Editor’s Blog: Panini’s Bold Move, FL Card Shop Closing, Choir Director Sings Hobby’s Praises

While we don’t know yet whether Panini’s move to eliminate traditional redemption cards from its products will go over well with collectors, at least 2013-14 Panini Prizm boxthey’re doing something about what’s been a pox on collecting for way too long.

Panini doesn’t have an MLB license and so not all of the hobby’s problems will be solved with Tuesday’s announcement of the Rewards program.  Players are still too lazy when it comes to signing their cards and that fact isn’t going away.  At least, though, it’s something that won’t hang over Panini’s head anymore.  They can focus on making their Rewards program as good as it can be, thanks to having a little more control over ‘hits’.

Collectors probably won’t ‘miss’ anything.  You can’t miss what you never had and the guess is that having a choice in what your big pull might be will appeal to a lot of collectors.

It certainly has to be better than a year or two-year wait.


Jim BlinkhornHis shop opened during the peak of the ‘hobby boom’ era nearly 23 years ago but Jim Blinkhorn’s 7th Inning Stretch in Dunnellon, FL, was one of the survivors when the boom went bust for many.

His shop was a neighborhood hangout, whether it was baseball card collectors congregating to open packs of the newest product, old timers coming through to see if there were any vintage cards or those who preferred comic books and gaming cards.  7th Inning Stretch carried it all.

Some of his regulars began coming as kids in the 1990’s and are still good customers today.

Come this spring, they’ll have to find a new hangout.

The business is closing next week.

Find out why at Ocala.com.


Paul Johnson can belt out a tune and knows how to get teenagers to do it, too.  He’s the choir director for Blue Earth Area High School in Minnesota.

Away from the music sheets, though, he’s all about cards, autographs and other stuff.

Johnson was a devoted collector as a kid, then returned to the hobby with a fervor while attending St. Olaf College.

You can find him at the Vikings training camp tracking down autographs in the summer when he’s not building the other parts of his collection.

The local paper tracked him down for this story.


While they still haven’t released a baseball set despite owning an MLBPA license, Upper Deck did announce plans for another college football product on Tuesday.  The company will produce an SEC football set to be released later this year.  It’ll include autographs of past greats and some from the not too distant past as well.