I remember when game used jersey cards, game used bat cards and the like came out, and I was quite surprised. I left card collecting in 1993 but returned in 2007 for about a year, then left again, returning in 2013. My first swatch card came from a box of Upper Deck, and another from a box of Fleer. One was a Roberto Clemente card the other a Roy Campanella card. I remember being surprized in pulling them and a bit bewildered.
Why did they put these pieces of history into cards? It seemed like another gimmick like the signature inserts from the 90s. But, for me, it seemed to have a more drastic result. What popped into my head was not, “Coool, I got an awesome card with a piece of history included,” but, “Shit, did they cut up and destroy a rare collectible to put pieces of it inside different baseball cards?” What a punishable offense if they did. Why would anyone want a card like this? I read up on the introduction and proliferation of game used memorabilia cards and found out that yes, the card companies were buying up bats and jerseys and other memorabilia at auction in order to cut them up to put pieces of them into cards.
Let me ask a question, are they insane? Why is anyone putting up with this crap?
A piece of jersey or bat in a card holds no real significance.When you look at it it means nothing. It looks like a piece of wood or material, that’s it. It doesn’t look like a jersey or a bat. So when these items of baseball history are cut up it serves no purpose. The jersey or bat when intact shows the viewer what that bat or jersey actually looked like. You get a feeling of historical significance when you look at it. This does not occur with a small one inch by one inch piece of that item.
To further my point, here is a picture of a Babe Ruth game worn jersey circa 1920s:
It sold for 4.4 million recently. Now when you look at it, and understand this is just a picture of it, you get a feeling of wow, Babe Ruth actually wore that jersey, how cool is that?
Now imagine some ass buys it for $4.4 million and then cuts it up into 500 pieces and puts these pieces into insert cards in packs of Upper Deck or Topps. Man, I would want to slap the people who did it. But these cards do exist:
Or how about this jersey of Ty Cobb which sold for $385,500 recently:
Now imagine some idiot decides to start cutting it up to make this card:
Wouldn’t that kinda piss you off? I wonder how many of these important pieces of baseball history have been destroyed over the years so that card companies can pull in some serious money from collectors. When you look at a jersey card do you get a feeling of what it was like to wear that jersey in a game 100 years ago, or 50 years ago? Not really correct?
What is even sadder is that there are literally millions of these cards made over the last decade, to the point that they hold no special significance in the hobby anymore. They have become the same as any other card. I hope the card companies stop destroying history before all the older memorabilia has disappeared into cards.