By Jody Yarborough aka Mrjobe85

Let’s see where to begin to discuss this crazy relationship that some call a hobby but I prefer to call a lifestyle. Now, I’m going to tell you a little story about how I got addicted at an early age and how it has carried on for over twenty years. I started collecting baseball cards when I was only four years old. Now, as you all can probably figure, at that time being only four years old, I really didn’t understand the concept of the hobby of collecting sports cards. I loved the Atlanta Braves and they were my favorite team ever since I can remember. Heck my first tee ball team were even called the Braves.

I used to love opening the packs of cards in the hope of finding my favorite player at the time a Mr. Ron Gant. I couldn’t really care less if I pulled a rookie card ( as they were the only cards at the time of any value due to inserts, game used, and autographs having been invented yet).  All I cared about at the time was that if I opened that pack of cards , was I going to see that blue and red hat with a big capital A on it?  Well, as the years went on and I started understanding the concept of collecting, I then bought my first Beckett, penny sleeves, and Top loaders to protect my collection. Then came the day that hobby changed for everyone when the greatest invention every in sports cards was thought of: the autograph and game used card. Even though both of these types of cards are highly overused in today’s products, they were a major breakthrough at the time. I will never forget the day that I walked in to Target and saw the monthly issue of Beckett sitting there on the shelf. Right there on the front cover was the 2000 Upper Deck Game Used Jersey and Jersey Patch card.

I was on a mission from that day on to obtain one of these patch cards for my collection. So the next day I went to my local card shop to see if they had any of these awesome cards in stock. Well they had three that they had just opened up that week and just happen to have a Chipper Jones three color patch in their showcase. Well, being the huge Braves fan that I am I got very excited and went to grab my wallet but I was hit with disappointment when I saw the $250.00 asking price for this card. I was heartbroken. At 15 years old $250.00 seemed more like $2500.00 to me at that time. Well I bought a hobby box and went home to open it and to my excitement I just happen to pull a game used Cal Ripken Jr. card.

Now it wasn’t a patch card but I couldn’t have cared less at the time because I had pulled the card on my own. That card meant just as much as if I had pulled an autograph card of Babe Ruth. As of today I still have this card in my collection and it is absolutely “untradeable”. I will never forget that day as it was the day that I knew I was going to be hooked for life. Well as the years went on, I got more seriously into collecting. I remember when I got my first job at 16 and at the end of the week I got my first paycheck. I went to the bank and straight to the Hobby Shop before I even went home. Now over the years the only major changes I have made to my addiction was that I mostly collected Duke Alum Basketball. They have always been my number one team but that is a whole different story entirely.

Well, I have about 25,000 cards now and all kinds of memorabilia. Everything from auto baseball, 8x10s, basketballs, postcards, stamps and pretty much a little bit of everything you can thinks of plus a little more. My biggest hopes are that one day, I will have a kid or two and be able to pass my collection on to them. I hope that I will be able to share in this addiction together. My final thought is through the years I have spent thousands of dollars, spent hundred of hours on eBay watching auctions and even been picked on a time or two for being a grown man that collects sports cards. The one thing that I would change about my addiction is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.