Whenever I set up at a show or have a conversation with a fellow hobbyist, there are times where the simplest question actually begets some real deep thoughts. One of the recent conversations I had centered around why Houston seems to be a far better card market than Dallas. I think there are two main reasons. The first is Tri Star being located in Houston really helps to ensure large top quality shows on a regular basis while the other, in my opinion, has a little more nuance. It’s something that holds true in other cities as well.
The Houston Colt 45’s (now the Astros) began playing in 1962, ten years before the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers and set up shop in Dallas-Fort Worth. A generation of young fans saw live big league baseball in Houston area before kids in Dallas did. It made them far more card savvy. After all, baseball cards in the 1960s were a natural outgrowth of an intense interest in the game among young people.
The Cowboys, who came to Dallas in 1960, have always been popular, and in fact were so popular that the Dallas area actually received the famed and terribly difficult 1972 football high numbers. Without knowing the Topps paperwork or seeing the memos, my supposition is two-fold for this fact. The first is the Cowboys had won the Super Bowl early in 1972 and the other is this was a football card stronghold. Those two reasons seem logical for me on that part of the puzzle and so while Dallas is big on football cards, there seems to be as better baseball base in Houston.
The Phoenix area has its own interesting story. When I was discussing this was my Dallas area show partner, Jeff Johnson, who lives there, he mentioned the biggest collecting focus in his area are the Phoenix Suns. Again that makes logical sense as the franchise arrived in the late 1960’s and no other major league team got to Arizona for about 20 more years. It gave NBA basketball a major head start and since the Suns have been competitive more often than not, there has been no major drop off in popularity.
Then there is an older collecting city such as St. Louis. There is no doubt baseball is far and above the number one collecting sport in St. Louis. I would say hockey is probably a strong number two in popularity. Again not only have the Cardinals been there forever but the Blues have been there for the long haul, too, having been born in the 1960s.
Both the football Cardinals and St. Louis Hawks teams moved away a long time ago and there are even indications the Rams will move back to Los Angeles. So what do you have but a long standing baseball tradition. Of course, it does help that greats such as Bob Gibson and Stan Musial spent their whole career in St Louis while even Red Schoendienst, although he did play for some other teams, will always be identified as a Cardinal. The team—and the city—embrace its Cardinals like no other.
And in the New York Metropolitan area where I grew up, again the longer the team has been in the area the more popular it is with both fans and collectors. There are more Yankees than Mets fans and collectors and the same can be said for the Giants over the Jets, the Rangers over either the Devils and the Islanders and even with the clown show currently running the Knicks, they are still more popular in both worlds than the Nets.
Those are some of my opinions and thoughts. We’d love to hear about your home area.