Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Now THIS is a Jersey Card

A couple of days ago Ben Henry over at The Baseball Card Blog wrote a thoughtful piece about how to make memorabilia cards interesting again. He argues - and I agree - that jersey and game pieces should be dated. It will create a connection between the collector and the card, something that is vital to keep people in the hobby and to bring new ones in.

For me it would also build some trust in the authenticity of said relic and that it was actually used by the featured player and not someone else on the team. For example, I have a 2008 Upper Deck Baseball UD Jersey of Melvin Mora sitting in front of me. The authenticity statement on the back reads:

Congratulations! You have received a Melvin Mora Game-Used baseball card. On the front of this card is a piece of memorabilia that has been certified to us as having been used in an official Major League Baseball game. We hope you enjoy this piece of MLB history as we continue to keep you as close as you can get!
Read through the legal language and it's not clear if the fabric is from Mora. It's also a piece of "memorabilia" so it could even be a piece of pant fabric. I don't really care because it's just another jersey card of a player I don't collect. Although I like them to a certain extent, there's nothing new about it. And that goes the same for just about every other jersey card out there.

A decade ago, jersey cards were cool. It didn't matter if they were plain white or blue, they were the thing to have. And if you got a pinstripe - GASP! Although I never could figure out why a White Sox or Yankees pinstripe was concerned rare considering pinstripes would make them more common. Maybe it was a Joe Collector thing.

The market was quickly saturated and even casual collectors found themselves with literally piles of plain grey and blue pieces of cloth. So in order to get us excited again, it was cards featuring multiple swatches. Then patches. Then multiple patches and jersey swatches cut to spell words. Let's face it - no matter how many swatches are on a card, if they're dime-sized and one colour, they're probably pretty boring.

That said, this came in the mail today:

Sure, it's plain grey. But look at the size of that thing. It actually is a jersey card. Better yet, UD CEO Richard P. McWilliam assures me on the back that this is a jersey swatch from Rich Harden. Yay! It's going to be added to my random collection of Canadians. Bonus points to Harden for being from my home town.

So plain jersey cards can be cool. I still wouldn't want more than a couple from any given player, but it's something.

1 comment:

jv said...

Jersey Card? I think you might have an entire jersey in that thing...

That's huge!