Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Magic Of The 2017 Baseball Card Season

Was it just me or was collecting baseball cards in 2017 insane?

I can't remember a time in my life when I walked into my card section at Walmart just to take a peek at what was available for baseball cards and all I saw was this...

Hear the crickets?
It was great for the hobby, just not for me and other collectors who sought product out to open if we didn't time it right.

Most of the time it wasn't just the availability of product either, it was the cost. A lot of people would go to retail outlets and buy them out just to sell them for twice online knowing they could get it. The dangers of supply and demand. Even hobby products were driven up in price because of how hot the 2017 season was.

Why was it so hot? Well it was driven by a rookie named Aaron Judge who nobody expected to be as good as he was. With every home run he hit, another retail product left the shelves after release and another hobby product went up in price.

Not since the Furby/Beanie Baby run of the 90's or the Cabbage Patch doll run of the 80's have I seen such craze.
I still have some of my Beanie Babies that are only now worth the value I put on them
This isn't an original from the 80's, but a mid-90's mini toy doll that my wife still had
As the year went on Judge wasn't the only one driving products. There were other great rookies as well.

There was another guy named Cody Bellinger. The only problem with him, collectors had to wait on finding his cards as he didn't have any "true" rookie cards on the market until Walmart Exclusive Bowman Platinum was released. If you wanna talk about a fast sell out of a product, not sure I have ever seen one leave as fast as that one. I never even saw a wrapper.

Though Judge and Bellinger were the most sought after, that didn't mean they were alone in carrying the 2017 products. Not with names like Bregman (Astros), Moncada (White Sox), Bell (Pirates) and Benintendi (Red Sox) also played really well under the radar. You then throw in Rhys Hoskins who had a late season surge for the Phillies and was found in some late Bowman products and you have plenty of reasons for the chase.

What also continued to carry the 2017 MLB products was the home run chase between the Judge and Bellinger for the rookie record and the fact that the teams they played on could make a deep playoff run. Aaron Judge ended up winning the home run chase and set a rookie record of 52 home runs vs Bellinger's 39. However, Bellinger's Dodgers advanced to the World Series while the Yankees and Judge fell one short. 

It was a rookie season for the ages for those two and one for the ages for the baseball card market and most likely a record one for sales.

I even found myself falling into in the hype chasing down as many Aaron Judge cards I could trade for and finding myself watching/following baseball again and not just collecting it like I had been. The old days of baseball when I watching Ken Griffey Jr play and watching the Yanks had returned for me! All because of one season.

I know I wasn't alone in this either. I watched many collectors return last year to collecting baseball cards and newer ones at that including my father who had been only collecting vintage. He was drawn into the Bellinger and Judge hype as well and started his own chase for their cards. We even did a few trades to help each other out.

With 2018 Topps Series one just a few weeks away from release, I wonder if 2018 will have the same impact as 2017 or if we will ever see a baseball card season like that one ever again. All I know is, I won't be taking any chances this year and will be chasing any rookie I can get my hands onto. You just never know who could be the next super star in 2018.


  1. Man, now you got me looking on eBay for Beanie Babies. Wanna get me a duck!

    1. Good luck in your search! I have quite a few still, mostly because my wife found them in cheap lots at yard sales. But, with tags still on.

  2. You're right about the shelves at Wal-Mart and Target... I always timed things poorly and the only thing which was consistently there was Series 1, Series 2 and Update. I did find a bunch of Bowman Platinum and Topps Fire at my LCS, which was grossly marked up, which made me a little miffed.

    1. I heard that from a lot of Collectors especially on those retail cards

  3. Wrote about my Target card section experience last week... and it exactly the same as yours. If empty shelves means more people are collecting, then I'm fine with it. I'm just tired of the overuse of the RC logo.

    1. I agree on the rookie logo use. Baseball has always been confusing. Rookies not rookies. And prospects and so on

  4. It was a great season for sure. Couple of things bothered me: Topps Now printed about 30 different Judge cards all branded with RC. And product printed after the World Series were including cards of Judge with RC. The season is over folks! Stop printing product to to take advantage of collectors and the Judge frenzy. Saturated the market again. They did the same thing with Pujols and Ichiro, they each have 50+ different rookie cards.

  5. If it helps the hobby, let's root for another 50 HR season by Judge next year.