Internet Killed the Baseball Card Industry?

Like many young kids, I spent most of my allowance money when I was young collecting baseball cards. Heading up to the grocery store every Friday after school with my allowance and spending it on candy and cards….mostly cards.

By the time I got into high school I had better things to spend my money on and card collecting was something I gave up…but I held onto all my old cards.

Fast forward….14 years…wow I’m getting old…but my son is getting interested in sports and I bought him some baseball cards and he fell in love with it. The old shop I used to buy from was STILL THERE even though you can’t hardly buy cards anywhere and it seems all other local shops have closed. I talked with the owner a bit and from the rumors of the internet killed the baseball card industry was actually more from greed, mass production, and misleading consumers. The internet, however, played a huge hand in uncovering what happened.

Basically from what I understand, most people were like me and kept all their cards and the card makers produced millions upon millions of them. Saturating the market over about a 20 year period. Remember that “rare” rookie card you thought you had that no one else did? Well, turns out pretty much everyone had it. Turn to eBay…

You want that Griffey rookie card from 1989 Upper Deck? Just goto eBay and you’ll find 100 of them any day of the week. Oooooooooooooops. Guess they made too many and they really aren’t rare. And when you look at production numbers, yup, that’s the case.

The bottom fell out of the card market and many went out of business including many card manufacturers, not just your local shops.

Doing more research I feel what is out there today is a good product. Both for older people that can spend hundreds of dollars on cards and want rare and autographed cards…and there is still some produced in mass for kids. My son is collecting the $1.79 packs of Topps baseball cards while dad is collecting the $120 per pack Bowman Inception cards (if you’re interested, ask me). It’s a hobby that was nearly destroyed not by the internet but by the manufacturers and it was exposed by the internet.

That got me thinking, how many other industries have been flat out ruined or replaced by the internet? Things like cards that you wouldn’t think have a direct correlation…unlike smart phones or cell phones replacing home phones.

News travels fast these days and back then, we were just kids collecting cards which in our circle of friends we were led to believe were rare, and they really weren’t.