(In response to Gellman of Sports Cards Uncensored)
A lot of great things happened in 1990. Universal Studios Florida opened its doors, Martin Scorcese’s classic Goodfellas was released and the nation fell in love (albeit briefly) with a rapper named MC Hammer. Amidst all that chaos, a 10 year-old boy fresh off a plane from South America accidentally fell into collecting.
I say accidentally because up until then my life revolved around Soundwave and Starscream, two villains from the cartoon/toy franchise, Transformers. I didn’t want to buy that set of 1990 Ames All-Stars featuring a bunch of guys playing a sport I knew absolutely nothing about. I grabbed it off a shelf from the now extinct Ames store thinking it was a pack of playing cards and begged my mom to buy it for me.
You can imagine my huge disappointment as I sat in my mother’s Pontiac Firefly when I found nothing but baseball players. While I didn’t find the Joker I was looking for over the next twenty years of my life I did however find a King who once upon a time ruled the world of baseball and trading cards. His name is Jose Canseco and through the years as my collection went into a dumpster in the late-90’s, one binder has survived it all and this one card is proof that not too long ago all you needed to capture a young kid’s interest is a photograph.
Today I watch videos on YouTube of kids no older than 12 busting boxes of Topps Triple Threads and complaining when their “hit” is numbered to 10 and not a “1 of 1”. Or maybe their autograph/jersey card is of only an above average baseball player and not Mickey Mantle or Babe Ruth. It’s a shame how much this Hobby has changed since my departure in 1997.
Back in those days I would have been thrilled to bust a full box of trading cards. Today, I won’t even go near a Retail pack. It’s just so obvious that we collectors have become spoiled by the riches of the card companies. The day that Upper Deck produced the first game-used bat relic of Babe Ruth is essentially the day the Hobby changed forever and maybe not for the best.
With 2008 almost wrapped up I am sitting here trying to find an answer. I know the day is coming that finding that latest Andrew Miller or Jose Canseco will just not be enough. The day when I will sit through a box break and be thinking about what else I could be doing with my life. I know several collectors who have had that same feeling creep up on them suddenly. Sadly, I know the day is coming when I will once again walk away from the Hobby, only this time forever.
When I do, I know at least one card that will stay with me when Wax Heaven is long gone and those empty wax wrappers scattered around my closet have vanished. It’s a card with absolutely zero flash, barely any color, and without even a single game-used relic embedded into any part of it. It’s a reminder of what the Hobby once was as well as what it will never be again.