Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Modern resurrection

Not a lot in the way of pics in this post, my scanner is still out of commission.  Not sure when I will get a new one.

Anyway, you might have read a recent post about a bunch of Mark McGwire cards sent to me by Matt over at Sport Card Collectors.  The thing about these particular McGwires was that they were all from 2010 or newer.  Which is a section of my McGwire collection that lags way behind his playing days.  That's OK by me, because I prefer playing days cards whenever possible!  But as I tried to enter the new cards into tcdb.com, I was shocked to see how many newer McGwires there were!

According to tcdb.com, here are the total number of McGwire cards produced for each year since 1985:

Year # of cards produced Comments
1985 4 Rookie card
1986 2
1987 41
1988 263
1989 166
1990 87
1991 78
1992 75
1993 111
1994 55
1995 86
1996 179
1997 378
1998 1015 Traded to Cardinals mid season
1999 1372 The Mac and Sosa year
2000 692
2001 404
2002 300 Retired after 2001, so the 02 cards are his last playing days cards
2003 91
2004 11
2005 2
2006 0 No cards for 3 years!!
2007 0
2008 0
2009 1
2010 44
2011 5
2012 7
2013 35
2014 396 Wow!  Big jump!
2015 484
2016 510
2017 538
2018 648 More than all but 3 of his playing years!
2019 545
2020 186 This number was 107 three weeks ago. 79 new McGwire cards in 3 weeks!
Total 8811

So as you might be guessing, what I really want to talk about is the proliferation of retired players in today's hobby.  I know it is rampant, and I know that some cool cards are being made, but wow!!

Definitely not the hobby I grew up in.  On the rare occasions that retired players were available in packs growing up, they were usually throw ins or had a special theme.  Topps did the MVP retrospectives in 75 and some all-time greats cards around then (before my time).

Upper Deck started with some retired insert subsets in the early 90's.  Like the Hank Aaron retrospectives.

But this is a whole 'nuther ballgame!

In the last 7 years, McGwire has had 3307 different cards produced (parallels included).  That is 767 more than his first 14 years as a player (85-98)!  And McGwire is by no means the most produced of the retired players.  I'd almost hate to see the numbers on Cal Ripken or Mickey Mantle.

What is driving this phenomenon?  What drives anything in the hobby?  Dollar signs!!  The card companies gotta find a way to sell the 50+ major releases we get on a yearly basis.  (Don't believe me?  Check out tcdb.com's list of major releases for 2019)

Ok, OK.  Gotta calm down.  What are the positives?  Well, I can think of a few.

  • We get some beautiful cards of players we love.  
  • Player collectors can go after a whole new batch of cards every year (though who can get 600+ cards of their favorite in a calendar year???).
  • More people get acquainted with baseball history, something I dearly love.

What are the positives of lots of cards of retired players for you??

Well, it aint gonna change, at least not until the world changes somehow.  So I guess I should embrace it.  And I did enjoy the cards Matt sent, even though they were post-playing days.  But I don't think I will ever hold cards of retired players in the same light as those from their playing days.  That's my two cents and get off my lawn, hehe!


  1. I see the Hank Aaron Baseball Heroes card and have to ask a question. I am trying to build the various Baseball Heroes sets. Do you have any of these cards to trade?

    1. I probably do. I'll look through some stuff and see if I can find any.

  2. I see it similar to you. My main focus is the player's cards from during his career for sure. I enjoy some of the newer offerings, but don't go out of my way to go after them generally.

  3. Interesting! Tino is getting a similar treatment too.

  4. Holy cow. 79 new McGwire cards in 3 weeks? That's a bit excessive. But like you stated... it gives you and other Big Mac fans cards to chase.

  5. I knew there were a lot of Macs in newer products but that's a lot of burgers. If I add anymore of the newer ones, though not your preference, I will pass them along to ya!