Today I’m happy to have The Hubs aka @DadandMarried for helping one of his favorite gals (the other being our daughter!) out today with a fun post about him sharing his love of and passion for collecting baseball cards with our son who just got hooked……
Recently a big box arrived for our son from his aunt and uncle in Texas. They’re great about sending things for the kidlets’ birthdays plus a couple of times a year stuff just randomly shows up because they like to send stuff to their nephew and niece, plus my brother can’t resist a Woot! bargain! This particular box seemed to be a kindergarten graduation present for our son, and he eagerly tore open the box. Inside? A starter kit full of sports cards!
Now I must say, I had some mixed feelings, my brother and I (along with one of our older brothers) had all grown up collecting and swapping baseball cards. But it was sure a different era-the 70s! Long before it became a multi-million dollar industry aimed more at grown-ups making dubious investments than kids rubberbanding together a stack of favorite players and sticking them in a shoebox.
Well, I didn’t have to worry. My son quickly took to the box, sorting through hundreds of sports cards, even marveling at the special LeBron James card, already encased in plastic, untouched by human hands! He even knew that I like the New York Mets and the Denver Broncos, and he pulled out as many as he could find and gave them to me! Well, at least the duplicates- he was learning that aspect of the hobby pretty quickly! Watching him sort and resort the cards by sport, team, and even design really took me back.
When I was first discovering the joys of having an allowance to spend, I quickly got hooked by the baseball card bug. It was kind of strange – I wasn’t even that big of a baseball fan! I would watch the NBC Saturday afternoon games by myself or with my other brothers – and somehow we started buying wax packs and racing to see who could complete the entire 660 card run of Topps 1974 Major League Baseball cards.
You see, back in ‘74, there was only one company –Topps, which had a monopoly which they maintained by signing nearly any minor leaguer to put on a uniform to an exclusive deal. Also there were no baseball card stores in strip malls or complete sets for sale in every Walgreens. Nope, you had to get them one pack at a time, usually from corner candy stores or long-forgotten five-and-dime chains.
You could get a wax package for around 35 cents, or a bigger shrink-wrapped box of cards for a dollar. A real score was getting a so-called “Fun Pack”, which had 30 packs of cards-these weren’t always all sports-related, so you wound up with a lot of stuff like “Evel Knievel” cards, which I did not appreciate the camp value of at my young age!
Well, piece by piece, we assembled the sets. I will never forget the feeling we had when we finally completed a set! We’ll forget that there was also a set of “traded cards” and that the San Diego Padres were expected to move to Washington when the cards went to press — and as you know they didn’t, and a lot of those awkward looking cards made it into the first run of packs! I don’t remember what was the last card we needed, but I do remember we would up with an overabundance of future Hall-of-Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro!
For a few years, I amassed a pretty good run of complete sets into the early 80s. Oddly, my collection ends right about where my better half The Harried Mom’s picks up! I got older, got out of baseball and cards and into music and records-but that is a whole other story and expensive hobby!
I hope my son sticks with his new interest – I have a lot of old cards to share and new memories to make with him.
Thanks to The Hubs for sharing today. It really took me back to my baseball card collecting days of the 1980s – but I didn’t limit myself to just baseball – I also collected Star Wars cards, from the movie Grease, the TV show “Mork & Mindy” and more! They’re all sitting up in crates in our attic – it just might be time to bring them down and share with our son!
Now it’s your turn to share. What did you collect as a child? Are you passing down that hobby to your own children?
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