Sunday, January 20, 2008
When I was younger, every kid in the neighborhood had at least a small stash of cards. Some of the kids didn't even like baseball, but they would get all the junk common cards none of the other kids wanted so that when we got together and traded cards, everyone would have something to trade with. We'd use cards to bet on sandlot games, poker games, dares and sometimes as bribes to keep other kids from ratting us out when we did something stupid. Cards were our form of currency, and there was a constant concern over market fluctuations due to rising or falling prices in the recent Beckett. Every now and then someone would pull off a monster trade -- say, two Frank Thomas rookie cards for a Bo Jackson Rated Rookie and a box of commons -- and we'd talk about it for weeks. If some kid got the raw end of a deal, he'd be forced to suffer daily verbal assaults from the other kids until he either pulled off a redeeming deal or some other recent trade stole the spotlight.
By the time we got into middle school, baseball cards were going out of style, and besides that they were getting really expensive. To this day, I don't have a single close friend that collects cards or even cares about them for that matter. Whenever I pick up a sweet auto card off of eBay my best chance at gloating about it is either to tell my wife (like she cares), or write up a post on the Beckett Message Boards. If it wasn't for the internet, I would have to assume that baseball cards were all but gone, but I really think that cards are on the way back up, and the hobby is more fascinating to me now than it ever was as a kid. My biggest concern is that cards are still too expensive for kids to start enjoying the hobby, so by the time my generation is long gone, there won't be anybody left with childhood memories of monster trades and sweet rookie card pulls. I've tried to get my wife's little brothers interested, but there are just too many other distractions out there for them. I'm interested to know if anyone out there either has or knows kids that are into card collecting. I'm hoping that there's at least a handful of kids that still like baseball cards.