Interesting to see MLB.com’s new foray into serving as an apparent shill for baseball card sellers. I’m seriously hoping MLB’s Gregg Klayman jumps in with his Baseball Card sets of the week to spice this page up.
As a 12-year-old kid in the late 1980s I jumped into the hobby full force, right when it began exploding and the cards lost all their value because cardmakers started overproducing sets to meet the surging demand and saturated the market with too many cards. Now those boxes of 1988 and 1989 Donruss I have in the basement are mostly worthless. In fact, I have enough Gregg Jeffries “Rated Rookies” to wallpaper the bathroom. Man what a bust that guy was.
My favorite baseball card collecting story is this: My friend Brad Schwie and I always used to ride our 10-speeds across town to this baseball card shop hidden away in the corner of a local strip mall. I remember the guy tried to make it look “sporty” by putting this scratchy, astroturf-wannabe carpet on the floor. These two 20-something punks came in one day and started buying pack after pack of 1986 Donruss cards trying to find the coveted Jose Canseco rookie card in there. (At the time it was worth $100 or more.) They were ripping open the packs right there in the store and flying through the cards. The packs were not cheap – like $2 or $3 apiece I think, and back then (when we rode ten speeds uphill both ways through the snow every day to school and cell phones and the Internet didn’t even exist!) that was a lot of money. (Stop me before this “old man” moment continues. I’m only 31, for crying out loud!)
Anyway these two guys are getting angrier and angrier with each pack they open that doesn’t have a Jose in it. After spending $40 or $50 on what seemed like dozens of packs, one of the guys yelled at the proprietor, “You cheated us! You unseal these wax packs and then iron them back together after you take out the best cards! You son of a –“
“Get out of my store!” the owner yelled, and the two 20-somethings did, but only after flinging the hundreds of opened cards they had gone through – with no Jose! – into the air, raining down a shower of cardboard images toward the floor.
Brad and I didn’t miss a beat – we both dove to the floor and began grabbing as many of the fallen cards as we could. I think I had astroturf burns on my knees and elbows for like a week.