Wednesday, November 27, 2013


"Sprawling on the fringes of the city/ In geometric order/ An insulated border/ In between the bright lights and the far unlit unknown./ Growing up it all seems so one-sided/ opinions all provided/ the future pre-decided/ Detached and subdivided in the mass production zone/ Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone. Subdivisions. In the high school halls/ in the shopping malls/ conform or be cast out..."~ Subdivisions- from the Rush album, Signals

2013 Topps The Greats #TG11 - John Smoltz - Courtesy of COMC.com2012 Topps Five Star Retired Autographs #JS - John Smoltz/208 - Courtesy of COMC.com2013 Topps Museum Collection Blue #44 - John Smoltz/99 - Courtesy of

2011 Topps Marquee #77 - Hank Aaron - Courtesy of

Thanks to the wonders of the internet and, particularly, You Tube, many of us who grew up as teenagers in the 1980s have been able to recapture the days of when MTV actually played music videos. So, taking a trip down memory lane recently, I came across a video that I haven't seen in, oh, I don't know- 28 years or something like that. The song, Subdivisions, is one of the more popular ones by Canadian prog-rock (progressive rock, that is) band Rush and, as the wikipedia entry states, is a song that "is a commentary on societal pressure to adopt a certain lifestyle, whether the 'cool' youth culture or a comfortable, mundane suburban existence in a housing subdivision. Anyone who does not conform to these expectations is regarded as an outcast." So as I considered the lyrics and watched the video showing suburban houses which all looked the same, I thought of the current (licensed) baseball card industry; I also thought that the message behind the song works as a great prompt.

It's not that I don't like the designs that Topps has used for its various products in recent years- I do like most of them. But with using many of the same photos, borders which look quite similar, etc. there's nothing to really distinguish one year or set from the other. They begin to blend into one another much like the cookie-cutter houses one finds in most subdivisions.

I've touched on this previously, and am certainly not trying to convert anyone- but I can't help but have a soft spot in my heart for some of the newer non-licensed MLB products. I know many collectors want nothing to do with cards that cannot show logos or team nicknames, and that's their hobby right, but those who do so are really missing out on some great stuff. I've recently picked up a few more offerings from Panini...


  1. Great song. Great post. It's mind boggling that Topps would use that same photo of Smoltz on four different cards. At the same time, I'll still take that over the logoless cards printed by Panini. Panini may not reuse photo over and over... but their different product designs often resemble each other (at least in basketball and football).

    1. That's the great thing about collecting- some people can't stand certain products while others think they're the greatest thing since Donruss and Fleer hit the scene. I haven't paid much attention to the football and basketball products they've produced in recent years, but I certainly respect your opinion! Oh, and I can kind of get it when Topps uses a photo of an old-timer (say Stan Musial, for instance) because there may not be much to choose from (and there's no excuse for Aaron's photo's: should be plenty!)- but not using different Smoltz photos is just ridiculous. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Fuji!

    2. 100% Without a little variety among collectors... things might get a little stale. And in reality... likes and interests are constantly changing for me as a collector. 10 years ago, I didn't like the 86T or 89T designs. These days, I love them. Who knows... in 10 years, maybe I'll only be chasing logoless cardboard ;)

      Have a wonderful and safe holiday season!