By Kelly Burrington aka yazfan71

Well, I sure do and I miss those days. I miss the times when my friends and I would go around and collect pop bottles for the refund so we could go buy packs of cards and a bottle of pop. We’d sit down outside on the curb and rip open our packs and you’d hear a half dozen kids in harmony saying “need em, need em, got em, need em, got em….” Then the trading would commence….

“Hey, I’ll give you a Lou Brock & a Goose Gossage for that Pete Rose & Dave Concepcion?”
“Nah, I got 4 Brock’s already, do you got any Fred Beene’s?”
It was kinda like a game of Go Fish. Now the game is more like Advanced Business Economics 101 & you need a good credit score just to play!

 

It saddens me in a way to watch kids go into card shops open a pack of cards and watch them just leave them on the counter if they hit nothing but base cards. After all, they are the future of the hobby. If they don’t care about anything other than autos and game used what is going to happen to the hobby? It’s almost as if they honestly believe the original owner of that Wagner card that gets sold every few years for millions of dollars actually put it away somewhere and said “This is gonna make me rich someday!” Now, he may have said that, but I highly doubt it. Chances are better that he went home and gave it to his son, who must have been a Wagner fan and the kid actually took care of it. Shocking isn’t it?

It’s all about the gamble today. Back then, our gambling was putting a random card down against a friend and then taking an old checklist card and trying to toss it in a ball cap. I would spend hours practising that and dinged up quite a few checklists from the 70s in the process! If we did it today people would be checking price guides and sale values on eBay. Not to mention they’d be using the overproduced cards from late 80s and early 90s to toss in the cap. The simple fact was that a card was a card. Oh sure, you may have to give two or three cards of players that weren’t that well known for a more popular player from time to time just to sweeten the deal, but who, in today’s hobby wouldn’t give up those extra cards of Beene to get a Rose?

Granted it was easier to get all of the cards of your favorite players back then as there were only at the most three or four cards of them in the entire set. Oddball sets were like the inserts of today because you never knew when you were going to get a chance to pick them up. You either had to wait for the cereal box to be empty or trade those empty pop bottles in for a pack of Hostess Twinkees. One thing that was really nice was when the rack packs came out you could at least see the top & bottom cards to see if you needed them for sure to finish the set. It makes me wonder why someone felt that the hobby needed to change.

Apparently whoever was in charge had never heard the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” When you look at what they have to add to cards today to make them desirable to most hobbyists it really makes them sad in comparison. Seriously, when did the ’52 Mantle, ’68 Ryan, ’75 Yount or ’82 Ripken need any additives to make them desirable? Not too mention that once the next product is released, the percentage of people still interested in “last years model” reduces significantly. What had worked for Topps for nearly 30 years without any competition gets thrown out like yesterday’s trash these days. In retrospect I think I preferred getting the Fred Beene base cards then hitting a Rick Porcello autographed jersey card numbered to 100 as a so-called randomly inserted prize!

 

Now sure, I have autographed, game used, and serial numbered cards of Yastrzemski, but I would take his ’66 punch out, ’73 pin up or ’74 puzzle any day of the week!

Thanks again for reading the ramblings of an old man. I do apologize if I offended anyone out there that collects Fred Beene or Rick Porcello cards as that was not my intention, they just happened to be the two that I chose at random for my analogies.