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Ramblings: Beckett’s Focus on the ‘Now’ is Understandable

Although I write quite a bit about my days at Beckett, I don’t usually write very often about anything happening at the company at present. One reason is I don’t want to sound like a know-it-all and the other reason is since I still know many people working in the Dallas office, I really try to be careful about anything I say. However, recently some news has been announced which, as a long-time hobbyist and background with the company, I feel I can put into some historical context.

Beckett Magazine July 2014The first thing, and the one for which I’m most qualified to write about, was based on posts on a couple of hobby message boards that Beckett was no longer going to be pricing pre-2001 cards in their baseball price guide magazine. Rich Ramblings 2014

My first reaction was the same as a famous Fred Talbot line in Ball Four
when he was getting hammered on the mound: “What took you so long?”

While nothing has been officially decided as Beckett tries to experiment with what a formula that works, but doesn’t cost too much to produce, it’s not as if vintage card pricing has been a huge part of the monthly guides.

By the time I started at the company way back in 1990, the entire 1948-1979 world of sports cards was covered in about three pages of each issue.

Granted, the newsprint was larger and more readable, but most of the pages even then covered cards that had been issued over the last ten years or so.

And if you think about all that, it made sense.

Think about this.  In 1990 there were probably less than a dozen players with pre-1980 cards that might actually have price movement from month-to-month based on their major league activities.  In our group baseball magazine meetings, Dr. Beckett would always say , “The real action is in the recent year cards.”  That concept is still true nearly a quarter century later.

Long before the All-Star break, we will have gotten George Springer, Jose Abreu and Masahiro Tanaka rookie cards on the market, all of which help to bring tremendous interest into the 2014 issues. That is also exactly what the licensors want. Everyone wants rookie cards when the players are actually rookies. A great comparison is current home run leader Edwin Encarnacion who actually had rookie cards back in 2001, long before he became an established major leaguer.

And while our readers love reading about the old school cards we feature often in our columns on this site, many collectors are just as thrilled when we talk about Mike Trout or Bryce Harper or Yu Darvish.

Keep in mind, there are still publications and guides on the market that can help price vintage cards and Beckett’s Chris Olds says the pricing from 1948-80 will return for the next issue…so stay tuned.

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As the 30th anniversary from the 1st Beckett Baseball magazine approaches, this line was put on the Beckett web site:  “Connect with us at the upcoming, 35th National Sports Convention in Cleveland in July/Aug 2014. Don’t forget to browse our website for upcoming activities and the most exciting offers.”

I hope, just as mentioned with the article on SGC, that many of these offers do not cost the customer any money out of their pocket. Perhaps a contest about which card you would like to get graded.  How about a vote for the five most influential cards of the last 30 years with the winner receiving a free online price guide subscription for life?

Simple things, but sometimes handing out presents is the best way to celebrate an anniversary.

About Rich Klein

Rich Klein has spent almost his entire life collecting baseball cards having begun at the tender age of seven. He has spent more than three decades in the organized hobby including editing the first 12 editions of the Beckett Almanac of Baseball Card and Collectibles. He lives in Plano, TX along with his wife Dena and their two dogs. You can reach him at [email protected].

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