It is almost by accident that I have a long box filled with sports cards of all kinds, since I seldom consciously set out to accumulate any. They arrived in bursts. First, as a new young Chicago Bears fan, I tried to collect an entire set of football cards. While in the store, I may have picked up a few packs of baseball cards, too. I got another surge of cards in the late 1980s, when I was attending Cubs and White Sox games with some regularity. About a decade ago, I was known to go to SAMS clubs and grab a whole carton of baseball cards, including some interesting minor-league prospect cards. This was a practice largely motivated by a desire to get photos of fantasy league players to scan for a weekly newsletter. The final piece of the puzzle is my packrat nature (some might whisper, "hoarder") that prevented me from throwing anything away.
Fast forward to now, when I'm actively encouraging my son to become a fan of baseball. He's got some close friends who have been collecting cards (mainly Detroit Tigers) for the past couple years. When we moved, my rag tag "collection" surfaced, and I discovered some interesting items, such as a Michael Jordan baseball card and a Roger Clemens rookie card (which I'd gladly sell)
Pick your poison when it comes to trading card brands and try to collect your GDS fantasy baseball roster. If you have extras and want to send them along to other teams, it would be a bonus to establish some old-fashioned pen pals in the process.
Some un-vetted resources:
Our first outing to get a few packs of Topps cards turned into quite a journey. The days of popping into any convenience or grocery store and finding the baseball cards mixed in with the candy appear to be long gone. We stopped off at several places before finding some cards at a Target. Going to be pinging my Twitter network this week to ask for some locally-owned sources.
Got three packs (one was a prospects pack) and ended up with none of our Indiana Jones teams. Did OK getting Deep Cut players, though. If anyone else starts collecting and wants to deal, I'm going to start a new Google page to list players. Post here to have your cards added to the list, or just update it directly:
My son will enjoy this assignment. He already has quite a collection of various cards. Everything from baseball to football to hockey to Star Wars to Saints.
Ah baseball cards. I have shoeboxes and shoeboxes full of them. Of course my favorites for whatever reason are still neatly packed in plastic holders with my absolute sentimental favorites packed in a firesafe for keeping until I can build a proper display case. I opened that thing up a few weeks ago with the start of a new season and its funny how those cards aren't really the ones worth the most money at all but ones that hold special memories.
We are lucky to have one of the oldest baseball card shops this side of the Mississippi in Wichita. Rocks Dugout in Wichita is worth the stop for the Geek collector just for the piece of the old Yankee stadium wall he is using as a backdrop for his checkout (VERY cool even as a Red Sox fan). Rocks is where I have made all of my more significant memorabilia purchases with the multiple Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson and Negro Leagues pieces being my personal favorites even if some are just cheap reprints. Our local WalMart and Target still sell cards but I refuse to buy there as long as Rocks is in business.
My favorite Rocks moment was getting to meet one of my Grandpas heroes Enos Slaughter from the 1940's Cardinals and 50's Yankees Championship teams.
I guess team Bounty Hunters have a stop to make next weekend.
Hey, Kevin. Here's another link to add to your list above - a searchable card show calendar:
Great assignment, and great topic, but I'm probably going to lose a night of productivity because once I'm done typing, I'm going to have to go dig through the card boxes in the closet. I collected some when I was little, went through a lull in the mid-80's, then my dad and I really got into it when I worked in a card store all through high school. I even got a table at a couple of shows, but without fail would spend any profits and then some, so it wasn't exactly a money-making venture. James and I will pick up a few packs every once in a while, usually just whatever sport is in season, but it's really gotten difficult - as far as I can tell, the days of $0.50 packs and $25 boxes are over.
We've had a lot more fun going through some of the old boxes in the closet - not just the stars, but the guys who were sure things who just didn't pan out (Ben McDonald, anyone?). And like Nick said, the important ones are the ones with memories attached to them. In my case, most of those are ones that my dad and I found together. He's from the generation of kids who grew up on baseball in the 50's and 60's, had multiples of every card from every year, then had their mothers throw out all those cards when they left home...granted, he was a White Sox fan, so he traded all of those Mantles and Aarons for Jungle Jim Rivera or Billy Pierce, so his collection wouldn't have been worth much anyway. We'd scour yard sales, card shows, bid boards (like a pre-internet e-bay) looking for our favorite players, or those hot prospects, or sometimes just really neat looking cards (look up a 1952 Topps Gus Zernial, for example). Finally, we settled on two massive projects - complete sets from my birth year, 1975, and his favorite year of childhood, 1959 when the White Sox won the AL pennant. It wasn't about the card condition - many of the cards, especially the big name stars, are in awful shape - it was about the challenge of completing the set, and the feeling of accomplishment when it was done. I have tens of thousands of cards that I may sell someday, but those two sets aren't going anywhere. And who knows, maybe this topic will lead to James and I taking on something similar. Not yet, though...the boxes in the closet are calling!
The goal of collecting a full set might be one of the more frustrating things about collecting. But also one of the most satisfying when you find that elusive last card.
The days of going in and building a quality looking set of cards for even under $3 a pack are long gone. The packs cheaper than that seem to just feel cheap. It makes me sound old but I remember going in with my Grandma and she would give me $5 to spend and I would walk out of a store with an arm load of packs to open and dig through. Now my son is lucky to get one decent sized pack (more than 3 cards PLEASE!) for that amount.
My favorite card by far is my Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck RC. I never did own it during its heyday but I got it for Christmas one year as a gift as my first "high dollar" item. That card was the holy grail for baseball card collectors in the early 90's. Next would be the George Brett autographed card I got in the mail. Adult Nick knows that the auto might not be real but little Nick would have never imagined it and really it doesn't matter. I wrote to all sorts of baseball players and only George Brett and Tom Glavine wrote anything back. Brett included a "signed" card of his own but Glavine actually signed the card I included in the letter, plus included a Braves bumper sticker (still on the cover on an album filled with cards), and a Braves schedule for that year. George Brett was (and is) a living idol in Kansas City and being from Kansas as a kid growing up playing baseball he was so much more.
I don't think you sound like an old fogey. I think baseball cards are ridiculously expensive these days as well. I remember buying packs for a quarter - back when you got quite a few cards and a stick of incredibly hard bubble gum.
Despite the costs, my son enjoys collecting cards. I try to find bargains to support his habit more economically.
I bought my son a 36 card pack of baseball cards today at Wal-mart. He was elated to find that he now has an Albert Pujols baseball card. It made his day. He also asked me who Hank Aaron was because he got him on a classic card.
Thomas and I went to a baseball card show this weekend. We had a lot of fun looking through the boxes for our fantasy players.
We now have cards for: Josh Johnson, Miguel Cabrera (one regular card and one with a piece of his jersey-- Thomas was really excited about that one), BJ Upton (autographed), David Dejesus (autographed), David Ortiz, Mike Minor, James McDonald, Joe Saunders, and Ruben Tejada.
We are still looking for cards for: Ryan Doumit, Rafael Soriano, Willie Bloomquist, Casey Janssen, Lance Lynn, Roy Oswalt, and Brad Lidge.
We also bought a few packs of cards, so we have some extras, if anyone wants to make a trade.
Butler added a few cards to the list that a few teams might be interested in. I don't have time today to go through and see which players belong to which teams but if you see someone you need (regional or to complete your team) we would be glad to trade.
Even if you don't have someone off our team we would take any Royals or Red Sox players in return.
After much deliberation we decided to go with the Topps 2012 Series 1 (Series 2 is already out. Uggghhhh anything for a buck) because the packs were affordable ($3 for 20 cards with insert cards in almost every pack) and available at Wal-Mart. The card store is still the favorite stop but being 45 minutes away it can't be a frequent one.