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Baseball cards

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Pringle, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    I was really into cards when I was a kid, and my son is getting to an age now where he's starting to enjoy baseball. Sometimes when I go to the store I'll grab him a pack of cards and he loves them.

    The problem is I'm completely overwhelmed by the selection today! There don't seem to be as many brands as there were when I was a kid, but it seems that Topps has about 10 different sets. There are the regular cards. There are ones that look like old-timey tobacco cards. There are some really cool ones that look like replicas of 1960s baseball cards.

    I guess my question is pretty general: Where do I even begin nowadays to try to re-enter the hobby with my son?
  2. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    All I know is the baseball card market pretty much imploded earlier this decade. Cards created before, say, 2002 or so were pretty much worthless -- some cards I had plummeted to more than half of what they had been worth. I had a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card that in 2000 was worth a few hundred bucks. I took it to a few different places in 2005, and the highest offer I got was $75.

    Do you still have any of your old cards?
  3. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Like KY hinted at, definitely DO NOT go into this thing thinking you're going to use the cards to fund the kid's tuition. Like most hobbies in the 90s, card collecting fell victim to overproduction that saturated the market with crappy and worthless product.
    It doesn't sound like you have the attitude of a prospector, but it's still a wise warning.

    Beyond that, I'd say just pick a set that looks nice and try to fill it out. Go to Wal-Mart and buy a couple boxes of cards of whatever you can find. There's plenty of them on the end caps near the registers. You can probably get a box for $10-$20 and have fun just opening packs with your young'un.

    If you want to go a different route, pick an older set and collect it. Some of the sets from the late 70s and early 80s were cool-looking and distinctive. Personally, I always like the '81 and '83 Topps sets. The superstars, especially their rookie cards, might cost you but the commons can be had for next to nothing. Then you can also have the thrill of the chase as you hunt down some of those last few cards to fill in the set.
  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

  5. Bad Guy Zero

    Bad Guy Zero Active Member

    Your son might enjoy Topps Attax baseball cards. They're inexpensive, feature mostly star players and you can play a strategy game with them. A starter set has everything you'll need for two people to play. You can pick up additional packs to beef up your roster. My nephew plays video games pretty much nonstop. I bought him a starter set not certain if he would play but he took to it. It got him into baseball and piqued his interest in baseball cards.

    When I was a kid I loved trying to put a whole set of cards together. There weren't factory sets then so I pretty much spent my allowance on pack after pack of cards. Now, as you noted, there are numerous sets. Each of those sets has numerous subsets and chase/insert cards. Putting a full set together is damned near impossible. I collect cards of a couple of players as well as team sets of the Texas Rangers. I pick up a pack here and there just in case some card design wows me. I know a couple of people who try to buy one pack of every different card line that comes out. There's no wrong or right way to collect cards. Just have fun.
  6. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    I agree with Bad Guy Zero's comments. I used to collect semi-seriously when I was a kid, and I ended up with some decent cards here and there, but pretty much nothing worth more than $100 now because of the aforementioned inflation and crash. (Damn you eBay and card grading.)

    Do you have any proper card shops near you now? Or, do people still sell cards at yard sales, flea markets, etc.? Half the fun in collecting is always the hunt, visiting all these weird places and seeing what kind of bargains you can scoop up.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I still have a huge collection that is insured for $50K. I bought my first two cars with profits made from working baseball card shows with my best friend when I was a teenager. He now has a degree from Wharton, and I went into journalism, so we knew who the brains of the operation was... :D
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I have a safety deposit box that has my best cards... I haven't actively collected in ages. When the hobby became all about the inserts, that kind of ruined it for me. I remember seeing kids buy packs, pull the inserts and throw the others away. That sickened me.
  9. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I remember I was really, really into it. I still have thousands upon thousands of cards. Then it became a big business, and we were all obsessed with the value of our cards from one month to the next. It's all we talked about. This card is worth this. This card is worth that.

    I very much remember my dad getting really angry about our obsession with the value of the cards. To this day, I'm of several minds about it. First of all, he didn't need to be such a dick about it. He could have conveyed the same feelings without devastating his two young boys. Second, he was kind of right. The cards didn't end up being worth anything. We were kind of spoiling the hobby, as it turned out. Third, I wonder if it was kind of upsetting to him to see me pervert my childhood in a way. When I was a little boy, we went to the local 7-11 every day together and he'd buy himself a pack of cigarettes and me a pack of Topps baseball cards. It was something we did together, and me becoming a stock broker about it probably reminded him that I was growing up too fast.

    But I mostly think it was early onset bitterness on his part, an early symptom of his transition to not enjoying much of anything any more.
  10. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    The two huge tubs of cards in my storage room are just a pain in the rear. Can't sell 'em because they're mostly 1980s Topps and I'd probably spend more on gas money to take them somewhere, but tossing them seems extreme and my siblings would chew me out (though of course when I offer to give 'em to them, gratis, they shut up fast).

    I think I'm resigned to having to lug them around 'til I die and letting my kids figure out what to do with 'em.
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I would always be so irritated that the rule in our house was that doubles had to go to my brother, and I had to have a double in order to trade cards.

    So basically I couldn't trade anything until I had triples of it.
  12. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    My kids could spend their entire lives sorting through the 1988 Fleer commons that I have. I bought so many cards that year. I'd buy the packs and then immediately sell the Jeffries and the Grace cards for just ridiculous money. For whatever reason that year, Fleer were nearly impossible to find locally and one of the only places that got them was a Price Club that would get in a huge box that cost $180 on the second Tuesday of the month. My best friend and I bought that box five of the six months they got it. The other month, a local card dealer beat us to it. After that happened, the manager held the box for us.

    The rack packs in the box retailed for $1.99 and we were paying less than half that for them. At most shows that year, they were selling for $7 a pack. We opened the packs where we knew there was a Jeffries or a Grace because of Fleer's order and sold the rest, undercutting dealers by selling them for $5 a pack.

    For 14-year-olds we were making crazy money.
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