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While I was in our local shopping market yesterday picking up some milk and standing in line, I had a flashback to some 40-45 years ago.  I remembered being a kid and being at the store with mom or dad and grabbing a pack or two of cards for the shopping cart.  I did this all the time or if I did not go, they brought them home for me.  Sports cards use to be everywhere.  Grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and the corner mom and pop shop.   I know, they are still at Meijer’s, Walmart and Target but it is not the same.   

Card sleeves, price guides and condition were non-existent.  The fun of collecting has been sucked out of the hobby by outrageous pack prices, perceived value and manufacturer created short prints.  Cards use to be for kids and playing with them.  We traded them, flipped them and played games with them.  I would dump all 2000-3000 cards in my collection into a pile and re-sort them out because it was fun.  I still LOVE to sort out a new sets of cards.  

I try to get my younger kids involved.  They enjoy sorting cards with me but have no interest in collecting themselves.  I cannot (will not) go pick up a couple of packs of cards every week or two without spending $6-10.   Who can afford that?  I know I will never see $0.10 packs of cards again but I bet $1 pack could be possible.  No need for high tech cardboard.   I think a reasonable priced card with a throwback distribution system would do more to rejuvenate the hobby then a 1/1 Mike Trout fancy-smancy super glossy see-through card ever would.   

The current collecting base is getting old and the true hobby collector will eventually die and fade away.  That is sad.  I guess my bottom line is, I just wish my kids and grandkids could experience the immense pleasure I had as a kid collecting. 

Never knowing what a card sounds like in the bike spokes is just as sad.

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41 minutes ago, davidsb said:

 

Never knowing what a card sounds like in the bike spokes is just as sad.

 

This is true, though a good plasticized card from a poker deck (not a bridge deck - too skinny) was certainly just as good. Assuming you find a kid's bike that still has steel spokes!

Funny you mention the cost - that was I why I pretty much never bought very many. Even at a dime, there was  always something more I wanted for 8 cents when I could get the gum part for 2c. The duplicates thing was also irritating. I realize as an adult there is no way they could have distributed them so I would get be sure to get one Al Kaline but never two, but when you are 8 all you understand is you just spent your dime for a duplicate! 

What really is at the crux though is that the cards also had a serious function beyond merely collecting them - they were effectively the statistic bible for us as young fans. I always wanted to get enough to score those league/team average cards for instance. I think a lot of kids collected them for those numbers, then one day realized that they had enough to call it a collection and then it became something else, but the functional part came first for a lot of us. That part is just gone forever. Sad in a way, but I wouldn't give up baseball-reference.com!

^_^

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This is true. I think I still have statistics from certain cards memorized in my head. 

For me, the hobby got a little crazy when it moved from Topps, Fleer & Donruss to the other manufacturers who saturated the market, putting out "gimmick" cards (sportsflicks), as well as "premium" sets that were ridiculously priced out of the box that no kid could really afford. It was a good part of my childhood. But as is many times the case, a good thing becomes too much of a good thing, and then it's never really the same. 

Fortunately or unfortunately, I still have all of my cards in boxes in a spare room. My wife would love it if I'd get rid of them. But as I've told her many times, there is something comforting in knowing that there are 37 Ron Darling '87 Topps woodies in a box- just in case I ever need them.....

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They need to put that stick of gum back in the cards.  It was always gross to eat, but it smelled so good.  And sometimes you could still smell it on a card years later.  

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10 hours ago, tiger337 said:

They need to put that stick of gum back in the cards.  It was always gross to eat, but it smelled so good.  And sometimes you could still smell it on a card years later.  

I have baseball cards from the 80s that still smell like gum -- something I greatly enjoy.

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11 hours ago, tiger337 said:

They need to put that stick of gum back in the cards.  It was always gross to eat, 

Dude, you're doing it wrong.

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I gotta be honest. I once found a pack in a box that I never opened (like 15 years later). I thought about it for about 2 minutes, then I said, "screw it, what could happen?" and I ate the gum. It started off rough, but the finish was the same as 1986.....

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1 hour ago, Gehringer_2 said:

Dude, you're doing it wrong.

Well, technically you are eating portions of the gum!

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10 minutes ago, tiger337 said:

Well, technically you are eating portions of the gum!

I have found that Big League Chew is the closest thing to the flavor of that crispy gum that used to come in wax packs.

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16 hours ago, stanpapi said:

But as I've told her many times, there is something comforting in knowing that there are 37 Ron Darling '87 Topps woodies in a box- just in case I ever need them.....

Might be one of my favorite quotes of all time!! 

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On 5/12/2017 at 0:33 PM, davidsb said:

Might be one of my favorite quotes of all time!! 

I try :)

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On 5/12/2017 at 10:52 AM, stanpapi said:

I gotta be honest. I once found a pack in a box that I never opened (like 15 years later). I thought about it for about 2 minutes, then I said, "screw it, what could happen?" and I ate the gum. It started off rough, but the finish was the same as 1986.....

I liked this once.  Damn shame I couldn't like it again.

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I never put cards in my bike spokes.  I really don't remember anyone doing that in my hood.  We would put a baseball or two in our spokes if we were heading off for a pickup game somewhere.

Now that you guys mention the smell of gum, does anyone else notice a distinct smell of sandlot infield dirt that sticks to your hands even after washing several times?  There is even a noticeable difference with the materials used in different infields.  Like today why daughters team was on a red clay and gravel field.  Not as strongly scented after the fact as the normal light brown dirt with not much pebbley material mixed in that we normally practice at. 

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On 5/11/2017 at 3:46 PM, Gehringer_2 said:

This is true, though a good plasticized card from a poker deck (not a bridge deck - too skinny) was certainly just as good. Assuming you find a kid's bike that still has steel spokes!

Funny you mention the cost - that was I why I pretty much never bought very many. Even at a dime, there was  always something more I wanted for 8 cents when I could get the gum part for 2c. The duplicates thing was also irritating. I realize as an adult there is no way they could have distributed them so I would get be sure to get one Al Kaline but never two, but when you are 8 all you understand is you just spent your dime for a duplicate! 

What really is at the crux though is that the cards also had a serious function beyond merely collecting them - they were effectively the statistic bible for us as young fans. I always wanted to get enough to score those league/team average cards for instance. I think a lot of kids collected them for those numbers, then one day realized that they had enough to call it a collection and then it became something else, but the functional part came first for a lot of us. That part is just gone forever. Sad in a way, but I wouldn't give up baseball-reference.com!

^_^

Baseball reference doesn't have those goofy random trivial notes that baseball cards had.  Advantage, childhood statistical bibles.

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I memorized and played around with the stats on the back of baseball cards and got a rush out of trading doubles for "need 'ems" with other kids. Perfect training for my career in corporate finance as an adult.

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I used to seperate my cards into teams and put a (gasp) rubberband around them and I wrote on the checklist cards when I knocked a card off my wantlist. To top that off, I would even trade cards with DavidSB. 

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The hobby isn't the same.  Greed has turned the hobby in a business for most.  I still buy cards that are not good enough to be considered investments like Eric Davis, Jose Canseco, etc.  I also buy cards that are in very rough shape and will never really increase much if at all, but I do it because it's still a hobby to me.

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Sports card collecting jumped the shark in the late 90s / early 2000s.  Card packs are too expensive, and kids don't relate to athletes the way kids did in the 80s and before.  Times they are a changin', like it or not.

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I saw the topic headline and thought it said "Hubby" instead of "Hobby".

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My daughter and her classmates - mostly the boys - were heavily into buying and trading Pokemon cards for a couple of months a year or two ago. I think the school outlawed "scrambles" though.

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Older cards are in somewhat of a boom. Prices for cards from the 1887 allen & ginter up through the early 70s have been on a steady incline. Last month on clean sweep auctions I picked up 2 lots of Tigers - 12 t205 and 7 t207. I'll collect until the day I die.

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My dad just gave me a bunch of his old cards from the 50s.  a bunch of kalines and mantles and williams and clementes and aarons ans mays.

is there any market for these anymore?  im thinking about getting them appraised.

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I haven't been paying attention for a while, but believe there will always be a strong market for Mantle.  As generations pass, potentially things could dip, but I feel he's the gold standard in the vintage hobby.  Those other guys are all-time greats and their vintage cards will continue to be valued, but with a wide range depending on grade.  Even commons from the 50's should hold good value if they're high grade.

I always found eBay to be a good temperature check of that sort of thing; completed sales as well as current listings.

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