Nearly three months after the card started showing up on eBay auctions and six weeks after I wrote about it (admittedly, getting some of the information wrong in the process), Beckett finally gets around to writing about the Kyle Kendrick error card in which all you see is midsection and crotch. Boy, does Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds have a whopper of story he’d like you to believe:
Graphic designers know how a mistake like this happened — simply put, the image wasn’t shrunken to fit the frame of the card. On Monday, Topps confirmed its existence as a legit card printed by the company and shed a little light on the card’s origin we prepared our Errors & Variations issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly.
Topps’ Director of Product Development Clay Luraschi said the Kendrick card, which was in Series 1, was an error found during the print run for the 2013 Topps factory sets released in the second half of last year.
“It is an extremely rare error card that is found only in complete sets,” Luraschi said. “It was due to an image processing error. The error was found very early in the printing, removed and corrected.”
First of all, thank you, Beckett, for taking three months to confirm the card was legitimate. You’re always at the cutting edge of reporting in the hobby.
Snark aside, I have a couple of problems with this story. One, just how exactly does a card that was printed with no problems whatsoever in the beginning of the year encounter an image processing error when printed later in the year? All the other cards in the set were reprinted with no problems whatsoever, and it doesn’t appear that the cropping magically changed on any of them. In addition, maybe I’m a little jaded from years of other Topps marketing stunts (remember the Jeter card with Mantle in the dugout and Bush in the stands?), but I find it very hard to believe that this was a simple error as the Topps spokesperson would have us believe.
I think the biggest problem I have with this story is that once again Beckett does very little in the way of real reporting on this card. They didn’t push back and ask Topps how a card that previously was printed correctly suddenly got misprinted and needed to be corrected to its original state. I assume that Topps saves the electronic files from the original print run — so, in theory, unless somebody went into the file and made alterations after the original printing, when Topps pulled the file and used it again to create plates for the factory sets it should have been exactly the same as it was in the original printing. An explanation from Topps as to how the “error” took place (or might have taken place) would’ve been nice to read. Instead, Beckett did what it always does: it acted like a stenographer and printed Topps’s story without any question whatsoever. I also love the fact that Olds eagerly mentioned that the card has sold for as much as $76 on eBay, while making no mention of the fact that the last three have actually sold for less than $40 each.
Chalk this up to yet another reason why I hate everything Beckett, the self-proclaimed “world’s most trusted source in collecting,” stands for in this hobby.