Am I A Joke To You?

Twenty-one years ago, Jose Canseco was pushed out of Major League Baseball. Topps Company, who was still years away from their monopoly reign, followed suit and stopped producing cards of Jose not long after, in the same way that they stopped the presses on Pete Rose. As a Canseco Super Collector, the pickings were slim but something amazing happened in 2014, Jose was back in the good graces of the now official MLB trading card company, Topps. The first few issues featured some wonderful, never before seen photographs. I couldn’t have been happier as a collector.

Unfortunately, a lot can happen in 8 years. For starters, Topps massively overproduced Canseco autographs. Where once upon a time, Canseco certified autographs (non-numbered) sold in the range of $70-$80, these days you can find them dirty cheap for well under $20 thanks to a never-ending wave of new signatures in nearly every Topps release. Worst of all, since 2014, Topps has used Getty Images for their photographs and for one reason or another, keep going back to the same 4-5 images for essentially, over 500 different Jose Canseco baseball cards.

Below is 2022 Topps Gypsy Queen, one of my least favorite Topps products ever. This year’s design is neat, although I’m not sure the world needs another Jose Canseco certified autograph ever again. As for the image, it’s one Topps has used over and over again in products such as Stadium Club, Five Star, and others. It’s been used to death, and you’ll be surprised to know Getty Images has had over 400 new images of Jose Canseco uploaded to their hub since 2014. So, either Topps has an unlimited license for a small amount of images they paid for … or they just do not care.

This is why I have stopped supporting Topps with my money or anything else for the matter. I understand it is a luxury to be able to pull ANY Jose Canseco card in 2022 considering he’s been retired for over two decades and is a complete fool even in his old age … but for the premium price tag of new product, there should be some attention paid to design and photography selection. The way things are going with Fanatics, specifically the decisions being made by Josh Luber, it’s not going to be a good decade of collecting for me and other super collector of retired players.

Further reading: Photograph Recycling: Sign of the Times or Financial Ruin?

2 thoughts on “Am I A Joke To You?

  1. I think part of the problem is the obsession with “action” photography. Yes, I love a good action photo. That photograph is eye-catching and it’s not surprising to see it used repeatedly. Compared to the 1960s when *every* card featured a posed photo, the mixing of posed and action shots in the 1970s was great. But now, a posed photo (or even a candid, non-game photo, such as a player in the dugout laughing with teammates) is seen as boring, when in my mind it’s a refreshing change of pace to card after card of “batter batting” and “pitcher pitching” photos. Even the “fielder fielding” photos become a little redundant. So I say, “Bring back the batting cage cards!”

    Of course, most collectors are not clamoring for the candid “behind the scenes” cards, so they are rare–especially in the case of the big names. And really there is not a huge difference between the photo of Canseco swinging posted above and a hundred others that are perhaps from different at-bats, different games, wearing different uniforms…they’re all Canseco swinging. So why spend more money on similar photos when you can just re-use the one for which you already purchased rights?

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