May 10, 2006, - 4:33 pm

Hint of a Warped Society: Baseball Cards Outta Style

By Debbie Schlussel
I still have my “Wacky Packs”, “Charlie’s Angels”, “Star Wars”, “Monkees” and “Bionic Woman/Six Million Dollar Man” card collections. And there’s my football cards of Jack Kemp. I like the first group better. They have kitsch and cheesiness value. The Kemp cards went down in value when he lost his Presidential and Vice Presidential runs. Their value declined much more, when Jack Kemp became a blow-hard supporter of illegal aliens and race preferences for minorities.
Today’s Wall Street Journal has a fascinating story (reprint of the WSJ story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) about how baseball cards have gone out of style and how pro baseball players–eager to save a source of good licensing income–are trying to make them hip again.

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Wacky Packs Trading Cards (from the Schlussel collection)

To them, I say good luck. Part of the coolness of baseball cards was that they were not mass-manufactured the way the became in the 80s and beyond. Those cards hold little value. Plus, it’s very difficult in this culture of IPods, “Pussycat Dolls” porn dolls for 6-year-olds, and hip-hop pimp daddy stars, for something as innocent and benign as baseball cards to get noticed.
The players’ union, the Major League Baseball Players Association, is launching its first-ever television ad campaign to try to lure kids and adults, the Journal reports. They’re spending $3 million dollars on it, and the card manufacturers are spending $4 mill. I say it’s money down a black hole.
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But I hope I’m wrong. Collecting cards is far more recommended for today’s young boys than collecting tattoos, hip-hop CDs, teacher-girlfriends, and STDs.
Unfortunately, for our coarsened, defining-deviancy-down society, it’s an uphill battle not just for baseball cards . . . but for our entire civilization.

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5 Responses

Perhaps because I’m older than you, Debbie, I thought Kemp a blow-hard long before this latest slide down the slope to his oblivion. I can’t imagine how the man ever managed to call a play in a huddle before time expired. Yada, yada, yada…

Bachbone on May 10, 2006 at 9:16 pm

WACKY PACKSÖthose were hilarious! As far as Iím concerned TOPPS didnít make enough of them~
BASEBALL died a long time ago, right after the Jays won the World Series back-to-back and the Expos were poised to win the following yearÖthen the strikeÖand the lost seasonÖand declining fan interest EVER SINCE.
At least, here in Canada.
SPORTS CARDS are better designed than everÖmultiple images of great photographyÖhigh-end graphicsÖsuperb card layoutÖbetter production papers, and better inks usedÖyetÖFIZZLEÖFIZZLEÖlittle fan interest.
In the 50sÖteachers were concerned about kids sticking gum under their desk.
In the new millennium, teachers are worried about studentís rampant drug use, teen pregnancy, AIDS and being assaulted by their students!
Given that ARENAÖkids have no time for baseball cards todayÖtheyíll be lucky to survive!
YOU SAID ìUnfortunately, for our coarsened, defining-deviancy-down society, it’s an uphill battle not just for baseball cards . . . but for our entire civilization.î
HOW TRUE!
Iíve noticed SANE religious parents are continually CHECKING THEIR KIDS OUT of the ìmainstreamî and opting for all the traditional entertainment (cards, board games etc.) BUTÖwith a religious theme. Not just amongst Catholics though. I had clients to support in an Evangelical and Jewish bookstore and the trend is there as well.
Some of these NEW KIDS Iíve encountered know the Bible, the teaching of The Church and can defend their faith amazingly!
Where did these kids come from?
Baseball canít find fan support ANYMORE from either the religious families or the ìchildren of the lieî because BASEBALL no longer speaks EITHER of their languages!
RECONSTRUCTION of the society we once knew is proving impossible.
But it starts with the FAMILY.
Thatís Godís CHOSEN weapon against the ìillsî of THIS world.

The Canadien on May 10, 2006 at 10:03 pm

Wow, like a trip down nostalgia lane. I remember Whacky Packs, Steve Austin before the name got associated with a wrestler, and those Clackers (2 marble like balls on the end of a string that you hit together in a rhythmic flow)that eventually got banned from the school yard because they made for good weapons, but I never knew they had Welcome Back Kotter cards. What does a Horshack go for on ebay?

Canadian Infidel on May 10, 2006 at 11:24 pm

ROFL..Who’d ever thought you collected the stuff Debbie.
I still have a lot of mine somewhere too, even Star Wars, Star Trek and I got some oddities too such as The Dark Crystal (I dont know what I was thinking back then :-/
In easy reach though, I have my most prized possessions…
My Mark Messier and Brian Leetch rookie cards….
Worth more to than the real world is willing to pay for them….

Avatar on May 11, 2006 at 12:24 am

Right next to a restaurant I was at last night there was a convenience store with a big poster saying “Wacky Packs are back!” with some examples. So maybe baseball cards CAN make a comeback….

hairymon on May 12, 2006 at 7:27 am

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