The Underdogs in the Fight Versus Topps

Part one on the Twitter Poll can be found here.

With just two days left, it appears that the official winner of the Twitter Poll will be Upper Deck. While that came as a shock to someone who was in the front line the day Upper Deck’s MLB license was revoked … I am more surprised by the voting results for Panini America and Leaf Trading Cards.

I will start with Panini America, who was my front-runner at one point of regaining their MLB license (as Donruss) and taking the baseball card crown from Topps. You see, as the self-appointed Nostalgia Card Blogger, Donruss’ roots run deep in my card collecting life. Simply put, I grew up on cheap packs of Donruss.

Dick Perez’ ugly Diamond King inserts and Donruss’ flagships were part of my younger collecting days year after year so the fact that Panini America has the Donruss license and is making the most with the cards they have been dealt with, is something I am more than happy to support.

Unfortunately, my opinion of Panini America changed last month thanks to a Twitter paid advertisement which opened my eyes to their business practice during the time I was away from the hobby. Suddenly, my belief that Panini America could be a competitor to Topps’ monopoly is on very shaky ground.

I just hope that they spent the next two years assuring collectors that yes, mistakes have been made but that they are working to make sure things that have been featured on that website are in the past and they are working on fixing their reputation. Panini’s company blog is a great step in that direction.

With two days left to vote, Panini is in 2nd place with 21% of the vote.

 

As for my own vote, Twitter, for some reason did not allow me to have one. If I were able to vote, it would have gone to Leaf Trading Cards. Simply put, my very last card purchase four years ago was a Leaf Trading Card and from the looks of it, my first dollar that I choose to spend on cards in 2018 will likely be on a Leaf product. Simply put, it is clear that Leaf is putting actual thought into the design of their cards and it shows. That is why I am shocked that they finished last in the poll with just 8% of the votes.

It’s no secret, I have been away from the hobby for nearly three years. I am having to once again learn all the lingo, what’s popular, what’s not, etc. Unless I am missing some awful hobby-related crime the guys at Leaf committed, the only explanation for Leaf’s low number of votes has to be due to lack of brand recognition. Sure, we bloggers and old school collectors know all about Leaf but it is Panini America and Topps products that litter retail shelves. Call me crazy, but this upcoming Leaf Pearl product looks like an early contender for product of 2018, although technically it comes from 2017.

 

I can only imagine the type of hobby magic a licensed, Leaf Trading Cards company could create in 2021. Of course, we will likely never know if collectors who are fed up with Topps (and there are many) and those like me who want to see competition in our hobby don’t speak up. In two years and change, MLB will either re-new Topps’ exclusive contract and continue this awful monopoly or it will grant a license to one or more companies. If you believe collectors should have a choice when it comes to card collecting, it is time to start a movement.

It doesn’t matter if you are #TeamUpperDeck or #TeamPanini or like me, #TEAMPINNACLE, we must start the movement now so Major League Baseball knows how us collectors who are spending our hard-earned money feel. Now, if you are fine with having nothing but Topps products for the rest of your life, so be it. I love some of Topps’ brands but I want to see what Upper Deck, Panini America, and Leaf Trading Cards could do given the same opportunities Topps Company has been granted.

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