To those who never left, it’s an easy story to tell. Overproduction, the internet, the baseball strike and the launch of dozens of new products all swept the 1980s baseball card heyday away.
For those who left the hobby before the bubble burst in the mid-1990s, it can be a shock. There are still sports card stores, although not as many. There are still wax packs, although they’re now made of shiny stuff. There are still the cards themselves, overshadowed now by rare insert cards that have turned much of the hobby into a lottery.
How much you learn depends on how long you’ve been gone from the world of cardboard.
California columnist Rob Baedeker recently stopped by a Bay Area shop, talked to a couple of collectors and chatted with author Dave Jamieson about what happened to the card industry and where it’s going.