As we were cleaning out my man room, we were looking at old baseball cards and noticed two major differences between them.    First of all, the pictures are less personal now than in the past.  Here is an example:

Which one to you is more personable?  Why not do the Spring Training closeup?  Topps can get pictures of any player in the franchise uniform, keep photographers on staff, send them down to Spring Training and get shots of everyone.  The only set that gets this right is . . . ironically, Topps Heritage, see below:

It really is just one thing that I think Topps needs to improve on.  Maybe it would make collecting cards more personable.  Next up I hate seeing team logos on the card to designate teams.  I prefer the spelling out of the team name (like 1986 Topps above).  I just think it gives a simpler tone to the card.  I feel like there is too much flash on the card.  It’s time to go simple.

What do you not like about the current card designs?


7 responses »

  1. Ryan says:

    Sometimes I miss the simpler designs and photos and at other times I really dig a great action shot.

    One thing I wouldn’t mind changing with new releases is the high-gloss surfaces. It’s tougher to stack during sorting without having some slide all over the place. It also makes on-card auto’s a little tougher by requiring specific ink to avoid bubbling, smearing, etc.

    I enjoy having a player’s name, position and team on the front. If I remember correctly, the new 2012 Topps doesn’t have the position on the front. But I’ll live!

  2. Paul says:

    I don’t think Topps has staff photographers any more (if they ever did.)

    For whatever reason, cardmakers got the idea that collectors prefer action shots. I’m sure many of them do. I’d rather see a mix of action and portrait shots – but I’d rather see a ‘standard’ action photo than a portrait photo where the player looks like he’d rather be *anywhere* else.

    For retro sets, I’d love to see Topps shell out the money for photographers to go to spring training with actual film cameras again… it’s never going to happen, though.

  3. bamlinden says:

    I think both have their strengths. Card photos these days can be exceptional. The action, the camera angles, the depth of field….all combined can create a stunning pic.

    A well framed, well thought out closeup can definitely appeal to me as well. But what I’m really looking for is a good candid shot. I hate those photos where the player just stares off into space.

    It’d be nice (like in the action shots) to have the player not know they are being photographed.

    The design of the card is a whole other ball of wax. Photos are the biggest element of a successful sportscard in my eyes though.

  4. Bill says:

    In trying to get action shots what I seem to notice is that the subject of the picture can get confused. Like there are two guys in the photo and you really don’t know if it’s the fielder who is the subject or the slider (just an example).

    Another thing I just noticed this weekend. Nyjer Morgan’s card this year is a replica of the SI cover (with him celebrating and Prince and Braun behind him). Seems kind of lazy. Its like the duplicate Blue Jay cards from the last two years (I think it was Aaron Hill).

    I like the action shots if they are done in an interesting way. I don’t mind a few portraits thrown in but not the whole set. And I would love to see more candids.

  5. blueshorse says:

    I’ve really loved the multiple player cards. 68 topps Superstars .Mantle,Mays,Killebrew
    57 Topps World series foes Aaron, Mantle and of course 62 Topps Managers Dream Mays and Mantle. < In the background behind Mantle and Mays you clearly see Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks standing next to eachother. <Thats about as cool as a card can get !
    Topps Heritage release has encorporated the old style with the Managers Dream -Pujols and Braun.etc.
    Just copying the vintage style is ok but Topps should do the multi player format on a new design.
    Maybe theres just not enough Mantle's,Aaron's,Mays',Musial's and Clemente's anymore to create such fantastic cards.
    Actually repeating the 62 Topps "wood grain" look just shows the lack of inspiration and creativity at Topps.
    Baseball cards along with MLB will never again have the excitment of the players and card designs of years past.

  6. Mike D says:

    I think in the spectrum of both worlds colliding, those early Upper Deck sets were pretty much the people pleaser when it came to photography. You had shots like the ’89 Griffey and McGwire shots, which were great. The action shots were excellent for that time period when digital (and huge frames per second) were not yet utilized which made cards like the 3x shots (Ryan, etc.) really groundbreaking. I also think to cards like the 1991 Upper Deck baseball set that had Carlton Fisk and Robin Ventura standing inside an unfinished (U.S. Cellular Field) in their retro unis. And some of the older Upper Deck Michael Jordan cards were iconic.
    I’m not a big fan of the spring training zombie photos, which completely reminds me of ’88 Topps. As much as that Nolan Ryan ’86 Topps card has its place, the card that really stands out in that set is the Don Mattingly card. Great action shot, showing what Donnie Baseball was famous for doing.
    I also agree on the Heritage shots being done at spring training with film. PhotoShop has filters for that now, but it still would at least keep with the vintage theme.

  7. Top sliver says:

    One big change I’ve noticed over the years is the picture on the back of the card. They used to be more “colorful” than they are now. I didn’t actually collect cards as a kid but there are so many blogs (like amongst others) I’ve come to appreciate the kitch of the older cards. Damn youthful ignorance!

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