Target: The Friend of the Baseball Card Enthusiast for Years

Target in Staten Island (Tottenville) in June, 2023.

Target has recently come under fire for putting LGBT garments and merchandise at the front of its store for Gay Pride month — some of it targeted at children.

That controversy has obscured the general news that Baseball Cards — and Trading Cards in general — are back available at the front of Target stores, in the aisle right near the Self Checkout section.

Baseball Cards, and Trading Cards in general, have their own row at the front of Target stores again — adjacent to the Self Checkout area.

This is great news for Baseball Card enthusiasts, as they were positioned at the back of the store during the Baseball Card boon that occurred during COVID, and then were completely suspended from being available for sale in Target stores in May 2021.

After the suspension of availability in May 2021, Pokemon cards were made available for sale in June 2021, and baseball, football, and basketball cards were made available by October 2021. At some later date, Target quietly made them available front and center (to the left a bit) of each Target store.

Trading Card row in a Target on Staten Island — the one in Tottenville — on June 16, 2023.

Target a Long-Time Friend of the Baseball Card Enthusiast

Target has always been a friend of the baseball card enthusiast. Seemingly it’s only friend. Target for over 25 years had baseball cards at the front of its stores — more noticeable before the Self Checkout area was invented.

Target was one of the only — actually The only — brick and mortar store where you could buy baseball cards in the 25 years after the baseball card boon of the late 80’s died in the early 90’s.

Because of Target, I was able to pick up the complete set of Topps baseball cards most years — without needing to order on line. Instant gratification. I could pick up a couple of packs as well, and other assorted Trading card items.

And because of this, the baseball card collection continued to amass, year after year — when very few people were buying cards — thereby making the cards I bought during the lean years, valuable. “The collection that keeps on giving,” my daughter calls it.

Photo of kitchen table on typical day.

Target Changed Baseball Card Positioning During COVID Boon

Target’s positioning of baseball cards in their stores changed in 2021 when COVID hit and baseball cards experienced another boon. Baseball cards became such a HOT item, and created such crowds of people looking to browse the offerings, that Target put baseball cards (and sports Trading Cards in general) at the back of each store in between the Toys and Electronics sections.

A store manager told me in March 2021 that this was to get the Mad House away from the front of the store. (And perhaps Target corporate management felt it would get shoppers to walk thru the store where they might pick up other items.)

Baseball Card Distributor Has Nervous Breakdown; Quits in Target

At another Target in New Jersey on 3/21/2021, the store manager told my daughter that the woman who worked for the baseball card distributor got swarmed by so many people (mostly adult men) in the store when she came in with a cart of new trading cards, she had a nervous breakdown and quit while in the store one day.

He said at that time that the demand for sports cards had rocketed the last year during Coronavirus.

A sign of the times in Target in March 2021. There were no baseball or basketball or football cards on the shelf at all. All sold out.

Target Suspended Sales of Trading Cards in May 2021

It got so bad that in May, 2021, Target suspended sales of trading cards, after a fight over baseball cards in a parking lot where a gun was drawn, at a Target in Wisconsin. At the time, a Target spokesman said “Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokémon trading cards within our stores, effective May 14.”

Baseball Cards Brought Back at Target

Target first brought back Pokemon cards, in June 2021, and continued sale of Baseball Cards and Trading Cards in general at a later date. By October 27, 2021 baseball cards were back at Target, albiet still at back of the store.

Baseball Cards back at Target — in the store at Winchester, Virginia on October 27, 2021. Albiet at the back of the store. Note that on the cover are Aaron Judge (current Face of Baseball), Mike Trout, Fernando Tatis Jr. Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Mookie Betts.

At some later date, Trading Cards were brought back up front — positioned next to the Self Checkout area, where they are readily available today.

No controversy. No Mad House. People have moved onto other things. The Boon has waned. Time to start buying cards again.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.