Pack-busting in a lonely ol’ town.
I have a sick dog.
Those of us who love animals will do what we can to help them feel better and so that’s why I’m here in Louisville, KY. Our own veterinarian’s office isn’t equipped to do some of the testing required to see what’s wrong with her, so we packed up the laptop and headed to a place where they could.
Those of you who’ve been on business or personal trips by yourself know what I’m talking about when I tell you that boredom can be expensive. After leaving the dog at the vet, I had the entire late afternoon and evening free until I return tomorrow morning. There’s a baseball card shop about 500 yards from the vet. You know where this blog entry is headed now, don’t you?
Actually, I’m not really into new cards. I buy a box or set every year but there’s no way I can, or want to keep up with the multitude of new issues. However, like most card shops that survive, about the only thing this place offered were boxes & packs of modern products. There were a few scattered vintage cards in EX condition but here were no Mickey Mantle rookies. No 1955 Bowmans. Not even a nice box of older football commons. But…I was there. I had time. I had curiosity about those sets I’d never collected or even seen.
I had credit cards.
In the middle of the store were rows and rows of foil packs, priced reasonably enough at $1 if purchased in quantity. They were mostly 2004 and2005 baseball, so I bought 40. I thought maybe I’d discover some issues I really never knew much about and maybe pull an autographed card I could find a home for. At least it might pay for my ‘investment’.
Back at the hotel, I got to ripping. Now these were not high end products. I knew I’d probably wind up disappointed. But you hope. It’s kind of like buying lottery tickets but at least you have something to show off at the end. I was just a speculator. It goes against every grain of my collector’s mindset, but I had no intention of filling out the sets. I just wanted one little score.
In 40 packs, I got two autographed cards from rookies I’d never heard of. A few inserts numbered to 300 and 2500 or something. I got a lot of Jeter cards, some Pujols and A-Rod. A Rickie Weeks rookie card (try saying that five times fast). One Kaz Ishii which made me wonder what he’s doing now. Some Randy Johnsons which made me wonder if he’ll pitch again next year. But my ship did not come in. I felt like I’d gone to the carnival trying to win a big stuffed animal and came home with a balloon.
Anyone who buys cards just to chase the autograph and memorabilia cards has more money than I do. My packs had been discounted because they weren’t new, weren’t really old and apparently weren’t real popular. The current year’s products are usually not discounted. To be honest, I’m not surprised baseball decided to cut back on the number of card sets prodcued each year. Some of the products I opened were really underwhelming. I know sometimes hobby shops wish they had new issues every week, but I have to believe that in the long run, quality will win over quantity. And maybe it will encourage set building. Hey, one can dream.
There were some inserts in this pack extravaganza, which made me wonder again if anyone actually goes to the trouble of collecting the 30 or 40 card insert sets. If not, why are they produced? If so, why? It’s not like packs of new products can be had for 50 cents. I suspect it costs a few hundred dollars to buy or trade for them. Certainly, it takes a ton of work. And which ones do you chase? Some seemed kind of pointless. I did discover one set that seems underrated. 2004 Fleer Inscriptions is a very nice product.
And so I’ve got a small box full of 3 and 4 year-old cards–mostly middle to lower tier products. Lots of stars. A few nice little inserts (I guess). Nowhere near a set of anything. I can’t say I’ll treasure them forever. I know, however, that many of you love the variety of sets and probably have holes in your collection of Donruss and Fleer products from the middle of the decade. So……..I’m giving them away. If you want them, write and tell me a hobby story. A great find. Maybe you opened a pack of something and did hit the jackpot. Maybe you saw someone do something nice for another hobbyist and think they deserve recognition. Maybe something’s bothering you. Maybe you have a fond memory from a show or your days as a kid, opening packs. Maybe you are a kid and can’t afford to buy a lot of cards but love baseball. Tell me how much. Drop me a note ([email protected]) and I’ll print your story in the next blog entry. I’ll also send you the cards I just opened.