD Black).

    It seems like UD made some poor decisions, but another company will quickly move in on their turf. I just don’t know if they can live up to the great design of UD’s higher-end stuff.

    P.S. the New York Yankees reinvest the money THEY make into their team to actually win, not just compete. They also invest money into every other MLB team due to L. Tax and increased ticket sales every time they play an away game (got to defend the 27 time World Champs).

  5. I was just at a show and a dealer had the Famous Fabrics 1/1 that had Canseco, Oliva, and two others on it. He said that someone offered him $100 for it. I told him that if put it on ebay, he’d do better than that. I think that’s the newest card that he has out there right now.

  6. Funny, just saw that he put the card on ebay and it got $105 BIN. Maybe he should have started it low and let it build up the old fashioned way.

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