Interview with Eric Norton
By: Shane Salmonson
I just recently started discovering podcasts, yes, I know, I am way behind! The best thing about podcasts, for those of you that have yet to find them? You can download them and listen to them whenever you’d like! Which happens to work out perfectly for me, since I am on the road quite a bit. I love being able to listen to a discussion about cards while in the car.
If you are looking for a good collecting podcast, look no further than this week’s interview guest, Eric Norton. Eric is currently the Beckett Hockey Analyst and also a co-host of The Fat Packs Podcast. Before his time at Beckett, Eric worked for Major League Baseball, selling game used memorabilia with the Mariners. If those aren’t enough reasons to give him a listen, Eric has also served eight years in the United States Army. Thank you for your service!
BU: How were you introduced to the hobby?
EN: I was 7 or 8 and someone bought me a hanger of ’87 Topps, and that was when I was introduced to the glory woodgrain and it’s been my favorite set ever since, if only for the Bo Jackson rookie. I have never actually tried to put the set together, but it’s on my to-do list.
BU: What do you currently collect?
EN: Late last year I bought a case of 2017 Prizm Football and I told myself whoever I got the most color of I would try and complete the rainbow. Well, Carlos Hyde was the guy so I’m currently trying to put that rainbow together, but I need some help. I think I have like 8 of 21. I have also really enjoyed traveling the country going to card shows so I have started “collecting” memories with all the fans we meet by taking pictures with them.
BU: Any favorite pieces from your collection that you’d like to share?
EN: We interviewed the cast of Slap Shot last year and afterwards I got this photo with the Hanson Brothers. I actually had not seen that movie at the time, but I’ve seen it no less than 10 times since then.
BU: Can you explain, for anyone that hasn’t yet found your podcast, what collectors could expect from the Fat Packs Podcast?
EN: More than anything else we are fun and informative. There is a point to every guest we book. Whether it’s Panini or Upper Deck, a sketch artist, a photographer, or a super collector we design our podcast to help show all aspects of the hobby.
BU: I know all interview subjects are important, trust me, but which interview guests have been your favorites?
EN: Randy and Jason Sklar by far are my favorite. Before collecting I am a huge fan of comedy, so when they had cards in 2016 A&G it was the perfect opportunity to have them on. I was actually super nervous and was just trying to keep my cool. I got through it and now I can say I interviewed my favorite comedians. I also really enjoyed the fringe hobby interviews. WFNY’S Scott Sargent episode about shoes comes to mind as well. Not card related at all, but it’s just a whole other aspect to collecting.
BU: Looking at the current hobby, how would you rank the top 5 hottest sports?
EN: It’s seasonal and I think it always will be. Baseball was so hot last season riding the coattails of Judge and Bellinger and the same can be said for football the year before with Dak and Zeke. Even hockey has held it’s own with McDavid and Matthews. Right now football and hockey are really hot, but as spring training approaches and the release of Topps Series 1 is coming in a few weeks, so baseball will be back on top soon. As of right now I think it looks something like football, hockey, baseball, basketball, and soccer.
BU: How do you think the hobby has changed over the last few years, and do you think it is making a comeback into the mainstream?
EN: I think it’s mainstream now with guys like Darren Rovell of ESPN shining a light on it, along with other big named personalities, cards are cool again. The biggest change has been digital and instant cards. They are here to stay and collectors can jump on board or sit quietly as the hobby passes them by.
BU: What about the future of the hobby, what is one thing you would really like to see changed?
EN: Two words: Manufactured Patches. I mean really? How do you put out a product with an SRP of $150 and fill it full of stuff my grandmother could have sewn together. I will take a sticker auto all day over a manufactured patch.
BU: I am trying to make it to The National again this year, why should other collectors do the same?
EN: The 2017 NSCC in Chicago was actually my first and I just wasn’t prepared for how big it is. I saw things I had only heard about, and some stuff I never knew existed. It’s like a traveling sports museum on steroids. Collectors owe it to themselves to go at least once.
BU: I completely agree! I went in 2016 and was completely blown away. Alright Eric, anything else you’d like to share?
EN: If you haven’t already please go check out The Fat Packs Podcast. We hit 100k downloads on Christmas Eve, and our 250th episode is next week. It’s going to feature both Tracy Hackler and Scott Prusha from Panini, and if that weren’t enough we will also be interviewing Steelers legend and Hall of Famer Mean Joe Greene. We are growing on a weekly basis and it’s only going to get better.
NEW** Made from archival 60 point Blue-Gray Barrier Board. 11-7/8 x 4-1/8 x 3″ (L x W x H). Holds 650-700 cards. Made from acid-free, lignin-free blue-gray board with a white liner. It has pH 8.0-9.0 and a 3% calcium carbonate buffer. Museum-grade archival. Comes with metal-reinfored corners for stacking strength.