I’ve always loved sports cards.
As a kid, it was all about finding cards of my favorite players. There weren’t very many brands, so you bought Topps or Donruss and that was about it. I specifically remember buying a triple-pack of 1987 Topps baseball cards at a Madison Muskies game when I was ten and rifling through them over and over.
I’ve written before about my Jim Abbott collection and I always collected Robin Yount cards because he was (and still is) my favorite Brewer. In the early ’90s, though, card collecting became about the “chase cards.” The inserts. We started to break open packs, and even entire boxes, without even looking at the “common” cards. We just wanted the rare ones because they were worth the most. And there were about a million different brands and styles and sets and…you name it, they made it. It became so confusing.
The thrill shifted from opening a pack and finding cool cards of the players you liked, to finding a rare card worth hundreds of dollars. And that makes sense. I mean, it also explains our obsession with shows like Storage Wars and Pawn Stars and American Pickers. Even their predecessor, Antiques Roadshow, captures my attention if I’m flipping around.
We all have that fantasy of finding an original Van Gogh at a garage sale or a box full of money tucked away in the attic. Chances are, though, that’s not going to happen. But it could…and that’s the allure, right? I think we need to remember to enjoy the common things in life, though, and then if we’re surprised by something out of the ordinary, it will be that much more rewarding! Whether that’s a rare baseball card pulled from a fresh pack or an unexpected visit from your wife at lunch, it means so much more when we re-learn to enjoy the common, everyday aspects of life.
Without further ado, here’s how I open packs of sports cards: