July 26, 2008

How to Make Relics Mean Something Again

Here's a funny thing to consider: the term "relic" means something from a bygone era, or of historical interest. Only recently has it taken on the connotations of game-used memorabilia. And only really recently has the term come to mean both: cards with game-used jersey swatches and bat shavings are in such proliferation that the idea no longer seems fresh.

So how do we remedy the situation? There's the argument that companies create less of these cards, but telling someone interested in making a profit to create less of something rings too naive. Instead, what if companies begin Game-Date Stamping?

A year ago I was all up in arms because Topps rammed the Generation NOW insert set down the hobby's throat. But there was an interesting idea at the root of those cards: the celebration of an individual achievement. The problem was that it was replicated ad nauseam. But what if companies married the two––relic cards and Generation NOW--together?

I read yesterday that Major League Baseball is asking teams to collect all the bats that break over the course of this season. Card companies should buy up those broken bats, keep records of those games in which they broke, and then serial-stamp the date of the game onto cards containing a shaving of the broken bat.

Let me put it another way. Which would you rather have: A bat card of Jason Varitek, or a bat card of Jason Varitek stamped with the game date of the bat's final use? I think Game-Date Stamping would inject life into the state of game-used memorabilia cards.


Anonymous said...

I gotta say, that makes some good sense . It brings meaning to the cards and ties the collector to an actual moment. It takes away all that pretense of "this an official jersey worn for a photo shoot" feel.

William Noetling said...

That's a great idea! I still get a tiny thrill each time I pull a jersey card, but after so many years of so many mediocre jersey card designs they now make me go "meh!" most of the time.

It would be much better if the card companies would own up to the origin of the item embedded in the card as well. Used to be that they'd at least say "this jersey is certified to have been worn by the player on front in a MLB game". Now they just have a legal disclaimer covering their butts.

Joey said...

Knowing the game information for a GU Piece would be great. You could really end up with some real chases trying to collect cards with jersey or bat pieces from gear that was used in a game you attended. That would be way cool.

cory-apn said...

That is a damn good idea.

Pastor Justin said...

This isn't a new idea. Donruss did this in the past with some football cards. I have a Tony Gonzalez GU Ball and on the back it states the game vs. the Broncos and the date that the game occured.

I think this should be mandatory actually for all jersey/bat/ball cards.

Captain Canuck said...

I've always wanted this... maybe not a "stamp" but a story or blurb on the back detailing what game it was worn/used etc... a lot better that some CEO's replica signature and legaleeze taking up the entire back. (i'm looking at you Upper Deck)

capewood said...

Great idea. I like the captain's suggestion as well. There have been some relic cards in the past which featured a photo of the bat or jersey from which the relic was take. I like that idea too. Let's do all three!

Patrick said...

Think of the implications ... Would have to list the pitcher so we don't have too look it up. Would a bat broken by Adam Eaton and a bat broken by Mariano Rivera have the same value? I don't think so ...

What if a player like Chase Utley who mainly uses one bat until it breaks, hits his 200th HR and breaks the bat in his next at bat?

Very interesting possibilities. Would work with shoes, gloves and more.

Maybe the ESPN Brand could reappear and make a Web Gems set with items from the players featured on Web Gems.

Nah ... that stuff could never happen